Both my husband and I were raised Catholic, with 12 years of education in Catholic schools. It never really clicked for either of us, aside from the ethics, the social justice lessons. We too shopped around, visiting a variety of east bay congregations on and off for about 2 years while I was taking classes at Lehrhaus and various synagogues, attending High Holydays with different communities, and once I was pregnant, the idea of conversion took on a new urgency. While we'd enjoyed and felt interested at several congregations, I didn't really
feel a strong pull towards the clergy or the community at any particular gathering.
It wasn't until we visited Temple Sinai that I felt I'd found my teacher.
We were at the erev services up in the small chapel, and Rabbi Chester was leading services. At some point, after a specific prayer or song (I think it was the shehechianu) he asked everyone to sing it again, because it just didn't have the zing he was looking for. And he was right. I loved it that he called everyone to wake up and get their game on. That's when I knew he was the teacher for me.
I met with Rabbi Chester for about 4 or 5 months, every 2-4 weeks, while I read This is My God by Herman Wouk, and another book about the great Rabbis. It was a somewhat scary and yet exhilarating time. I was afraid that we would be viewed as weirdos (we probably were, but so what). We really wanted to find a community where we could enjoy services, learn, raise our kids, and participate without conflicting emotions or compromise. I have to hand it to my husband, because he was so supportive and on board for this priority.
Finally about a month before my due date, I had my beit din and visited the mikvah. it was such a beautiful day, start to finish. I remember Rabbi Berlin telling me to imagine myself falling into the hands of God as I submerged into the mikvah. Later we went to Stinson beach and had a quiet time at the ocean. Aside from my wedding, and the births of each of my children, I consider that day one of the most beautiful, satisfying, and divine days of my life.