I hired an ancestral DNA expert to analyze my Jewish blood but, frustrated with my demands for details, he sent a curt email I will never forget: “You’re either Jewish or you’re not,” he wrote. Maybe this search was as much about my faith as it was about my heritage. Maybe I really was a Jew at heart, too.
During this journey, I’ve been asked: “Why?” In Judaism, I found meaningful rituals and a history of peoplehood that I have taken on as my own. From the time I left the Christian church, I sought a spiritual home – a place of tolerance and acceptance. In Judaism, I’ve found exactly that.
Next week at this time, I’ll be stepping into the mikveh, the Jewish ritual bath. It’s been a yearlong journey that will lead me to that holy space, one I’ll enter as a former Catholic/not-quite-Jew and exit as a Jewish woman – no longer an outsider.
I recently had the wonderful opportunity to serve on a beit din, a panel of two Jewishly knowledgeable witnesses and a rabbi tasked with overseeing the conversion of a person in our congregation.