All the sordid details, the hows and whys and what not, are not really necessary. I will say that I was not born a Jew. But I’ve been a member of the tribe so to speak for the majority of my life.
What I will say is that while no journey in life is linear, I am proud of my community of fellow Jews and from what I see, have a lot of hope for the future of Judaism. Yes, you have some instances where the wards are running the asylum. And yes, too often the bad stuff makes it to the press while the beautiful things remain insider information.
I’m proud of the wide diversity of Jews that are not only defying stereotypes…but they are being quite open about it. Folks like Mayim Bialik (love her), Shyne, and Ms. Milner give me chizuk (encouragement) on my chosen path. If I want some Torah learning, I check out Aleph Beta, or G-dcast, or my favorite, My Jewish Learning. I’m also a fan of the Conversations journal (not available online) produced by the Jewish Institute for Ideas and Ideals. And there are many online Jewish magazines, but my favorite is Jewnited Nations.
Well I don’t want to ramble and go on and on about faith and philosophy. I just want to say that there are many paths to God…many paths to holiness. I’m not preachy, I don’t judge, and I don’t wear my faith on my sleeve. If you want to check out my posts on Judaism (and spirituality in general), click here.
And now…two little subsections, then I’m out – שָׁלוֹם/Peace
I will be the first to say that I’m not a fan of Jewish food; meaning Ashkenazi/Eastern European food. I’m also not much of a cook. I’m not proud of it, but most of what I eat is something where I peel off a wrapper, and dig in with some plasticware 🙁 .
With that being said, I can see the fear in people’s eyes when I say that I eat kosher. I’m the type of person where I am not going to request or ask anything from you to make your life difficult. Also, I feel like the rules of kosher are made to be too overwhelming to those who don’t need all the details, but just need to know what’s cook for their kosher keeping friends.
In short you usually can’t go wrong with:
- Fresh fruits and fresh vegetables (whole and uncut)
- 85% of packaged crackers, candy, ice cream, drinks
Now, there is a symbol on the labels of packages called a hechsher. It means that the food item is kosher. Each kosher certifying agency has their own symbol…and there are a lot of them. But the most common one by far in the United States is from the Orthodox Union. This is what it looks like:
Quite plain, but I usually find it on food packages within 5 seconds. It’s usually either by the ingredients list, or on the front of a label somewhere in the corner.
If you don’t keep kosher, there it is really tough for you to cook kosher food. So don’t feel slighted by this. I fully appreciate packages of fully kosher Stella D’oro cookies over your homemade lasagna (if you’re into Italian fare). 🙂
If you’re looking to keep kosher yourself, there are certainly others who are more qualified than me to direct you on that. I will say that I love Tori Avery’s site, which features a ton of diverse, kosher recipes; and if you travel, bookmark Yeah That’s Kosher where you can get the rundown of the kosher eateries in many locations across the globe. Nom, nom, nom! 😀
- You can read my conversion story here (it’s long though….about 14 pages).
- I moderate a community for converts (actual and potential) to Judaism on Google + (modeated membership).
- For an Orthodox conversion in the United States, visit this site. Also be sure to bookmark the page of the participating batei din.
- Before you commit to a conversion to Orthodox Judaism, read “A bill of rights for Jewish converts” (including the comments) first!
- If you have the time, please watch this series of videos on YouTube entitled: “Conversion Crisis: Is the System Broken?