Judaism is a religion of both membership and identity. For those who are born to a Jewish mother, “membership” is guaranteed. Some Rabbis now recognize the “membership” of those born to a Jewish father as well. For those who wish to join with the Jewish people in all ways, a conversion process is offered. The specific requirements for conversion are to be addressed between the convert and the supervising rabbi so we will not offer any specifics as to the conversion process. The following is offered so that the family and friends of the convert can enhance the experience with offerings of support and inspiration.
בָּר֣וּךְ הַ֭בָּא בְּשֵׁ֣ם יְהוָֽה׃
Blessed is the one who enters in the name of God. (Ps. 118:26)
I will take you from among the nations and gather you from all the countries, and I will bring you back to your own land. I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean: I will cleanse you from all your uncleanness and from all your fetishes. And I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit into you: I will remove the heart of stone from your body and give you a heart of flesh; and I will put My spirit into you. Thus I will cause you to follow My laws and faithfully to observe My rules.
The first year, I grated potatoes,
chopped onions & watched.
The second year, I fed all but the eggs
into the machine
& said I’ll do the latkes & did,
my pile of crisp delights
borne to the feast by the wife
who baffled me, our books closed, banter hushed,
money useless in the apartment —
house, my in-laws called it
new-wave thump at one end,
ganja reek at the other —
in which she’d knelt to tell the no one who listened
no more no no more no a three-year-old mouthing
the essential prayer. The uncle made rich by a song
stacked three & dug in, talking critics & Koch—
everyone crunching now, slathering applesauce, slurping tea—
talking Rabin & Mehitabel, radio & Durrell,
how a song is a poem or it isn’t a song
& vice-versa. Done, he pointed a greasy finger
at me, said You can’t be a goy. You — I say it
for all to hear — are an honorary Jew!
which, impossible dream, my latkes lived up to
for five more years. Then the wailing.
Then the dust.
Hallelujah. I praise God with all my heart in the assembled congregation of the upright.
The works of God are great, within reach of all who desire them.
His deeds are splendid and glorious; His beneficence is everlasting;
He has won renown for His wonders. God is gracious and compassionate;
He gives food to those who fear Him; He is ever mindful of His covenant.
He revealed to His people His powerful works, in giving them the heritage of nations.
His handiwork is truth and justice; all His precepts are enduring,
well-founded for all eternity, wrought of truth and equity.
He sent redemption to His people; He ordained His covenant for all time; His name is holy and awesome.
The beginning of wisdom is the fear of God; all who practice it gain sound understanding. Praise of Him is everlasting.