This is the personal statement of Nadav (Jose) who became Jewish this week. Mazel tov, Nadav!
When I was sixteen years old that is when my life change, I felt empty and not complete, so I decided to try the religion I was born with or at least what I was told what I was. I began to be more involved with the religion of my parents, Roman Catholicism, I even went to other denominations and religions. While I was still in high school and in my late teenage years Judaism was still visiting my mind so up until I was around 20 years old I started to take action and fully study and read about Judaism. There was always a spark of interest of Judaism in me like I’ve stated before but just didn't do anything about it.
Once I became into searching synagogues around my area and Jewish resources on the internet I wanted to learn even more. It was a very very strong overwhelming feeling that I started to have while learning about Judaism, it was an all day all night type of thing so I did not want to ignore it. Studying as much as I can was key, the more I learned the more I wanted to know and I wanted to know why I was feeling this way.
Once I started to attend and go to a synagogue the first time I immediately felt comfortable even though I didn’t knew anyone but I knew inside of me that this was going to be good and something I want in my life. When I studied parsha and got myself ahold of a chumash my eyes opened and I came to understand Torah and it got me thinking that Torah is everlasting and that there will be no other Torah. As I was learning more and learned about mitzvot I’ve felt a lot more closer to God more than ever before, it was such a great feeling. The nature of the Almighty is what fascinates me of God being one, omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, creator of everything and that God exists and loves us all like crazy. And no matter what obstacles and hardships I may go through in life I am still devoted to God. God is one and unique and can forgive my sins and give me joy.
I study Judaism as much as I can when I have free time and as best as I can. I still have a lot to learn. I want to take action to live the way God wants us to live by being committed to mitzvot and have Judaism in our lives. Lighting shabbos candles and remembering and observing shabbos is just an awesome feeling that can’t be beaten, It’s such a calm and rejuvenating feeling that I never had before. Learning basic Hebrew so far has been amazing even though I barely have the letter sounds and vowels, obviously I will continue and has been moving forward by attending services and following along.
A recent discovery that may strengthen my Jewish identity is that my maternal hablogroup has the sephardic signature from the Iberian peninsula according to the ancestry DNA company ‘23AndMe’ and an expert specializing in sephardic Jewish diaspora;all because I spat in a testing tube and my DNA was examined.
I feel joyful and excited to further my process of studying as much as I can. Living a Jewish life can give me spiritual fulfillment and happiness one of those examples is performing tikkun olam. Being able to find a community and structure in life and the great feeling that there are other Jews across the world with common history, goals and being a light to other nations brings me comfort. I am excited about my future and the people that I have met and the new people that Hashem will bring to my life. It is best for me and the family that I hope to have. I’ve found a spiritual home and I want it in my life. Knowing what I now know, how can I set Judaism aside, I do not want to ignore my neshama.