The picture above shows my maternal grandparents, Maria and Maximo Ruiz. I never knew my grandpa, but Grandma was alive for the first ten years of my life. Her death was a significant turning point in my life and I still miss her very much. During my conversion, I visited her grave on the anniversary of her death and recited the Mourner’s Kaddish with my mom and Aunt Ruth present. It was the first time I was able to visit her grave and not leave in tears.
Both grandparents are buried in Sparkman-Hillcrest, the cemetery that is next to Temple. My mom thinks Grandma led me to Temple and I like that idea, especially since it would mean that becoming Jewish was always going to be inevitable. My grandma’s favorite Bible passage was Psalm 23 and when I learned that it was also significant in Judaism, that gave me great comfort.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul; He guideth me in straight paths for His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; Thou hast anointed my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.