#BlogElul 14: Learning

If it’s not already abundantly clear, I am in the midst of an incredible learning process, learning the ins and outs of a religion and a culture that I am adopting for myself. In the spirit of that learning, I thought instead of a long, weighty post, I would make a list of the things I have learned thus far:

The blessings recited over the Shabbat candles

Ha’Motzi, the blessing said over bread

Kiddush, the blessing said over wine

The Shema

The blessing for the candles we light on the menorah

Melodies and tunes for common prayers

The beginning phrases of the Maariv prayer

About the holidays of Shavuot and Simchat Torah

Celebrating Tu B’Av, the “new year of the trees”

The names of at least some of the Jewish months

A handful of Hebrew letters (working on that…see previous post, #BlogElul 13: Excuses)

The value of regular attendance at religious services

The sense of peace brought by lighting the Shabbat candles

The benefits of disconnecting from the world for 25 hours

How satisfying it is to end my week with those I love, eating delicious food that I have prepared (sometimes with help) that nourishes all of us even as it delights our tastebuds

There’s so much more, I’m sure, but the most important thing I’ve learned so far? Just how lucky I am. Many converts struggle with acceptance, with family members angry or confused about their decision to convert, or relationships gone awry because of this choice, this scary, wonderful, beautiful, life-altering choice.  Thus far, I’ve had none of that.  I won’t say it’s always easy, because it’s not, and there are definitely people in my life who don’t understand this desire to convert, but by and large, the reaction has been largely respectful even if it is curious.  Curiosity is ok; insinuating that I’m converting as the result of an identity crisis because I was raised wrong is not.  But I am so lucky that even on a superficial level, I have support and respect for my decision.  I’ll touch more upon this theme in a later post, but for now, I just want to express my gratitude for those who are cheering me on as I go on this journey.  It’s a wonderful thing to learn just how much you are blessed in life.

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