My Road to Judaism

I'm not exactly sure how I got on this road to Judaism.  I was raised in a small southern town without a Jew in sight.  The nearest synagogue was probably a couple of hours away.

I was raised as Church of God and Southern Baptist but I'll confess that they really scared me away from religion and from G-d.

I spent a great many years exploring new ideas and philosophies such as New Age, Wicca, Buddism and finally gave it all up and became an agnostic bordering on atheist for about 10 years.

After I moved to NYC, I started working for an Israeli company and made many great friends, heard Hebrew on a daily basis (and picked up a few choice words along the way) and got to participate in some Jewish cultural and religious events.  I was intrigued. 

I'd talk to co-workers about Judaism and they were encouraging but not so much so that you'd think that they were trying to "recruit" me...just answering my questions with as much detail as I wanted and told me about some books to read.

I really got into Judaism.  It felt like home!  It still feels like home!!

I've not yet went thru the conversion process however I identify to everyone as a Jew.  Most people are pretty okay with it but every once in a while I get a weird look (I live in Dallas now where there's not a whole lot of Jews).  Most people don't know what Judaism is or what our beliefs are. 

I think that I'm coming full circle...I'm now the one answering some questions.  You never know who is really listening or why they're asking.

While I don't look much like an ethnic Jew, in my heart I am a Jew.

Roaring20s Roaring20s
41-45, M
7 Responses Aug 13, 2008

that sounds a lot like the path i took, i was raised southern baptist right in the bible belt spent some time in paganism and Wicca have discovered its really not for me and just feel like Judaism is were i need to be really cant explain it at this point just were i need to be kinda like gravity is guess

This sounds really familiar :) I tried on many different religions before I came to the realization that I am Jewish by birth and now am seeking to convert by choice since I was raised Lutheran. Thanks for being so open and sharing your story as it makes me feel good about my own transition. Shalom!

I really appreciate all the views being shared here. as someone looking further into conversion, other peoples experiences help me a lot. Continued success on your journey.

Thank you so much. This is such an encouraging story.<br />
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I'm on my way to conversion at the moment. So reading what like-minded people have experienced and how they came to be interested in Judaism is really fascinating. To be fair, I'm relatively new to this when, at the same time, I'm not. I've been interested and fascinated by Judaism for years but never realized you could actually convert to it.<br />
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In fact, I only found out a few weeks ago, when somebody asked me if I were Jewish. I never lied about this. But being asked for the third time in my life, I decided to look into this the next day. So I did. And here I am at the beginning of this journey. I've been to Shabbat services a couple of times and I'm starting to feel quite comfortable. It just feels like I've found my spiritual home.<br />
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I've never gone to church a lot, other than for the holidays. Now that I'm attending synagogue, I like it so much that I go regularly. To be fair, this is a requirement for conversion candidates but I'm not doing this for conversion. I'm doing this because I want to. At the end of the day, of course, I do want to be Jewish. So, I guess, one could argue that I am indeed doing this for conversion. But I tend to see it as more of a part of the life that I want to live. I find Judaism so inspiring and I'm so happy every Shabbat. <br />
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What is different is no doubt the fact that this is nothing I can truly share with my friends. I live in a city with only a tiny Jewish community and we don't have a synagogue here. As a result, most of my friends are either Christian or agnostics or atheists. So it's really nice to be able to share this experience on here and, obviously, to see how other people feel about it.<br />
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I guess one of the first things that I noticed was this wonderful sense of community. Unlike in other situations, nobody seems to ask any questions. It's almost as if people just assume that I'm also Jewish because I attend synagogue with them. I noticed this once again this Shabbat when I arrived on my own (the first time I was there, I was with someone who lives nearby). Immediately, there was someone telling me when services usually began and perfect strangers greeted me. This is so different.<br />
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I don't want to be negative about Christianity. But I remember going to church (more or less regularly) for years without ever really feeling this kind of connection with anyone. Surely, different people in different places will now disagree with me violently. But this is how I felt there.

I wonder whether you'll get this message, whether you're still in EP or have moved on to other things. I guess it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter because if this isn't a message to you it can be considered as a prayer on your behalf. I'm a born Jew, raised reform, then atheist, then believer again for the past 35 years. I'm so glad that your experience with Judaism has been as positive as it appears to have been from your experience. Unlike many other Jews, I strongly believe that Judaism needs new blood, needs people like you with your kind of viewpoint. Whenever I meet someone in your position, I do offer to do anything I can to make their experience satisfying and pleasant. All I can say is Welcome! And I hope you complete your conversion in the same spirit.

So grateful to hear from someone like you. I am far removed from anyone Jewish near that I could talk with. Southern city filled to the brim with Christians.

thank you so much for sharing you story! i am about to begin the journey of conversion myself. your story makes me happy, and i can sort of relate to it. i am glad you found a spiritual home. i think it's a very difficult thing to do. shalom.

Judaism was the original sentence and Islam and Christianity are how the people at the end of the circle understood the message. Have you ever played that game?