Though I’m Jewish on my mother’s side, my family is largely Christian; my uncles, my mother, my grandmother, etc… are all Christian. I often get asked why I’m converting if I’m a Jew on my mother’s side, and well, I wasn’t raised in Judaism, so although my DNA says “Mazel Tov,” before beginning this journey, I wouldn’t have known what that even meant. I left Christianity at ten years old, unable to believe in Jesus Christ and having too many questions that I couldn’t get answers to (In most of Christianity if you ask too many questions, you lack faith), and began exploring other more “alternative,” religious paths.
My mother was an old 60’s and 70’s hippy, so she let me explore these religions freely and try to find something that fit me. I was an angry kid who didn’t fit in very well with those in my surroundings, so happy and peaceful and loving religions, I dismissed. In all, I explored Taoism, Chan Buddhism, Hindu Buddhism, Islam, Wicca, various Christian sects (looking for answers), Mormonism, Shintoism, Various sects of Paganism, Scientology, and much more. I didn’t study Judaism back then, because I was always told it’s just Christianity without Jesus, by my family.
A friend brought me over a copy of “The Satanic Bible by Anton La Vey” and I was quickly hooked on studying it and had to read more. I collected nearly a dozen books both by La Vey and by others such as Blanche Barton and soon declared myself a practicing Satanist. I soon contacted the Church of Satan and had contact with many prominent members in New York. Three years later, while walking up South Street in Philadelphia (A place all of the kids hung out on weekends) I met a man who introduced me to a religion called Luciferianism, a Pagan/Hellenic Greek mystery school.
I met with the man’s friends, his coven, and was formally initiated just a few months later. Fast forward three more years, I was ordained (yes at sixteen years old) as a personal protege of the leader, and later that year, he’d passed away from lung cancer and left me in charge of the group. Another charge I was left with was to propagate Luciferianism and to not let the religion die out, so I did what anyone who was sixteen and had to spread something would do, I built a website (The Church of Lucifer) and accepted members from around the world.
In the first year, we had a few thousand members, by the time I was eighteen years old, we had tens of thousands of members in 27 countries, on every continent in the world. Since then, I had authored hundreds of articles, three books, given several lectures in front of millions of people online at once, taught and raised up dozens of priests and priestesses, we had grottos (smaller branches of the larger org) in fifteen countries and eleven states in the USA, was a well know occult artist and painter and a sought after figure in the occult.
Now you can see why my entire history, from hate groups and the occult, ran anathema to me converting to Judaism!
I had no intention of converting to Judaism when I started looking into my Jewish roots, I was a long-time occultist after all with a thirty-two-year history of involvement. I read tons of books on the history and culture of the Jewish people, but G-d kept coming up in nearly everything I had read. Then I read the works of Martin Buber… his concept of the Jewish religion and beliefs enthralled me and so I figured there’d be no harm in me learning about Judaism.
I’d read dozens of books on Judaism in a matter of a month and a half and soon found myself drifting further and further away from the occult and towards a better understanding of G-d and honestly, a better understanding of myself. I tossed aside everything I’d built in the occult, left the Church of Lucifer to trusted leaders, took my books and stopped selling them, stopped painting the art I was known best for, and began the conversion process. I hate the term finding G-d, I didn’t find G-d; G-d led me by the hand, heart, and mind to know him and to love him as I do.
I am coming up on the first anniversary of my conversion process as I write this, still, I get messages from people wanting me to teach them the occult and I refuse, almost daily. As the intro to Judaism course comes up this month, I realized that most in the occult, even those I’ve known twenty to thirty years, have been supportive of my leaving and becoming a part of Am Yisrael Chai. My family has been supportive as well, even getting us Jewish gifts for holidays and birthdays.
I have been obsessive in my studies since I’d began this journey, every time I learn more, I want to learn more, it’s a thirst, a hunger, a fire inside of me. I want to know the will of G-d, to be and do better, to do more Mitzvot to help usher in the messianic age, and to show gratitude for G-d being in my life beside me. My wife and I have even done what we didn’t think would be possible in our large household, we’ve gone fully Kashrut!
We are very observant, borderline orthodox, but with a very reform mindset… but then again, I never would have believed I’d be here, believing this, doing as I do today.