Adar 5, year 5777: A little while ago, I’ve made the decision to work toward converting to Reconstructionist Judaism. I’ve thought a lot about it and I’ve realized that this is one of the biggest decisions of my life, comparable to my decision to transition. At the same time, both of these decisions were easy to make in the way that I couldn’t truly live if I were to remain my birth gender or to stay a Christian-raised agnostic.
I don’t know much about Kabbalah, nor should I at this point. Yet I’ve read that it says some Jewish souls that have been created are stored in heaven and distributed to the nations, thus resulting in a Jewish soul residing in a non-Jewish body. This is the metaphysical explanation for Jewish converts. Though I have no authority to speak on the Kabbalah, I would like to think that I feel this.
From the time I was young, I had a fascination with the Jewish people. This may have been due to my fundamentalist Christian upbringing, despite it being simultaneously anti-semitic. I grew interested in learning hebrew and would research the significance of the kippah and tallit, gleaning as much surface knowledge as a ten year old could. The passion for understanding Judaism as a child came as naturally to me as the way I felt dysphoric in dresses and confident whenever I could tuck my long hair into a baseball cap.
It wasn’t until I went to the local Recon shul with a friend that I realized that Judaism was and has been important to me for many years. To use a terrible computer analogy, if judaism.exe was running in the background for the duration of my life, the day I went to shul was when it had popped up at the forefront of my desktop. There, I stumbled over the Hebrew in the siddur, working my best to keep my eyes locked on the transliteration while harmonizing with tunes I didn’t know. I watched in awe as people were called to aliyah and took special note of the leader’s avoidance of referring to G-d in gendered terms.
Since then, I’ve been gorging myself on knowledge and asking the internet all the questions that I have. What is kashrut? How do I keep Shabbat? Does Hashem love me, and how should I talk to Them? Along with asking other questions, ranging from practical to metaphysical, I’ve also been using smartphone apps to learn Hebrew and to memorize blessings.
Although I feel a little unsteady in my learning and understand that I need a teacher, I feel as though I’m well on my way to being who I am and coming back to a place that perhaps I’ve never been, but am returning to.