When someone asked my husband recently, “What does your wife do?”
My husband was at a loss for words to explain what it is I do on a day-to-day basis, some of which (my book, my essays, my blog, Facebook fan page, Tweets) my husband knows very little about. He prefers reading the perfectly polished published pieces I sell to magazines and online publications.
But after some thought, he smiled up at the rabbi. Like it’d been downloaded into his brain from G-d, he knew exactly what to say.
“My wife is a conversion counselor. She also does internet kiruv (outreach).”
When he told me he’d said this to our rabbi, my jaw dropped and I said to him, “AH, WHAT?
After the time I spent in Los Angeles last summer, I realized I really enjoyed meeting converts, listening to their stories and figuring out how to help them get through the process, finding the right rabbi to work with them, picking the right synagogue, finding the right community, whether they have been interested in converting for years or just find the starting the process. I try to help the prospective convert build a support system by connecting them to others in the Jewish community.
I thought this was just a cool way to get out of the house and meet new people. A teacher by trade I’ve taken women to synagogues and gone through the entire services with them. I’ve met with men and women in coffee shops to discuss their interests (varied, complicated, vulnerable) in conversion. Some of the stories I hear are so touching but some are so heartwrenching, I feel. like, I need a degree in counseling. My hope is that I can use what I have learned to help them on their own paths.
So if you’re thinking about conversion, in the conversion process, newly Jewish, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to discuss it or ask the questions you’re too scared to ask a rabbi. I usually meet people in Starbucks or some other coffee shop. I tell you my story if you don’t already know it and then I sick back and hear yours while I take really good notes figuring out how I can be helpful to you.