February 12, 2023•478 words
It took me just a hair over two years, but on Tuesday, February 7, 2023 - or 16th of Sh'vat 5783 - I officially became a Jew. There are a few neat things about this date...
- While the Gregorian date is easy to remember, the day before my birthday...
- ...the Hebrew date is easy to remember as well! The 15th of Sh'vat is one of the four Jewish New Years (this one is Tu BiSh'vat, the New Year for Trees), so my conversion date is the day after.
- The Parsha (Torah portion) for this week is the same as the first Torah Study I attended (Yitro).
...and a few things about the whole week make it even more special for me:
- After converting, I came home to see that my wife hung a lovely banner to celebrate and bought me a matching Kiddush cup/Shabbat candlesticks set (pictured above). After enjoying a celebratory cocktail and decompressing for a bit, we went out for a delightful dinner.
- For my birthday the following day, she and I went to a nice cocktail bar before going to see Beetlejuice: The Musical!, which was phenomenal.
- Then Thursday after work, we had delightful dinner at my wife's friend's house (my friends-by-proxy) before going to see a live taping of a podcast that I enjoy, Unorthodox - The Universe's Leading Jewish Podcast (my wife doesn't listen to it, but she still had a reasonably enjoyable time). I met the hosts of the show and they signed a copy of a book I have of theirs and it was really nice event.
This three-day whirlwind of events caught up with me on Friday. After brushing my teeth in the morning, I was looking at myself in the mirror and had this moment where I finally felt that the man I was looking at was a Jewish man and it made me emotional (in a good way); I had a sense of pride both seeing this and with beginning to feel it.
After all of that, I still had a Saturday Study and service to get through. I was touched when one of my Study friends brought a gift for me (a two book set of essays) and welcomed me home (so to speak). At service, I was called to the Bimah, read a blessing and was blessed, and all enjoyed a post-service oneg in honor of my conversion.
(Saturday was also what would have been my dad's 77th birthday, and I went to the cemetery for the first time in a while, but that's just an aside.)
Like I said, it's been a week. Not just one I'll never forget, but one that will stay with me forever.