Shalom

16 January, 2006 at 22:02 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I am a graduate student in Cultural Anthropology, as well as a Ger who is currently studying for conversion to Judaism.

In the course of my graduate studies in the “Anthropology of Religion,” and while serving as a graduate lecturer in a course entitled “The Cultural World of Jesus and the Disciples,” I developed a profound interest in Judaism. This interest led to my entering into independent  study with Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox rabbis, as well as regular attendance at synagogues and celebration of the Jewish holidays. In the course of my studies I have read a lot of books on conversion to Judaism, but have found very little that specifically addresses the African-American coversion experience.

My experience as an African-American male in urban synagogues in Los Angeles and The San Francisco Bay Area has been largely positive, with most congregants warmly welcoming us (my wife and I – she is also African-American) and doing their best to assist us along out journey. I am very much interested in compiling the personal narratives of other African-Americans who have chosen to pursue Judaism as a religion (I am particularly interest in those persons who are not married to a Jewish partner).

If you could write about such topics as: what religion you originally belonged to/currently are and what motivated you to depart from it; reasons for converting/seeking conversion; familial response to your decision; your experiences in finding a rabbi to study under; how you chose a congregation; what your feelings were/are with respect to your perceived acceptance in the congregation; how you are negotiating your African-Americaness with Judaism; as well as any and all other subjects that are import to you.

Ultimately, I would like to publish these narratives so that other African-Americans who seek the path to Judaism will have more resources than you or I did.

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