Jan. 18th, 2013

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So...tonight's the night. Today after work I am going to meet a friend for dinner, and then the two of us are going to drive to my synagogue, and at 6:30 PM EST, I will begin my conversion ceremony and finally become a Jew.

I may throw up.

Sadly, that is not hyperbole, but also not how it sounds: I AM SICK! AGAIN! I went to bed Tuesday feeling fine and woke up on Wednesday with a stomach virus of indeterminate origin and now any time I eat solid food, I have to lie down and not move for awhile, lest I vomit. So dinner right before my ceremony will be...um, interesting.

FUN TIMES WITH KACI'S PISS-POOR IMMUNE SYSTEM.

But I am not letting it bring me down. Oh, no. I am excited and so ready to do this and nothing can dampen my joy.

My rabbi asked me to explain to him why it was so important to me to convert -- after all, this isn't like Christianity where you have to be "saved" in order to receive some ultimate reward. (In fact, the question of an "ultimate reward" isn't even a factor. And if there is one, righteous non-Jews have equal access.) The best way I could describe it to him is thus:

Imagine you're driving down a dark and lonely road one night. You didn't ask to end up on this road, don't even know how you got here in the first place, but here you are. And then you get the flat tire of awareness and suddenly realize, "Hey! I'm on the wrong road!" But now you can't fix the tire, so you have to start walking, trying to find the right one. So you walk and walk and walk and finally, you find yourself at your own front door. But you turn the handle, and it's locked. You knock on the door, you ring the doorbell, and the door still doesn't open. You peek in the window and see your family and the warm comforts of home. You wave and knock and try to get their attention, but still the door doesn't open. You're home, but you can't come in, and so you just stand out there alone.

And now, finally, the door is opening.

That's how it feels. I read somewhere else a phrase that I immediately fell in love with -- someone described the process of converting as "being adopted," and that's true, too. The family inside the house I described may not be the one I was born to, but they're still my family. I still belong with them. They still care about me and want me to come in. They want me there and I want to be there, and until now, the only thing that's kept us apart is that door. But tonight, it opens. Tonight I can finally come inside and be embraced and they can finally do the embracing.

Yeah, okay, I'm pushing this metaphor, but that's how it feels, it really is. And I'm so happy that I get to come home tonight.

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January 2013

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