After about 3 months of attending synagogue, Rabbi Telrav left Denver for the East Coast. I stayed at Temple Sinai for a while, but when I got a job as an innkeeper at a bed and breakfast my schedule would make it impossible to attend that synagogue. I decided to attend an Orthodox synagogue as Reform was all I knew.
At the Orthodox synagogue I met with Rabbi Ben Greenberg. He was a wonderful teacher and I was happy to have read To Be a Jew which explains the Orthodox rituals. At this synagogue I attended services with a Mechitza, a wall that separates men and women. During service the rabbi stood in the middle. I learned a great deal about Jewish tradition, keeping kosher and observing Shabbat. When my job ended I moved back to the Seattle area.
In Seattle I wasn’t sure where to attend. Luckily the union I belonged to sent me to an event that was held at a synagogue. Rabbi Daniel Weiner spoke at that event and I decided to attend a service. I really felt at home there and began attending. I enjoyed all of the rabbis there and ended up taking the class required for conversion. I worked on my conversion with Rabbi Aaron Meyer. Rabbi Meyer always challenged me to do more. After 5 years of studying Judaism it was time for the mikvah and to make my conversion official.
Going to the mikvah, a ritual bath, was the most spiritual moments of my life. I entered the room with the bath alone and took off the robe I was wearing and entered the bath. Through a screen the rabbis said a prayer and had me repeat it. I then went under the water once. Another prayer was said and I went under again. A third prayer was said and when I went down I knew that when I rose out of the water, after the five years of studying and hard work, I would be a Jew. It was a moment I can not describe in words. I felt that I was becoming the real me.
Becoming a Jew has been the most life changing experience I have had. It has been a positive force in my life and has changed the direction I was going for the better. I have never worked on something so continuously and with so much enthusiasm. Allowing faith to enter my life has made me a strong, more thoughtful person. I thank all who guided me along the journey.