Saturday, October 30, 2010


Hello and Happy Saturday!

First up, I wish to thank Rand for his very interesting blog last week. Thank you so much for sharing with us Rand!

This week we have a new post, so please welcome Rachel.
Rachel is a Jewish Convert and I know you will enjoy her post as well!

Here Is Rachel's Introduction:

I am British, live by the sea and inherit my Jewish ancestry from my father's family although I wasn't brought up as a Jew. I have always been fascinated by Jewish history and Judaism as a religion and felt an inexplicable 'pull' towards becoming Jewish for many years, before acting upon it in 2008 and converting at the end of 2009. I am a committed and enthusiastic member of my synagogue and love every aspect of being a Jew, even when it makes my brain hurt! I live with my partner (who is non-Jewish) and love my life.

My website is my blog -

1) What religion do you practice?
I am Jewish.

2) Did you convert or were you born into this religion? If you converted, what did you need to do to convert? And what did you practice prior to converting?
I converted at the end of 2009. This involved entering into a year of structured study with my rabbi, attending all services including the festivals, learning to read Hebrew and understand it sufficiently to follow the services properly. I then was required to write an essay about what being Jewish means to me and another essay from a range of pre-selected subjects. These essays were then submitted to the Beth Din (Rabbinic Board) of my chosen movement, with whom I met to discuss these essays and also any questions that arose during the meeting. I then immersed myself in the mikveh - a bath used for ritual immersion - to signify my new life as a Jew. I then had a ceremony at my synagogue the following Shabbat (Sabbath/Saturday) to welcome me into my community. I didn't practice any religion prior to this.

3) Would you consider yourself a moderate, conservative or other.
A liberal.

4) In your opinion, what makes you moderate/conservative/other?
My movement describes itself as being a Judaism for the 21st century. It welcomes people who are in mixed marriages/relationships, same-sex partners, children whose Jewish inheritance comes from their father rather than their mother (the traditonal determination of 'who is a Jew').

5) In your opinion, what makes someone conservative? What makes someone moderate?
A more traditional approach to practices such as eating kosher, education, willingness/ability to mix freely in secular society would indicate a more traditional approach to Judaism. This is just a different way of being Jewish.

6) What's your heaven/paradise like?
I don't have one, yet.

7) In your opinion, does everyone make it into heaven/paradise? If they do not, why?
I can't answer this question, given my answer to (6).

8) What makes your religion a good fit for you?
It instinctively feels right, for me. It harks back to my family heritage and I feel connected with the global Jeiwsh family.

9) What are your holy days and what do you do to celebrate them?
The main ones are:

Purim - where the triumph of Queen Esther over a plot to kill the Jews is celebrated by dressing up in fancy dress and performing a special service where comedy is the key.
Pesach (Passover) - where Moses freed the Israelites from enslavement in Egypt. No food with leaven is eaten during this period and a Seder takes place (a dinner) where special foods and special readings take place from a book known as the Haggadah.
Shavuot - where Moses was given the commandments at Sinai. It is traditional to eat cheesecake in remembrance that the Israelites did not know what meat they could eat at this time as they awaited their dietary laws.
Rosh HaShanah (New Year) - a time for celebration and reflection - one of the High Holy Days spent in synagogue.
Yom Kippur - (Day of Atonement) - fasting and atoning for your sins - the most solemn High Holy Day spent in synagogue.
Succot (Booths) - commemorates the time when the Jews were in the wilderness after the Exodus from Egypt.
Simchat Torah (Rejoicing of the Law) - celebrates the end of the reading of the Torah scroll - it is unravelled in the synagogue and celebratory songs are sung.
Chanukkah (Festival of Lights) - celebrates the triumph of the Maccabees and the story of one day's oil being sufficient for 8 days light - hence the 8 branched candlestick.

10) Do you consider people of other faiths to be your friends?
Of course.

11) Would you ever join people of another faith to celebrate one of their holy days? Please explain why?
It depends. I would enter their homes and/or place of worship and enjoy the ceremonies, but not necessarily take part.

12) What are your thoughts on the burka, and Shariah Law?
I don't know enough to comment fully. I suspect some of the negative portrayals of both and more generally, Islam, are due to media hype.

13) What are your thoughts on women not being allowed to become priests?
This, amongst other issues regarding control of certain groups of people within different faiths does make me feel uncomfortable. 'The establishment' within any religion, or movement within a religion, can be problematic.

14) Does your place of worship segregate? If yes, how does this make you feel?
No, it doesn't.

15) How much does your religion affect your daily life and how much thought do you give it when making a decision? Does it affect in any way your decision on abortion, gay marriage, etc?
My religion is with me at all times but it has not changed my views on these sorts of issues. Instead, it provides an additional source of thought than I would have considered previously.

16) How would you react/feel if your child wished to marry outside your religion?
That wouldn't be a problem.

17) In your opinion, if someone is not of your faith, will they go to hell?
I don't believe in hell. If someone is not of my faith, or of no faith, then I have no problem with that.

18) Who do you think is not a practicing ----- in your religion and why? ie who in the public domain claims to speak for your religion? Do you agree with them or not?
In my opinion, Judaism should not have one person who claims to speak for the Jews in my country. The UK has a Chief Rabbi, but this is (in my opinion) only necessary for liason with government.

19) Have you ever been the target of a hate crime? Please explain.
Not a crime, but a certain level of negative attention since, being Jewish, I am assumed by some people to be an unequivocal supporter of Israel and everything it stands for.

20) Do you ever feel like your religion devalues you?
No, not at all.

21) Does your religion give you peace of mind?
Not as such. It is more a completion of who I am.

22) Do you believe in reincarnation? Why or why not?
No. It isn't something I have ever considered.


  1. I very much support religions that have adapted their rules to make sense for modern times.

  2. Exceptional post but I was wondering if you could write
    a litte more on this topic? I'd be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit more.
    Appreciate it!

    My web-site Smartphone Test -,