The Secrets of Becoming Jewish

March 2015

By Rabbi Bernice K. Weiss with Nancy Kirsch

While each person’s path to Judaism is unique, they all share a deep sense of commitment to their newfound faith.

Miriam, a highly successful nurse, chose to convert to Judaism on her own after becoming disillusioned by what she thought were Catholicism’s overly negative views of women; Ahava, also a former Catholic, embraced Judaism after falling in love with a Jewish man; and Alanna, who grew up as a conservative Chris­tian, always felt uncomfortable with Christian teachings that discouraged ques­tioning. Within these pages, you will also discover the story of Reda and Nour, a Muslim couple from Lebanon who chose to leave their home in Beirut because near-constant strife in the Middle East made life difficult for them.

As these stories reveal, one’s decision to convert often raises questions and con­cerns about familial acceptance or rejection; whether to keep kosher or give up past holiday traditions; challenges in choosing a synagogue; and how to balance interfaith relationships. Yet despite these challenges, Judaism’s teachings and traditions bring fulfillment and comfort to those who embrace the faith.

Nancy Kirsch, a former corporate lobbyist and attorney, is a freelance writer for a wide array of newspapers and magazines. She has earned several awards for her writing. Raised in Indianapolis, Indiana, she lives in Providence, Rhode Island with her family.

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