Today, July 26th, 2022 (27th Tamuz 8752) my family and I went before the Beit Din; after, we packed into our Ford Focus, and went to Temple Beth Hillel/ Beth El to utilize their Mikveh. What an incredible experience… one that will live within our hearts and minds forever. Special thank you To Rabbi Freedman, Rabbi Maderer, Jennifer James, and Lori from the Mikveh, you all made today something that brought tears of joy to my life and to the lives of our family.
The Beit Din was an amazing conversation on my past, the journey we’ve undergone since beginning this process, and what we’ve thus far learned. We got to talk about holiday celebrations we’ve gone through and how we’ve all been adjusting to life as Jews and everyone loved talking to our two Rabbis and the head of the Jewish/Hebrew school of the synagogue about our journey. They all signed our certificates officially welcoming us and literal tears had to be withheld from pouring out of my eyes.
Then we had a couple of hours before the Mikveh and I came home to decompress from the heaviness of the talks during the Beit Din. The kids ate lunch and cleaned up and we were all showered and ready to go to the spa of the spirit!
We arrived almost thirty minutes early at Temple Beth Hillel/Beth El in Wynnwood PA, which gave us a bit of time to see all of the iron and bronze age Judaica they had on display and it really drove home the connection Jews of today have with those of yesterday. It helped us feel a deeper connection to the people of the book, which even though it wasn’t planned as such, really made the moment that much more powerful for us (especially since I’m an obsessive Archaeology and Anthropology nerd).
Then our Rabbi arrived with the Mikveh attendant Lori who was incredible and kind and there just isn’t enough descriptors I can put to describe how amazing she was. She showed us around the synagogue a little and led us to the mikveh giving us a tour and directions on using the Mikveh properly. We’d decided that I’d go first, then after I’d preside over my two sons as my first Mitzvot as a Jew, then my wife would do the same for our two daughters. This was all supervised through a slotted door which sound came through, but no one could see into (because of modesty and having to submerge nude so nothing stands between any part of the body and the living waters).
I already knew the Hebrew prayers, but the Mikveh had them on laminated sheets for those who didn’t, it was a perfect setting at a perfect Mikveh!
I dunked once and said my prayer, taking in the meaning of the entire experience and the prayers themselves having full intentions placed where they should be. Emotion somewhat overwhelmed me after the first dunk and my second one, I didn’t entirely submerge so I had to do it over (I’m glad I had our Rabbi there to notice, much appreciated!) I dunked again and said my prayer, a favorite prayer of mine, the Scheheckyanu. Then my third dunk and prayer were completed and a wave of emotion came over me that I’m still processing the next day as I type this in. Tears of joy just fell over me like rain and I even told our Rabbi it’s a good thing I’m dripping wet, the kids won’t notice my tears and be afraid to submerge lol
Then I oversaw my sons in the Mikveh and my most skeptical child, Gabriel, said how amazing it was and how much he loved being in the Mikveh and said how different it was from anything they’d experienced before. Then my wife went into the Mikveh and is now thinking of going for monthly visits to it, and she oversaw our daughters. It was very emotional and very celebratory all at once for each of us. After the submersion, we took a picture with our Rabbi to remember the occasion forever…
…and when we arrived home, my wife had a cake ready to celebrate the conversion and we all devoured it lol
…it was an emotional day, seconded only to my wedding and the birth of my children. The journey has been long and although conversion is now completed, it is only a beginning for us, as we continue learning and growing together as a Jewish family.
The book of Ruth, Chapter I
|16 And Ruth said, “Do not entreat me to leave you, to return from following you, for wherever you go, I will go, and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people and your God my God.||טזוַתֹּ֤אמֶר רוּת֙ אַל־תִּפְגְּעִי־בִ֔י לְעָזְבֵ֖ךְ לָשׁ֣וּב מֵֽאַֽחֲרָ֑יִךְ כִּ֠י אֶל־אֲשֶׁ֨ר תֵּֽלְכִ֜י אֵלֵ֗ךְ וּבַֽאֲשֶׁ֤ר תָּלִ֨ינִי֙ אָלִ֔ין עַמֵּ֣ךְ עַמִּ֔י וֵֽאלֹהַ֖יִךְ אֱלֹהָֽי:|
|17 Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. So may the Lord do to me and so may He continue, if anything but death separate me and you.”||יזבַּֽאֲשֶׁ֤ר תָּמ֨וּתִי֙ אָמ֔וּת וְשָׁ֖ם אֶקָּבֵ֑ר כֹּה֩ יַֽעֲשֶׂ֨ה יְהֹוָ֥ה לִי֙ וְכֹ֣ה יוֹסִ֔יף כִּ֣י הַמָּ֔וֶת יַפְרִ֖יד בֵּינִ֥י וּבֵינֵֽךְ:|