I entered the mikveh by choice. Thus my connection to Jewish history, and rituals is deeply felt but also informed by intense study. I have no personal Jewish history, my history is Jewish history. I read the stories of heroic women and men, of times of strife and pain, joys and miracles. I struggle with a feeling of bereavement, why had I not found my true home earlier…why was my path so long? Hashem alone knows that answer…I do not spend much time questioning history that has no human answer, I have too much to learn!
I have become aware that I get briefly tearful when I hear stories of childhood memories of candles and challah, but rebound with joy with the help of the collective warmth of our tradition. Lighting Shabbat candles is more than an obligation, a mitzvoth to be adhered to. Lighting the candle connects me to our history, our stories our covenant. It is both a deeply personal meditative experience while it is also my public declaration…” I am a Jew”