Becoming a Jew

By Catherine Share, congregant

My ex-partner and I came to Maine in 2006 with our adopted daughter. I was not Jewish, but Cindy was, and we had decided to raise our daughter as a Jew. We joined Bet Ha’am because, as a lesbian interfaith couple, we felt the Reform tradition would be the most accepting. We enrolled Maya in religious school, but, as two practicing physicians, our attendance at services was sporadic.

I was raised in the United Church of Christ, but joined the Episcopal Church as an adult. I was very involved in my church and at one point considered ordination in the deaconate, a lay order. But after coming out in 1994, I did not feel as welcomed in the church. I struggled with these issues for many years, but finally left the church in the late 90s.

As Maya progressed in Hebrew School, I attended services at Bet Ha’am more regularly. Although Judaism is so different from my previous tradition, with study and perseverance I gradually understood and eventually embraced my Jewish life and identity. Along the way I have had wonderful teachers. But more important, I have witnessed incredible examples of people who honor the tradition with their love of Torah, the holidays, the community, and their commitment to action and dedicated volunteerism.

I converted to Judaism in January of this year and have been studying for my Bat Mitzvah service since then. While I am disappointed it will not be in person with the whole community, the online option will provide an opportunity for many of my friends and family from away to be present and share this time with me.

Photo by David Holifield on Unsplash

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