Judaism is more than an ethnoreligious group, more than a culture or people, it’s a way of life that permeates the whole of one’s daily existence. We form a Jewish household, we engage in the food, language, and culture of the Jewish people, we get to know one another within the community, we join and attend services and events in the synagogue and so much more. We pray three times a day, we go to Shabbat services, Torah Study, Minyan prayer, social justice events sponsored by the synagogue, we attend fun events within the synagogue. Jewish life is our life, it is pervasive in every avenue, decision, schedule, and prayer herein.
You cannot simply go somewhere once or twice a week and call the rest “free time,” in Judaism, it becomes your free time, your spiritual time, your family time… it is truly living a full Jewish existence. Becoming a member of the synagogue and going through the conversion process has been the single most rewarding thing we’ve ever done as a family!
Judaism has given us a renewed spiritual life, a renewed cultural life, a life outside of the house, a life beyond being simply “mom,” and “dad,” a life of action, purpose, and meaning, a life of community and connection, a life. We have quickly learned the dedication, the initiative, and the work required of members of the Judaism family to convert and grow and it is astounding and awe-inspiring. To every Jew-by-choice reading this, so much love and respect to you, because as we go through the conversion process ourselves, we realize the sheer depth of commitment it takes (and we love it).
To become a Jew, you must live as a Jew in every aspect of life, you must know your soon-to-be people, know the religion, culture, shared history, and understand the act of Tikkun Olam. It is not possible to overstate the importance of each aspect!
Forming a complete connection to Judaism and the Jewish people is not an overnight affair, but it will happen without a shadow of a doubt once you begin making everything in Judaism a large part of your everyday life. To understand what Judaism as a way of life truly encapsulates, you have to understand what the “way of life,” portion means. Understand that, and you will understand how Judaism becomes you, you become Judaism and the two shall never part thereafter.