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Our Stories

  • 18 Jan 2018 9:20 AM | SCBetDin Admin (Administrator)

    Jill Housen

      Yael Tirza (after my great grandmother's), converted in 2017.

    I am a Buyer/Manager at a contemporary clothing boutique for women.

    Member of Temple Beth Israel, Pomona

    Without a doubt the high point of my conversion process was the experience of the mikveh.  I really did not know what to expect and perhaps the wonderful staff at the mikveh could sense my apprehension.  They were so kind and helped me feel at ease about what I was to do.  The actual act of immersion in the mikveh was the most spiritual, uplifting moment of my life. I came away feeling  renewed and  grounded.  For the first time in a long while I finally felt all of the pieces of my life fit together perfectly.

    My biggest surprise so far has been the overwhelmingly warm reception I have received from my Jewish community.  The level of acceptance and community has been tremendous in large part due to the amazing leadership of my Rabbi  and Cantor who go out of their way to make our synagogue a welcome home for everybody. 

  • 16 Jan 2018 9:20 AM | SCBetDin Admin (Administrator)

    Jackie Lara

    Miriam,  converted in 2015

    I am a Health educator and a member Beit Chayim Chadashim

    I loved all the education--it took place at Congregation Kol Ami/URJ Intro to Judaism, a 16 week course.  We were in the same cohort and knew all the stories of the people in the class intimately; we studied history, literature, and the importance of Social Justice.   

    I was surprised how accepting my family was; they were happy and excited about my connection to God and spirituality.  My conversion rekindled their connection to a spiritual path.

  • 16 Jan 2018 9:20 AM | SCBetDin Admin (Administrator)

    James Sutherland

    Yacov, converted in 2016.

    I am a graduate student in clinical psychology and a Board Member of Beit Chayim Chadashim.

    Receiving a Certificate of Conversion was a culmination of all my striving. Upon entering a synagogue, I experienced the unspoken community.

    Being Jewish was not a surprise; I knew I had Jewish ancestors.  It felt like I came to my true community.

  • 16 Jan 2018 9:19 AM | SCBetDin Admin (Administrator)

    Bryan VanDiggle

    Abir Gershon Meyer, converted in 2016.

    I am a Television producer and a member at Temple Sinai, Glendale. I joined a Honeymoon Israel trip and have participated in related activities after our return from Israel.

    The first time I attended Shabbat services at Temple Sinai--it was the 4th week into classes--I went in and understood what Shabbat was.  I wanted to leave the work week behind and transition into Shabbat.   

    While my spiritual path started as a personal one, I have been surprised how much I have enjoyed the community aspect--hosting seders, and seeing familiar faces at services.

  • 16 Jan 2018 9:19 AM | SCBetDin Admin (Administrator)

    Kenneth Shoji (Japanese, adopted, Jewish mother)

    Ariel David, converted in 2013.

    I work in Communications for tribal government and I am a member of Temple Beth El, Riverside.

    I deeply enjoyed my education in Judaism, I wanted to really have a focus to learn: history and culture; the call to right action.  And I appreciated the opportunity for self introspection about my reasons for this conversion.   

    I was surprised by Judaism's focus on action as a way of being.

  • 16 Jan 2018 9:19 AM | SCBetDin Admin (Administrator)

    Perle Deustch

    Penina, converted in 2009.

    I am a former Teacher and currently a stay-at-home mother of two young boys.

    I am active in the Jewish community:  AIPAC; JNF, Magen David Adom.

    Every step in my path felt equally important:  the decision, classes with Rabbi Haim; the Bet Din itself helped me reframe my past in a non-judgmental Jewish way.  Each step contributed to the whole--all matter.

    I was surprised about how attached I feel to Israel.  
  • 16 Jan 2018 9:18 AM | SCBetDin Admin (Administrator)

    Carolyn Ramsay (married with 2 children, son and daughter who attend Temple Israel of Hollywood day school).

    Bina, converted in 2010.

    I am a Political and Non-profit Consultant and a member of Temple Israel of Hollywood, and serve as VP for Development on the Board of TIOH.

    I was surprised and delighted that I was able to do the mikveh with my daughter who was 12. My daughter needed to be a Jew.  Our mikveh was a peak life moment.   

    I was surprised by the immediate and powerful sense of belonging to the Jewish people.

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