Israel at War and a Young Woman’s Heroic Choice

Israel at War and a Young Woman’s Heroic Choice

Hundreds of rockets falling, a state of emergency declared as Israeli Arabs riot, the injured filling Israeli hospitals, funerals for the victims, and IDF platoons heading south for a possible ground invasion.
Among Israel’s worst escalation of violence in 7 years, today I received such wonderful news from Chana, a beautiful, idealistic young woman who has become part of our family over the last year. Along with this photo of herself reciting Shema Yisrael before a Jerusalem Beit Din, Chana wrote that at long last, after years of study and yearning, she is finally a Jew!.
Chana’s conversion at these challenging times, as the clouds of war gather over her, reminded me of the requirement in Jewish law to turn away the convert at least three times. According to the Talmud in Yevamot, we must challenge the convert: “Why do you want to convert? Don’t you know that Jews are persecuted and humiliated? Constant suffering is their lot! Why do you want to join such a people?”
Or, in its current version, Chana has been warned: Why do you want to convert? Don’t you see how our enemies pommel us with missiles? Attempt to drive us into the sea? And the nations of the world, yet again, blame us for defending ourselves and turn their backs.”
And Chana, like thousands of other righteous converts going all the way back thousands of years to Ruth, the heroine of Shavuot pleaded: “Please, do not entreat me to leave you, to turn back from following you, for wherever you go, I will go, and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people and your God my God.”
Mazal Tov, Chana! Shehechiyanu, v’kiyamanu, v’higiyanu. Welcome home!

2 comments

  1. Hadassah

    Important to remember that a convert in Hebrew is referred to as a ger sh’ nisgayer not goy shenisgayer. They always had this intrinsic connection to
    Yiddishkeit, but just need to go through the formal process to activate it. Once Moshiach comes no one will be able to convert any more…

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