Humans of Hebrew College Pittsburgh as a Catalyst for Conversion
“This past Thanksgiving weekend, I took a deep breath, received a reassuring and proud smile from my husband, and announced to my Jewish in-laws and my non-Jewish birth family that the recent tragedy in Pittsburg made me decide to convert.
It was an incredibly powerful experience saying those words out loud, because despite 10 years of involvement in a large Jewish family, an interfaith wedding, having my two sons converted at their brit milot, and working here at Hebrew College for the past eight months, I never saw myself actually converting. As I processed what happened in Pittsburgh privately and collectively with family, friends, and colleagues, I kept coming back to a mental image of standing on the other side of a river from my children and husband. I thought of myself for the first time as separate from them and my extended family, and felt self-conscious about that as I came to work on campus that week. I wanted to wear my hamsa necklace to the college’s memorial service that Monday morning, but I didn’t because I wondered, for the first time, if doing so might be perceived as appropriation. After a fact-finding meeting with the rabbi and cantor from the Reform synagogue that my husband and I joined this summer, I decided that yes, it was time to take the plunge. And my soul has not stopped singing since!”
(Mia Tavan is Adult Learning Marketing Specialist & Development Associate at Hebrew College.)