Dawn, I called YOU! Seriously!
I think the steps were:
- I took a Judaism 101 class at Lehrhaus, taught by Rabbi L in Berkeley. When I needed to talk with someone about my life after the class, I went to her. She was very instrumental in helping me realize that I wanted to convert, and in fact had sort of been on that path for some time.
- I called you. You broke things down for me re: my options (Reform, Conservative, Orthodox). I knew I wanted to study Conservative. We discussed what Rabbis were local. Since we knew Rabbi Kelman at Netivot was retiring, I started attending services at another conservative shul, and discussed conversion with their Rabbi, who was very enthusiastic and supportive.
- But, I just knew in my heart that it wasn't the right fit. After attending many services, I woke up one Shabbat morning and said to myself, "Today I will just go to Netivot Shalom and see what it is like. It's okay if I miss one Shabbat at this other shul. I just need to try and resolve this feeling of discomfort." Well, I loved it. I was nearly in tears. I felt so at home in their sanctuary, with the service, and with the people. So I knew I had to speak with Rabbi Kelman. I wrote that I knew he was retiring, but wondered if there was any chance he would have time to talk with me. He was gracious and we talked and I studied for conversion with him. I wrote a letter to the other Rabbi explaining my decision, and he responded wishing me well. Since Rabbi Kelman was retiring, he decided to hold an Adult Bar/Bat Mitzvah class, so any adult who missed out could have one during his tenure. It couldn't have been better timing. I was able to both convert and have a Bat Mitzvah with him, in that congregation.
Many thanks to you, Dawn, and Lehrhaus for helping me on my journey!
If you need help with your conversion, contact Dawn Kepler. There is no fee for this. She's at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you'd like to tell your own a story here, let us know!