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For The Love of Judaism and Hannah

Hannah and I met just over a year and a half ago. We worked for the same political organization in different cities--when we met, she was in Boston and I in Amherst, but three months in, I was transferred to Washington D.C. Our relationship was young and already strained by distance.

Hannah was raised in an observant Reform Jewish family in big ol’ L.A. She went to Jewish summer camp, celebrated the holidays, and was involved with her temple youth group and later with the campus Hillel at her public university. I was raised Catholic and then went off to a private Lutheran college in my little home state of Iowa. I was a Christian-working at Bible camp, hosting family mission projects and creating many small groups for Christian thought in college. While playing Shylock in “Merchant of Venice” I was introduced to Judaism; since I was in small town Iowa there were no outlets to research more than my role required. I was beginning to feel that Christianity was no longer my home, but it was only when I moved to the East coast that I was able to learn about other spiritual options and exposed to other religions.

When I got transferred to D.C. and we had the big “long-distance relationship” talk, Hannah told me that she wanted to marry someone Jewish. It was important for me to start researching and get involved with the Jewish culture as I knew I was very interested in being with her forever. After going to Temple while away in D.C. I decided I did indeed liked the culture and wanted to move forward with learning more, in pursuit of conversion.

When I moved back to Boston, Hannah and I found a Temple we enjoyed and started searching for more Jewish opportunities. We soon discovered the “Taste of Judaism” class with Rabbi Lev B’ aesh and we loved it. This was our first Jewish class together and Hannah was very relieved that I enjoyed it as much as I did. We loved how learning old material was perceived differently now that we are “adults”. Plus, Lev was a great and knowledgeable teacher.

We started looking for more classes with a focus on my conversion. We found the “Intro to Judaism” class to be the perfect fit for us. We enrolled without knowing what we were really in for. We expected some boring classes, with some less than interesting material, but luckily, it was nothing like that. We soon bonded with our classmates, making friends we will have for years to come. We built a community around our different situations and now are there to support each other through engagements, weddings, conversions, and (one day) babies. I learned what it is to be a Jew, and Hannah learned how to be a grown-up Jew.

We are very glad and appreciative to have this community so close to us.

 

Eric and Hannah took "A Taste of Judaism: Are You Curious?" and  "Intro to Judaism". Eric is currently preparing for his conversion to Judaism.If you have any questions about our classes or conversion, please be in touch with Joyce Schwartz, jschwartz@urj.org or 617-928-0012.