by LJ, a female Reform convert
I can’t say with any honesty that Judaism sprang from a single thought in my head. Rather, it took time to see that it just may be the answer to many issues in my life.
I had just recovered from cancer, Stage 2 colon cancer. As anyone who has had cancer can tell you, you never get rid of it. Even if every speck has been removed from your body, you think about it. It’s with you always. You wonder how many years you might have left, years of productive life.
A year after my colon surgery, I retired from a career that had consumed 33 years of my life. I poured my heart and soul into that job, into working with those people, and now, due to my own choice, it had all been ripped from me. I had nowhere to go in the mornings. I had no social life. Sure, I had friends, but there were few that weren’t part of my work environment, and many of those friends were located in another city, where I had previously worked.
I had thought about retirement for many years, but not very seriously. I had thought about doing good things. I wanted to do good things. Volunteer? I actually tried several volunteer tasks along the way, and none matched my personality.
The final point of this journey was that I fell in love with a Jew. A lot of her friends were Jewish, and they became my friends. I was surrounded by Jews, and I really liked the way they lived their lives. They did good things. As a lesbian, I feel I was fortunate to have been accepted by these Jews, that my “gayness” wasn’t a second thought for them; that told me right there that I could fit into Jewish life as a gay person.
As it turned out, this wasn’t the final point of my journey at all. I found a rabbi to study with, to learn what Judaism was really all about, and I joined a new community. They’re my community now. The journey was just beginning.
Hear Linda talk about her conversion process in this video.