Conversion
to
Judaism



Personal Conversion Experiences
of
Those Who Have Chosen Judaism



Yossi

"I may have been born in the wheat fields of Oklahoma, but I was born with a Jewish soul. From the age of 13, I read about the People of Israel and the G-d who is echad (one). With all of my heart I wanted to be a Jew, but at that time I believed it was not possible. How could an Okie-White-Anglo-Saxon-Protestant change his spots? I buried that hope and became the best Christian I could be. It was all a small farm boy could imagine. Though my understanding was misguided, my heart never stopped its longing.I graduated from a Southern Baptist University and became a minister. Through the years I earned my doctorate in Religion and Society and moved to larger staff positions in the university. At the same time, questions continued to grow in my heart. My religious system was clearly not in line with the scriptures that I read. One might say I "studied" my way out of Christianity. No amount of learning and years of professional ministry could resolve the misgivings I had with the Christian tradition. It simply does not align with the Tanach. As a result, my questions increased and my search grew deeper. I stand here today to give witness to the fact that all of my searching has been fulfilled in the Torah. As Rabbi Celso Cukierkorn has taught me, my journey was not about answers, but the accumulation of more questions! My search has led to what my heart already knew - HaShem is my hope, my life, and my hope of the world to come. It is my prayer that in my remaining journey I will ever be a light to the nations."

Hannah, Germany

My longing to become Jewish started in my childhood. I don’t know whether that is because of an actual genetic disposition or because my great grandmother, my grandmother and my mother have all been fervent lovers and supporters of Israel and the Jewish people. Being German, I am very happy that my ancestors helped Jews under the Holocaust. That is a great inheritance and I can testify to the fact that how we live our lives and teach our children is of utmost importance for the generations after us. For me, converting was the logical step to take, to follow my heart, and finalize my commitment. In my life, there is no greater joy and passion than loving G-d and my fellow Jews ... "

Erkan's
paternal grandparents were Romanian Jews who, in the 1930s, fled the Nazis for safety in Turkey.  He is 28 years old and the son of a Jewish father and a Muslim mother.  In the 1960s his parents emigrated from Turkey to Germany where his father secretly practiced his Judaism in the German Muslim community.  Erkan chose Judaism as his religion while his brother decided on Islam.  Until his father's death he was unaware of the need of the conversion process because he had always identified as being Jewish.  When his father was buried in an Islamic cemetery because of his secret life as a Jew he realized that it was necessary for him to make his commitment to Judaism official and known.




Emma,
age 55, lives in the "Deep South" of the United States.  She describes her discontent with Christianity since childhood as feelings of dissatisfaction with the doctrine that one religion damned the people of other religions to "Hell" for not believing as they do.  Reading the Torah opened a new world of the "greatness and singularity of God" and she was able to realize her uncertainties about Christianity and her assurance of God through Judaism.




Craig
comes from a cattle property in the "Outback" of Queensland, Australia and from a Protestant Anglican background.  Through extensive readings and studies in theology he came to believe that it is our own experiences and values that determine our future, not those that dogma dictate that we must accept without question.  He came to know that it was Judaism that offered him what he was searching for.  With his conversion at age 27 he says, "I have found my spiritual home".




Brad,
from Texas and of a Southern Baptist upbringing, began to question his base in Christianity at approximately age 12.  Over the years he abandoned all aspects of organized religion then, feeling a spiritual void, he began to study the various religions of the world.  Through this study he came to develop his own philosophy, his definition of God, and began to establish what his relationship with God was to be.  He found that the product of his search was what Judaism is.  Brad describes his process to conversion as, "wandering in the desert for many years before determining that (his) beliefs coincided with those of Judaism".  He undertook formal conversion at age 51.


Anastasia, New York

"My experience has been great. The more that have read about the Jewish religion the more I have learned and understood about life itself. This process has been positive for me because I have been able to make my own hours for study and learning. I don’t have to leave my house to attend classes and I can make my own hours to read, and besides I believe that self-paced learning is one of the best things. Because of the self-paced learning, I was able to make deep connections between the teachings and my own life. I would recommend this process to anyone who is serious about learning Judaism and serious about making a major life change. Thank you very much Rabbi Celso Cukierkorn."



 




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