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Heather Mendel

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Linda North and her husband, Bruce, with Rabbi Norman Mendel during her conversion ceremony

Just as scholar Walter Brueggemann suggests that biblical text is filled with themes of chaos and hope, it is interesting to see how signal events in society – even (or especially) catastrophic events – affect each of us differently and surprisingly, can lead to hope.

Who would have thought that the tragedy in Pittsburgh last fall would prompt a woman to finally set a date for her conversion to Judaism? But that is exactly what happened to Linda North, now known as Ruth bat Avraham v’Sarah. Linda chose the Hebrew name Ruth in honor of the biblical Ruth, who is often considered the...

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