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How We Make a Jew

I’m ready. The date is set. Thirty days from today I’ll be a Jew. Here’s a look at the rituals I’ll undergo on May 12th to make my conversion journey to join the Jewish people official.

Remembering Who (You Never Knew) You Were

My rabbi asked for my conversion essay. How many different ways are there to write that you’ve fallen in love with something you never knew that you’ve always been?

The Kippah of Conversation

Yes, I’m becoming a religious Reform Jew. Yes, I wear a kippah full-time. Yes, my last name is Doyle. Uh, can we talk about the weather now?

“…But one of the worst is commercialism.”

In this second of two tardy Yuletide posts, I realize just how crass a secular Christmas can be, by spending my first one as an outsider looking in.

Oy to the World

When a well-meaning friend asked me on Christmas Eve, “Is being at temple tonight hard for you?” they were surprised I said, “No.” I wasn’t surprised at all.

The Miracle of the Smoldering Carpet

Lessons from my first-ever first night of Chanukah: check wooden matches for cracks; don’t use the match box to put out the carpet; …and be prepared to feel six-years-old all over again.

“Yenta, please.”

Saturday after temple in a north side Starbucks, I sat down with a Reform Jewish friend. I had my kippah on and my computer open. As we were walking out, an Orthodox woman sitting nearby turned to a stranger and told him I wasn’t going to be a good Jew. And as you may have guessed, I marched right back in.

Kippah Grip

The beauty of Reform Judaism is the freedom to adopt traditional practices that speak to your heart. The beast of Reform Judaism is getting the fish eye from Reform Jews who think adopting tradition makes you Orthodox. Problem is, tradition is just what many potential converts–like me and my kippah-covered head–are attracted to.

I, Akeelah

So. My blog–and I–have joyed out lately. Not to mention Jewed out, compassioned out, and otherwise jumped for happy. And the lesson for me in all of that? That I don’t need to apologize for one sickeningly lovely moment of what, as it turns out, is the time of my life.

Fourteen Christmases and a Chanukiyah

Living Jewishly obviously means spending the period from Thanksgiving Day to New Year’s Eve with a different emphasis. This year, I’ll leave my well-known tree fetish behind. But as I ponder all the adult Christmases I’ve kept, I’m realizing I won’t miss that holiday’s sense of joy and wonder…because I’m increasingly finding those feelings to be an everyday part of my new journey.