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    How I found and grew in my Yiddishkeit

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    Yehudah

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    How I found and grew in my Yiddishkeit

    Post  Yehudah on Thu Dec 27, 2012 11:26 am

    At Ariks' request, I've started this thread.

    It is autobiographic - and of course you can ask questions.

    I'll start below.


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    Yehudah

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    How Hudy found it.....

    Post  Yehudah on Thu Dec 27, 2012 11:48 am

    Here is my story, shortened to a degree. I think Arik may know most of it by now. Towards the end, I'll outline the turning points (there were two) that led me into Observance.

    I grew up Roman Catholic, my mother is very devout, and my father believes in G-d but could care less about observing of any kind.

    My first notion about the falsety of christianity came to me when I was a teenager. I was curious about certain things that I was being taught. I asked my mother about them, and she said to me not to rock the boat - if it says it in the bible, take it at face value. That didn't sit very well with me. Then she told me that the Roman Catholic faith was the original faith and all others were false - so I asked her about the Jews, and she basically told me that they didn't count.

    I couldn't understand how that could be, afterall the Jews were there way before the first christian. So at that point, I pretty much dropped catholicism much to my mothers chagrin. But I was still not out of the loop, I really wanted answers.

    After joining the Navy and getting married, I putzed around many churches and many different denominations only to discover the same sentiments. So at some point I basically gave up.

    After 15 years of bad marriage, I got divorced; my now ex-wife was a full-on christian and I was the ex-husband outcast.

    One day several weeks after separation, a friend of mine wanted me to double date with he and his girlfriend and her sister. I really wasn't interested, but went anyway. Long story short, we started dating and I discovered that she was Jewish (albeit non-observant). I spent some time with her family, they didn't like me, me being a goy and all... but they accepted me because I was the boyfriend.

    My emotions were stirred at their interactions, their history, and when they started answering my questions... my interest was peaked.

    While her parents and family didn't like it, we got married in the Reform Shul. I started learning with the lady cantor, and realized very quickly that that conversion and learning process wasn't what I was looking for, there wasn't any meat in the soup. Heck, there really wasn't even any soup!

    We moved to a location within a block of the local Conservative Shul, and I started learning with the Rav there. The learning was a little more intense, and after a few years I converted. But then it started to slow down, and then the learning became repetitive and not at a level I thought it should be. The observance was also lacking in my opinion at the time. It soon became less than I wanted and I began to daven at the Observant Shul.

    In the meantime I became very close with my wifes grandmother, she had immigrated a few months after krystalnacht with her family and had seen some of her family members killed at the hands of the nazi's (y"sh). It was enough. We developed a very loving and deep kesher. When she passed away I was devestated, more so than over anything else I had ever known. During her shiva, the new Orthodox Rav came to sit - it was at that time on the first day of shiva (after burying her the day before) that I came to realize that I needed more in my life. I needed observance, structure, and a kesher with the Almighty.

    That was the first event. That was the start of my observance; I needed to know that my neshama would be accepted in Shamayim and that I would be counted amongst G-ds children the Jews.

    The Rav assigned a Rabbi to me for learning. The first day we learned, he asked for my story in order to get to know me and taylor my learning regimen. When I told him about my conversions, he told me point blank with no feeling: What you have done to this point means nothing, you aren't Jewish.

    I was temporarily devestated. I didn't know what to say or do. My chin in my lap, and my breath taken away, he asked me if I was okay. My mind was racing, what have I been doing all this time? Nothing? It meant nothing? Then it hit me, he was right. In order for me to do this the right way, I needed to not only unlearn everything I've learned, I needed to develop a NEW kesher with Hashem, an observant one.

    I turned to him and told him I was okay, and asked him to continue.

    The rest is history. During my 22 month gerus process, I learned 7 days a week several times a day almost to the point of exhaustion. I felt that I needed to make up for lost time. My Rebbi thought that I wasn't going to make it, he told the Rav as much, and the Rav (in his infinite chachmah) told him that I would certainly make it.

    Here I am. I'm an observant Jew, and it was and continues to be hard work. I'm a case study though: If I CAN DO IT, YOU CAN DO IT.

    That Rav, now my Rebbe, is my closest friend other than my wife. And after almost 9 years of observant Yiddishkeit, I couldn't be happier.


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    Yehudah

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    Re: How I found and grew in my Yiddishkeit

    Post  Yehudah on Fri Dec 28, 2012 9:00 am

    The silence is deafening.

    I did what you wanted. Didn't I go into enough detail?

    No feedback, no heckling, total silence.

    Maybe it was a bad idea.


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    Arik
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    Re: How I found and grew in my Yiddishkeit

    Post  Arik on Fri Dec 28, 2012 10:34 am

    Not a bad idea.. I'm on my phone right now and hard to respond. Ill leave a better response when im on my pc


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    Yehudah

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    Re: How I found and grew in my Yiddishkeit

    Post  Yehudah on Fri Dec 28, 2012 10:58 am

    I'm hoping others (the others) would respond.

    I spent years making excuses about why I couldn't be frum. It's too expensive, I'm not ready, it's too hard, nobody can perform all the mitzvot, etc....

    I'm hear to tell you that they are all BS.

    Is keeping kosher more expensive? Yes, but the end result is that I'm complying with a whole list of commandments. And now, nothing goes in my mouth that isn't kosher - which is the way it's supposed to be.

    Are we ever ready? Maybe not, but the question begs to be asked: What life event will cause you to be finally ready? Who in the family has to get deathly sick or die? At what point do you decide that it's time to stop making excuses and seek that relationship with HKBH that you really want.

    Is it hard? Maybe at first because it's hard to become accustomed to keeping kosher in and outside of the house. It can be hard to get up each morning and daven (tefillin and talis in hand), and it might be difficult at night to go to shul - depends on how much you cherish your relationship with Hashsem.

    And the mitzvot....the sefer hachinuch says that we are only mchayiv 270 commandments; for a few reasons (no sanhedrin, dispersion, and no bayis). If you break them down, those mitzvot are common sense and used most every day. How we treat people, give tzedakah, daven, don tefillin and talis, how to keep shabbos and kashrus are all in that book.

    The fact is that it isn't hard, but it isn't easy. Because we are commanded to shtieg (grow). If we aren't growing, we are dying.

    My choice is to grow.

    My apologies for laying out my version of the truth to my reform members without giving some sort of warning. They may not be considered halachicly Jewish, but they deserved a little more respect than that. Because I'm growing every day, I should have known better.


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    Arik
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    Re: How I found and grew in my Yiddishkeit

    Post  Arik on Sat Dec 29, 2012 9:51 pm

    Your story sounds a lot like mine and you are aware of the changes I have gone throuigh and continue to go through. We mever can be sure exactly how it will come abou that we receive the call and we all start out at different places. we also all move often at a different pace...Hopefully despite all, we reach the goal. Basketball


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    Re: How I found and grew in my Yiddishkeit

    Post  Arik on Sun Jun 08, 2014 6:09 pm

    I just re read your last post. The thing that really sticks out is what you said: "if we aren't growing, we are dying."

    How very true that is...it is the wanting to grow that has caused me to abandon the liberal streams of Judaism and move to frum. So much growth has occurred from that time on. So Much new insight, knowledge and peace of mind. It also helped me realize how much i didn't know.


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    Adi

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    Re: How I found and grew in my Yiddishkeit

    Post  Adi on Wed Jun 18, 2014 6:57 am

    I like Ark have gone back to this previous thread. Actually it has never left me in the 1 1/2 years since it was spoken. How powerful, awakening, miserable and knawing the whole conversation and individual emails had been. I was not ready to stand up by myself and go forward to be the kind to Jew I always wanted to be. So many things blocked my path and made me stumble. Now I have cleared that path and am finally moving forward in my Yiddishkeit. I think I need to preserve these words when I'm feeling the strain of moving to a more observant life.
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    Re: How I found and grew in my Yiddishkeit

    Post  Arik on Wed Jun 18, 2014 11:20 am

    Well spoken Adi. I'm sure you'll do great. Remember if we're willing to do the footwork, G-d will handle the heavy lifting.


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