Women from all over the world and many different backgrounds have come to B'not Ruth to learn Torah and prepare themselves for Jewish Orthodox conversion. Some of their stories are shared below. Respecting their privacy, names and other identifying details have been removed.
Actualizing the Jewish Spark WithinA student describes her desire to live her life as a Jew.
It is not so much a question of ‘want.’ If it was, that would imply a choice. And when it comes to who I am, I have no choice. I consider myself to be Jewish, and I see my conversion as something that will actualize the Jewish spark within, and allow others to acknowledge me as Jewish, so I can become an active member of the community. My whole life I have not rested, driven by existential questions. No worldly knowledge, possessions or achievements have satisfied me. I know that only through Torah and its way of life, will I be able to make sense of this otherwise seemingly futile and turbulent existence, and infuse meaning and sanctity into my daily acts through the performance of mitzvoth. No other life but that as a Jew makes sense to me. I cannot imagine any other life for myself.
Surprise – You're Not Really Jewish!A young woman raised in a Jewish Conservative home discovers that she is not halachically Jewish, and wishes to become so.
It was only after having learned at Midreshet B'erot Bat Ayin for several months that I discovered that I was not halachically Jewish. My mother had a conservative conversion to Judaism, and I was brought up in a completely Jewish traditional home. After the initial shock, I decided to undergo a halachic conversion while continuing to learn at the midrasha. I am now married and have two children, and we are living in Jerusalem.
Judaism is About Serving G-d, Not About Fitting InA Russian immigrant sincerely desires a true Jewish conversion for the sake of G-d.
I cannot find the words to adequately communicate my connection to Judaism. I shall attempt to reveal what I can by highlighting what Judaism is not to me. A few weeks ago I had a conversation with another Russian immigrant I recently met. She asked me if I was Jewish. I told her that I had come to Israel as a child and was in the process of converting. Her response was, “I’ve also thought about converting. I think to live in Israel you have to be Jewish to fit in.” That really put a deep pain in my heart. Sadly, that perception seems to be so common, that being Jewish is a cultural identity. How do I explain to people that for me, becoming Jewish is not about fitting in? How do I explain that I want to be Jewish no matter where I am? I am not just looking to adopt a religious status to fit within the Israeli culture. I am here to become Jewish in order to deepen my commitment and connection to Hashem.
Disillusioned with the Religion of My YouthA middle-aged woman raised as a devout Christian realizes the truth in Judaism.
I have always had a deep thirst for spirituality and meaning. Though I was extremely active in Christianity in my early years, I became disillusioned with the political, traditional and organizational aspects of that religious entity. I thought for a number of years that I could just bypass it all, living my life doing humanitarian deeds and seeking to find the deeper things in that religion. However, I soon exhausted everything Christianity had to offer and found it shallow, bankrupt and illogical.
During those years, the things I was reading in the Tanach were giving me comfort, solace and hope at a very surface level, yet, Hashem was using the powerful life-giving words of the Torah to awaken something deep inside of me, to give me insight, clarity. Once I got over the initial surprise and wonderment of what I had discovered existed, I realized that I had to be a firm part of this. I could not be on the outside looking in any longer. I wanted to be a full part of my people, a daughter of the covenant.
Balancing the Physical and SpiritualA young woman seeks spiritual meaning through a holistic lifestyle.
In university, I got into natural health and healing and became concerned with working out and eating well as a way to feel good. I was very involved with yoga, but I was still spiritually weak, hungry and unfulfilled. I was looking for a balanced, holistic approach respecting the physical aspect of everyday life, and giving me the opportunity to uplift those physical aspects with intention and focus on serving G-d. I was looking for mitzvoth, but I didn't know it. Everything came together for me when I connected with Judaism, and even more so when I found B'not Ruth.
A Torah Life is the Way to G-dA student explains that the essential point of her conversion is to have a relationship with G-d, and not only to enjoy the benefits of a Torah-lifestyle.
There is something deeper in me that is not only looking for a beautiful life embellished with the ritual, traditions and history of the Jewish people. I desire a deeper relationship with G-d. It is only through my relationship with Hashem that there will be a core source of stability for my life, a source of purpose and meaning that can stand against any adversity, a center of faith fully guided by Hashem's directions. I want to be more fully trusting and dependent on Hashem for everything. This kind of relationship is only possible for me by living a Torah life.
A Calling Beyond WordsA student explains what Judaism means for her.
I struggle to find the words to express what Judaism means to me in spiritual terms. I believe that by living by the Torah I can live a more meaningful life, but there is so much more to it that I cannot explain. It is like asking a person why he believes in G-d or why he loves his son. It is about unconditional love and faith, not about reason. It is the same with me becoming Jewish - I do not have any logical explanations, I simply feel that this is who I am.
Speaking just from a rational point of view it does not make sense at all that I would take upon myself the added responsibilities of the mitzvoth in order to join the Jewish people in their constant persecution by the world, and come and live in their country of constant unrest. Despite these vast language, cultural, economic, political and military differences between my country of origin and Israel, and the difficulties associated with adjusting to these differences, I have taken the first step towards converting and living in Israel. I deeply desire to become Jewish on the strength of my conviction in living my life authentically. I want to be true to myself and my faith in God, and to honor who I know I am at the core of my existence.