Catholic Girl Gone Jewish

My conversion story is a bit different from others, and I suppose that’s why I’ve been asked to tell it so many times, especially throughout my time in BBYO. So the best place to begin would be at the beginning.

I was born and raised Catholic, and my grandfather is, to this day, a deacon in the church. I spent my early childhood years very involved in the church, and I went to Catholic school until eighth grade.

So to the revelation, as some might call it: I was in sixth grade and decided that Catholicism wasn’t fulfilling me the way I thought my religion should, nor was it doing the things for me that I thought it should. So for a time, I became agnostic and went “God shopping,” if you will. I studied and researched different religions, read lots of books on things from Buddhism to Hinduism and attended a Baptist church with my friends (I live in the Bible Belt, and there are a lot of Baptists). But I always came back to Judaism. So for the next two years, I continued to study and read as much as I could.

Then freshman year rolls around, and I decided I was grown-up enough to really search out a religion. All the conversion books I had read said I needed to experience a Shabbat service. It was November, and I bucked up and asked my mom to take me to the synagogue down the street from our house. She was confused, but I didn’t want to go into detail so I didn’t say anything more.

I sat down to Friday night services at Congregation B?nai Emunah and was basically brought to tears with a sense of homecoming and rightness. I knew at that moment that God wanted me to be a Jew.

After that, things kind of fell into place. The next spring, I was invited to join BBYO, where I spent the most amazing two years of my life. The culmination of this was last June, when I was immersed in the mikveh with some of my closest friends outside and my mom in the mikveh room with me.

The fact that my mom was there for my conversion shows not only my journey, but hers as well. My father supported me from the beginning, but my mother, on the other hand, felt betrayed, as if I was doing it as a personal attack on her. I wasn’t-I was following what God was telling me. I told them both at the end of freshman year, and by the end of sophomore year, she had started to accept it. By the winter of my senior year, I was no longer Catholic in her eyes. I was a Jew. This affirmation made my actual conversion so much more meaningful because I had her support.

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