Approximately 3 years ago I began a journey that I didn’t quite comprehend at the time. It was one of learning about the Jewish faith. I have always been a student of religious text and when I came to Temple Isaiah in Palm Springs something deep inside of me was stirred. I met with Rabbi Sally within a week and told her about my life and my journey. She encouraged me to take a class to learn about Judaism. I felt like I had been wandering in the desert for months and finally found water. I literally studied all that I could study, I attended services on both Friday nights and Saturday mornings and then I made up my mind that I wanted to convert to Judaism. I knew there was a lot to study, but that never stopped me. It was two years ago today that my journey really began. Two years ago, I traveled up to Los Angeles to the Mikveh to meet with the Rabbi’s for the conversion process. Sandie Ovesen and I were both ready, or at least Rabbi Sally felt we were ready.
It is as though it were yesterday sitting in the back of the car as our friend Barb drove us there, with Rabbi Sally sitting up front. Sandie and I were so nervous as we looked over our notes. That day was one of the most memorable days of my life. Sitting across from the 4 rabbis and with Rabbi Sally by my side I answered all their questions. I have never felt such pride as I then prepared for the Mikveh. Studying Judaism and my faith has been one of the best things I have ever done. I love my Judaism, so much so that I continued studying, with my friend Sandie and prepared for a batmitzveh on my 50th birthday (last November!).
So even though I have now moved away from Temple Isaiah and I live in Baja where there is no temple. I still honor my love of Judaism by reading my Etz Chaim and chanting my prayers and lighting my candles each Shabbat. I know that what I have learned has prepared me to live my life as a Simcha (happiness and joy!).
My Hebrew name is Eliana Eliza. Eliana means G-d has answered me and Eliza means Joyous one. I feel as though I embody both those names. I love my faith and I will spend each day of my life practicing Tikkun Olam (healing the world). May all those who cross my path see that although I am only one person, I can change the world one person at a time.
Mazel Tov to those who have shared this journey with me…Rabbi Sally and Sandie Ovesen, you have inspired me each day and I am forever grateful that you are in my life. Dorys Forray, I thank you for getting me started on this journey and of course my best friend Barbara Kane, I am glad that you have been inspired by my learning and encouraged me to live my faith!