Thursday, June 26, 2008

Learning, Learning, Learning

Gracious, I have been busy. Every night, I learn with someone else. I'm so grateful that when it rains it pours. On Monday, I learn Kashrus; Tuesday, I learn the Books of Our Heritage; Wednesday, I attend a class taught by RF on Kashrus and then I learn about davening; on Thursday, I practice reading Hebrew with a friend; on Saturday, I relate everything I've learned about the Pasha to Maddy; on Sunday I learn the Laws of Brachos and the Laws of the Shabbos Kitchen. It's a lot in addition to the two jobs I am still working and the fact that I still have a paper to complete.
Also, the girl with whom I learn Kashrus is engaged and will be married in six weeks. She's moving to Isreal and will support him while he learns in Kollel. When he was here for the Vort (which is Yiddish for "speech" and is basically an engagement party where someone gives a speech), he didn't meet any of my chavrusa's friends (all female) and I wasn't allowed to meet him. He looked really friendly, though, and my chavrusa has a beautiful ring. Additionally, my good friend Baker proposed to my other good friend Petunia. I'm so excited for both of them and am immensely pleased that they are so happy with each other. Their wedding is not until December. My best friend from college is getting married on August 16, which is Shabbos. I have been a bridesmaid since the wedding was scheduled, back in the Fall of 2005. I have a tznius dress (well, altered to be so), and thankfully the wedding is located such that I can daven, have meals, and walk to the wedding all on Shabbos. I really need to work out the details with my LOR (local Orthodox Rabbi), though.

Last month was pretty busy with a lot of personal stuff that has been taken care of, I think. This month, my goal is to climb on top of this overwhelming pile of obligations. We'll see what happens. I know I am supposed to be meeting with the Beis Din sometime soon, although I don't know what soon is. I'll keep everything posted.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Quotes, Removed from the Sidebar

I had the quotes below placed on the sidebar to the blog. I like them because this process is a huge struggle and a constant fight with myself to remember that, although I often feel like an outsider, it's not because people dislike me -- it's because there are rules and restrictions that are not personal. However, I know these quotes are taken out of their context and I doubt I properly understand them. I also was speaking to a girl who plans to convert who said that she didn't understand why it was so difficult to convert and that if the local community didn't convert her within a year, she was just going to move to Israel. She vaguely referenced a quote to support her assertions. I think she was probably just venting some frustration and doing much the same thing with her references as I do with the quotes below. However, I think my use of the quotes could be a bit offensive since I do not really know what they mean and because it may imply that I am resentful of the process and feel like I know better. I am keeping this as a post so I can reference it if I wish, but I hope that my explanation helps make it clear that I am grateful for everyone who is helping me, and even those who I feel are not. Each barrier through which I break and each challenge I overcome is a great learning experience.

When a proselyte comes to be converted, one receives him with an open hand so as to bring him under the wings of the Divine Presence."
~Leviticus Rabbah 2:9

"Dearer to God than all of the Israelites who stood at Mount Sinai is the convert. Had the Israelites not witnessed the lightning, thunder, and quaking mountain, and had they not heard the sounds of the shofar, they would not have accepted the Torah. But the convert, who did not see or hear any of these things, surrendered to God and accepted the yoke of heaven. Can anyone be dearer to God than such a person?"
~Tanhuma (ed. Buber), Lekh Lekha 6:32

"Beloved are proselytes by God, for the Bible everywhere uses the same epithet of them as of Israel"
~Talmud, Gerim 4:3

"Wherever you go, I will go. Wherever you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried"
~Ruth 1:16-17

"You shall love the convert"
~Deuteronomy 10:19

"You must understand the feelings of the convert."
~Exodus 23:9