I am deeply honored to stand before you on this holy evening to share my Jewish journey, which began almost 11 years ago. Sadly I first experienced PTS with the funeral of a beautiful little girl. The moment I walked into this Temple for her service, I felt a glow and warmth I can’t describe. The openness, the beautiful “star” designed ceiling, the talit windows, the bimah, all spoke to both my heart and my head. The impressionable sight of Cantor Barry in his Kippot stirred deeply inside me. Shortly after the funeral service, Rabbi Feder walked into the school where I worked to enroll his daughters because the family had just moved to Burlingame. It was fate. A month later, a parent invited me to Shabbat service. Sitting with her participating in the service, singing and praying, sealed it for me. I felt compelled to learn more about this religion and to be a part of this beautiful community. I then began my conversion studies under the tutelage of Rabbi Ettlinger and Patty Moskowitz. Judaism sanctifies the ordinary – spotlighting its specialness. The essence of Judaism is creating holiness in the way we relate to this world and the people in it. My introduction to Judaism offered me the spiritual home I’ve been searching for. A year later, exactly 10 years ago today, I entered the Mikvah, and as the final blessing was chanted, I cried tears of joy, I became Jewish.
As a new “Jew” and PTS member, I immediately gravitated toward Sholom Women, as I had known some members through my job at the school. I began helping at the Chanukah Fairs and attending Shabbat Services and events. The members embraced me and I them. In the years following I have taken an active roll on the Sholom Women Board creating the newsletters and coordinating Sholom Women’s annual Shabbat Service. These are my sisters! Sisterhoods have always endeavored to strengthen Judaism as a whole. Here at PTS, we participate in temple life at all levels; creating a cross-generational meeting place for women of all ages. For years our sisterhood has been a place for socializing and making friends while serving our congregants and greater community. In the next year I will be embarking on another roll of sisterhood – leadership – as the Sholom Women President. Faith, family, friends…loyalty of sisters to create a Tikkun Olam and be an inspiration to our children, friends and community. That’s the true spirit of Sholom Women of which I am proud to be a member.
Six years ago I embarked on the remarkable path of learning, praying, studying and exploring my Jewish identity and tradition in the process toward my B’nai Mitzvah. Along with nineteen others, we experienced a significant spiritual milestone as we lead our service and read from the Torah. My destiny is now linked with that of the Jewish people. I did not come to Judaism by force, I came by choice and it’s the most wonderful choice of my life. I’ve come home! For years I’ve wondered where I fit in the scheme of things, the decision to convert to Judaism has put my mind at ease. I can’t find the words deep enough to express the exhilaration I feel being Jewish and a member of PTS.