This week’s episode is different than anything else I have talked about. Although I do not usually talk about politics or religion, I felt that with what is going on in the world today I needed to use my voice and platform.
My heart aches for the human rights issue that is going on in the Middle East. Innocent lives are being taken and no matter what God you worship, there is not a God that would say it is His will to allow this.
In this episode, I am sharing the story of why I converted to Judaism and the importance of opening up about religion in dating. I hope you join me in this deep discussion and please know that in these tough times, you are loved.
In this week’s episode, we discuss:
[02:29] Why I am talking about religion and politics today
[03:12] The backstory of why I converted to Judaism
[08:15] The human rights issue going on in the Middle East
[09:59] Converting to Judaism out of love for their culture and religion
[12:20] The importance of discussing religion before marriage
[17:32] There is not a God who would allow this in His name
Why I am talking about religion and politics today
I do not normally talk about politics and religion but because of what is going on in the world, I feel that I have a voice and platform for a reason. This is why I wanted to talk a bit about both. I want to give you a back story about me and why I converted to Judaism and why discussing religion in dating is important.
The backstory of why I converted to Judaism
If you did not know, I was not born Jewish, I chose to be. Back in 2001, I was dating an Israeli man and he always told me I would be a perfect Jewish wife. This made me think about how I grew up in South Florida where most of my friends were Jewish. I would celebrate the holidays with them and they would celebrate the holidays with me. This was very normal for me so when I started dating my Israeli boyfriend, it was not unusual for me to want to learn more about Judaism.
When I lived in Los Angeles, I decided to take a class called “Introduction to Judaism.” In Judaism, many people marry outside of their religion, and before their partners make that decision, they usually go through an introductory class as a way to explore it. The course was a six-month journey, and it aims to immerse you in Jewish traditions and practices. There are many different sects of Judaism and the course I was taking was called “Conservative”.
During this course, my boyfriend and I broke up, so I took a break from the class to figure out what all of this meant to me. I ultimately decided to return and complete the course. I loved the sense of community, music, and philanthropy. I also admire the family-oriented and respectful treatment of women in Judaism.
In the end, I decided to convert to Judaism. This was a significant undertaking because Jewish people are often referred to as the chosen ones. This means being born a Jew comes with a tremendous responsibility to set an example and be a source of respect and inspiration.
The human rights issue going on in the Middle East
Jewish people have been persecuted from day one and they are still persecuted. And as a Jewish woman who has spent time in Israel with her daughter, my heart hurts. I cannot tell you the anger, the hurt, and the pain I feel for what is going on right now. This is not only a Jewish issue but it is a human rights issue. I do not care what religion or what God you believe in, He would not condone this behavior. I feel that as human beings, we have the right and the need to speak out to say this is not okay.
Converting to Judaism out of love for their culture and religion
I decided to become Jewish because for me spiritually, it feels connected and aligned. When you are converting, they make you follow all of the rule of Judaism for a year. You have to keep kosher, go to the temple, sing the songs, learn the prayers, and read Hebrew. If you want to become Jewish after all of this then you go in front of a panel of judges called the Beit Din.
They ask you why you want to become Jewish, if you know that this puts a target on your back, and if you are marrying someone that is Jewish. I went through all of this and they realized that I wanted to become a Jew because I wanted to be part of the community and culture out of pure love. I then went through a rebirthing process where I was dunked into a blessed body of water while I was saying prayers. This was one of the more spiritual processes for me.
The importance of discussing religion before marriage
When you are dating someone, it is important that they respect your culture and religion. If you go into a relationship knowing that you can respect and love someone while not always having the same belief in religion, then it is more likely to work out in that area. Discussing religion is even more important when you are talking about having children. There is a religion for everyone but you have to make sure that you are both agreeing to how you are raising your children because if you are parenting with opposite belief systems, this will cause confusion. You have to become unified in where and how you want your family to be raised and guide them in the right way. If you can come together and have mutual respect, then you can have a healthy relationship.
There is not a God who would allow this in His name
What is happening is really scary, hurtful, and horrendous. I want to do what I can and I feel so bad for the civilians and innocent lives that are being taken. I am proud to be Jewish and just because I believe in a different God or worship a different God than you, does not make either of us any better. In no shape or form would any God say that it is God’s will to do these horrific acts. And please remember in these tough times, you are loved.