Friday, January 14, 2011

Shabbat Shalom! Being a "Lech Lecha" Kind of Girl

Converts (and especially orthodox ones!) experience more change in the first few Jewish years than some people do in an entire life, and more than most Jews, I would argue.

Like most Jews of any movement, I come from a family and culture of tradition. You're born, live, and die in the same place, or close to it. There's a lot of discussion of and emphasis on your ancestors, both recent and hundreds of years old. You're constantly compared to your great aunt Mildred and the stereotypes of your culture. And don't forget the emphasis on food, and that food is love!

However, while I never fit in to Southern culture, Jewish culture was like coming home for the first time in my life. Many, if not most, converts don't feel this way. They connected with their culture of origin and find meaningful ways to intertwine the two, which is simply amazing to me. I, on the other hand, dive face first into Jewish culture in all its varieties because I have nothing else to cling to. (If you know Indian and Latino Jews, send them my way! I need their food. Stat! Kai Phang Jews too!)

In summary, I'm expecting a LOT of change in the next year, and that change is already beginning. It always blindsides you, but life is 90% how you react to it. But I don't worry because I'm a "lech lecha" kind of girl.

Shabbat shalom! May it be full of peace, warmth, good food, and good company!

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