My Sister, the Jew

Ahuvah Gray’s spiritual autobiography, from her Baptist upbringing in Chicago to her involvement as a minister in a non-denominational black church in Los Angeles, to her conversion to Orthodox Judaism in Israel. Since childhood, Gray identified with biblical figures from the Old Testament; her dream was to walk with Abraham through the promised land. She credits her parents’ and grandparents’ acts of lovingkindness, and their love for the psalms, with laying the foundation for eventual conversion. Gray dropped out of college by choice in order to work, and was a Continental Airlines employee for 23 years before starting her own travel agency specializing in tours to Israel, Egypt, and Greece, with a focus on the African American market. She met Ruth Broyde-Sharon, a non-observant Jewish filmmaker, when Broyde-Sharon filmed the seder at Gray’s Watts church for a documentary on seders held by non-Jews. The two became fast friends, and this friendship, along with mentorship of Jewish friends in the travel business, and Rev. Queen, the Hebraisist pastor of her church, set her on the path to life in Israel and studying for conversion. Gray worked cleaning homes during the many years she was studying at the Nachmat yeshivah, while facing the arduous process of appearing before the Israeli Beit Din. Her case was almost thrown out under suspicion that her intent to become Jewish was false, given her history as a minister. She is now a licensed tourguide with Aish HaTorah, and lives in the chareidi community of Bayit V’gan, Jerusalem. She also lectures on her spiritual journey and tours promoting her book.

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