So, what has changed in the nearly five years that have passed since I started the Choosing Judaism class? Perhaps the better question to ask is, what hasn’t changed?
I officially completed my conversion on March 28, 2013. When the day of the mikvah came, I was full of mixed emotions: happiness at finally completing the process, uncertainty for what would come next and a combination of sadness and anger because, before I walked into the mikvah, my mom and I got into a huge argument which resulted in her not being present during my immersion as originally planned. (That is its own story, one that I will share later this week.)
I’m still struggling with how to settle into my Jewish identity while also honoring my Hispanic-Filipino roots. That has lessened somewhat since I discovered organizations like Be’chol Lashon and Jews in All Hues, but it is still very much an issue. I’ve felt out of place for pretty much my entire life so to feel like there isn’t a place for me in a community that I have deliberately chosen has been incredibly discouraging.
And what of my current relationship with God? It’s complicated. My frustration with not really feeling like I’m part of the Dallas Jewish community, combined with some family drama that is drudging up painful memories and my mother’s health issues plus my ongoing battle with depression has severely eroded my relationship with God. However, it does say a lot that I am still in the community and deeply involved despite any misgivings or experiences.
I suppose, in a nutshell, I can say converting is a decision I absolutely do not regret and, since I’m currently giving God the silent treatment, you can assume our relationship is on the outs at the moment.
Bonus: Below are two stories I wrote and recorded for a storytelling class I took for my Master’s in Library Science. There’s a shortened version of The Wise Woman and a fun take on Miriam as a prophet.