Becoming Jewish
One Girl's Journey

Effervescence is a state of mind. It's about choosing to bring sunshine to the day.
Every person I meet matters.

If it's written down, I know it (If it's not written down, I don't know it)
If it's color-coded, I understand it (If it's not color-coded, I don't understand it)

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More Music, Family, and Friends

More Music - So, I had gone to my local Judaica store before Sukkot, to pick up the lulav and etrog (which is a woven palm branch, willow, and myrtle and a citrus fruit that you use in the sukkah or hut, for basically a Harvest Festival). A typical Rosh Hoshanah song was playing over the store speakers, however the shop owner didn't have anything about who the recording was done by. [It was a collection that she didn't have in stock.] I really liked that song and it was stuck in my head for hours.

I wrote an email to my Hebrew teacher and my rabbi, to see if they had any good music recommendations in general. Just recently they both got back to answering my email, and neither of them really had much to recommend. Of course, by then, I was able to recommend "Blue Fringe" to them, and I've been looking for additional material out there.

Once again, the internet is becoming the resource I've always dreamed it would become. I watched several songs from Blue Fringe on YouTube, and found where they'd gone into a radio music podcast to promote one of their CDs. From there, I looked up the podcast, and found that there's 50 episodes of the Sameach Music Podcast. Now, if you download files through iTunes, you'll only find the 10 most recent files they've published. Some of them are full episodes, but some of them are just promotional recordings. So, I spent some time downloading the first 17 episodes, and I've listened to eight of them so far. Some of them are a bit cheesy with the "promotional radio DJ" talk, and the music is usually just a selection of a track (sometimes with more DJ talking over the beginning of the track), but it is the *treasure trove* I was looking for. So now, I'm getting to sample all sorts of material in the Jewish music scene -- the music, the people, the promoters, the concerts, the names... everything I needed to spring board into finding additional music. It'll be a while until I've exhausted all the great leads in the podcast, on the website, etc. Heck, as it is, the early shows I've downloaded are from 2005 and 2006, so it'll be a while until I'm caught up on the back issues of the podcast.

Not all the music is my kind of music. Some of it bores me, some of it is actually annoying (I cannot stand reggae for example--would you believe there's Jewish reggae out there?). Some of it reminds me of boring church praise music, so I'm not surprised there's boring Jewish praise music. But occasionally there are some musicians that *I* adore (like Blue Fringe, of course), and some music that you might consider "ethnic" or "world music" style that I enjoy in small doses. The range is phenomenal, which I find encouraging.
* * * * *
More Family and Friends - So I've told my sister, brother-in-law, step-sister, Mom, and now Dad about converting. Every single one of them has been supportive, and each conversation has been very enjoyable. On the friend front, I've told a several old college friends now (two over email, one in person), and each of them have also been supportive.

On one hand, I'm exceedingly thankful that so many friends and family are supportive and interested in what I'm pursuing for faith and devotion. On the other hand, I'm still a little keyed up and nervous about the first time I find someone who *won't* be supportive. I cannot imagine that universally everyone I know will be supportive. Right now, I worry the most about my grandmother (my Mom's Dad's wife), and probably my grandfather too (Mom's Dad). But sadly, my grandmother just went into the hospital last night (back pain that has spiralled out of control, and has trigger major chemical depression, a terrifying regression after her recovery from a huge bout of medically treated depression a few years ago). I know that I wouldn't to aggravate her illness(es), and she is (they are) the ones least likely to be supportive.

Those of you who pray, please do so. Her name is Joyce. Thank you.

One of the two college friends that I told via email found me through Facebook. If you've never used Facebook. the strange and amazing thing is that you can see who your friends have connected with --> which means occasionally someone joins who makes a friend connection with someone who knows *everyone* you know, and you end up with tons of new networked friend connections. Well, so when he joined, he started finding all the old college friends I knew in the same Christian student fellowship. So (a) yippee, I may be able to reconnect with old college friends I love very much, but (b) oh did my nervousness level just shoot through the roof. Nearly all the friends from this fellowship have remained strongly committed to Christianity, many of whom have gone into leadership or ministry or missionary work, etc. Now, I cannot imagine them being like my grandmother, because they're the same age as me. Being in our generation, I can imagine we have a more supportive attitude with one another, but um, I know these friends from back in the day of bible studies and singing worship songs and going to Christian retreats together. Yes, these experiences are still valuable memories in my past, and they helped form me into who I am now. But I cannot help feeling slightly frightened at the "how do I explain this" conversation.

And to be honest, I know that when my conversion process is complete, I will publicly change my status on Facebook and MySpace so that it reads "Jewish." And that will suddenly broadcast itself on tons of friends pages. It's going to be something I won't be hiding from, but it makes me think hard about how to stand firm in that day. Not everything will be easy or understood by old friends. But I cannot swerve from this path I *know* I belong on.
* * * * *
Today's Blessing That I'm Thankful For: All the support I've received so far. You all bolster me when I'm feeling nervous or frightened.

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