Saturday, August 15, 2009


I had my conversion ceremony yesterday, during Shabbat service. I can't even begin to tell you how overwhelmed, happy, emotional I was. And nervous, because I wanted to make a speech -- and I did, and everyone said they liked it -- in front of the whole congregation and was not sure how it was going to work out.

The nervousness went away immediately after I stood up there on the bimah, with Rabbi S next to me and I looked around in the chapel. Everyone looked at me the friendliest way I can possibly imagine. I spoke for a few minutes and then the formal part of the ceremony started. We opened up the ark, Rabbi S took one of the Torah scrolls and handed it to me. Then I read a pledge, while holding the sacred scripture in my arms. It was so beautiful!

I loved the pledge -- well, I read it beforehand, Rabbi S gave it to me earlier that day, before the Beit Din. The Beit Din took place at the synagogue with the two rabbis and the cantor of the Temple. They asked me some questions and after about half an hour they said I was good to go to the mikvah with Rabbi S.

We went over to Serith Israel to use their mikvah, my husband joined us there because he also wanted to witness my rebirth as a Jew. It felt so spiritually uplifting, cleansing and emotional. I said prayers, the Shema as a concluding prayer, immersed three times completely under water and became a Jew.

I am so happy, clean, enthusiastic, and proud. All my friends who were in town came to the service to celebrate with me. Even people I don't know came up to me after the service to congratulate or praise my speech and to say how much they liked it. I never felt happier: I have everything now: my loving husband, great faily and friends, and a spiritual path that I have found -- again.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Tomorrow is the day. I am so excited! I am meeting the Beit Din, then I will go to the mikvah (at Sherith Israel) with Rabbi S, and in the evening, during Shabbat service, I am going to celebrate my conversion with the clergy and my friends. I am so happy, and overwhelmed, and excited, I can't even begin to tell you how much!

I can't believe I am finally here :-)

Monday, June 29, 2009


I have completed the study with the Rabbi. We had 14 sessions on heavy and sometimes less heavy topics I had to discover through my reading assignments. We became friends, along the way. I am grateful I found the Temple and the people who are my second family now.

I am working on finalizing my project. The interview I did with a Hungarian elderly lady whose family helped several Jewish families during WWII. I am very close to being done and I can't wait to present it to the Rabbi and to the Beit Din, maybe to the whole congregation. The most amazing thing about her story is that she does not think of it as something extraordinary. She and her family just did what their sense of justice told them to do, which was not to let the innocent people be killed because because they happened to be Jewish. She spoke to me about it as it was the most obvious and natural thing on Earth to do. Her father was not a Schindler, he did not save thousands of lives. But he did save a few in a world where saving the Jews was equal to death penalty if caught. I think one taken life is one too many. Therefore I think everyone who risked their lives for the right cause should be remembered and honored. I feel so honored that she shared her story with me and that I will be able to share it with more people.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


I am back to the US, to Nashville and to my Temple family, which I have missed for almost 2 months while I was visiting my home country. I enjoyed the stay and loved being with my Mom and friends, I got the chance to be there for my best friends' wedding -- which was amazingly beautiful! -- and to catch up with the people who are dear to my heart. I really enjoyed each moment of my visit despite of the fallback on the "project" that was partially the purpose of my trip.

But it feels really great to be back. I could even get it together to be there at the Shabbat service last Friday (I flew in Thursday night!) because I missed it so much. That service was especially sweet because of the adult B'nei Mitzvah class students who became bar and bat mitzvah. It is really great, my "farewell" service in April was the dedication of the new prayer book -- which I like a lot! -- and my "welcome" service was this one. I think I am really lucky.

As for my studies: I am almost done with the readings, we only meet one more time with the Rabbi -- well, for that purpose, at least -- and my project is coming along good. I have typed in the interview in both English and Hungarian and now I am at the fact-check part. I have sent some clarification questions to the person I did the interview with and as soon as she responds I'll correct the interview and send it to her to another fact-check. I really don't want to have any incorrect information in it, it should be genuinely pure and true.

At my friends' weddingI met a Jewish lawyer who is also teaching at the rabbinical school and is the legal representative for the Hungarian Jewish organization, MAZSIHISZ .
He seemed to be eager to learn more abou the Reform Movement and about Jewish life in the USA, more closely in Tennessee. We talked about how he'd like to establish contact with our congregation so I am going to start working on that, as well.

Friday, May 29, 2009


I know I have been silent for a while and for that I would like to apologize. Those of you who have been following my other "road" know the reason.

Something really sad and bad happened recently and although I think I am dealing with it fairly well I still need time to heal my broken heart and soul. That is why I have not written anything recently here, although I have been trying to work on my assignments and readings. I will be back in a few days, renewed and fresh. The good thing is that I have great friends who are beside me whatever happens, and that I know from my not very sunshiny experience that nothing in me can be broken forever. Everything heals.

I have to tell you, though, that I did some past-digging in my family history and I made a huge discovery: my ancestors were Jews. On one side of my family. Later I will explain it in more details but for now I just wanted to point out something: isn't it interesting that I have been drawn back to "my" people by some invisible but strong force. To the people of whom I have not known I was one of them. I always felt it, though. I now believe there is something we call FATE. And now I know what mine is -- well, some of it.

I wanted to thank my readers for being my readers and following my spiritual road. You all mean a lot to me and I can't wait to see you again. I miss the Temple and the people. It's only a matter of a little less than 2 weeks. Until then I will probably be back with more details and news from Hungary. I just wanted to say THANK YOU to you.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Extremism in Hungary

One of the most shocking experiences I've had since I came to Hungary is that there is a significant number of extremists walking around in the city without even trying to be subtle. They wear extremist symbols and dress like "urban soldiers". I mean they wear clothes that are not uniforms per se but resemble military outfits. They put the Hungarian tricolor ribbon around their arm, wear pins that show the old Hungary -- meaning the bigger one, before the Trianon Treaty (Versailles, France), when substantial territories were detached from the country as a penalty for picking the wrong side (the Germans) in World War I.

I could not help but notice how different ideologies are mix-matched here: Hungarism -- Hungarian nationalism, meaning they want the old territories back; anti-Semitism; ant-democratic ideology...One Hungarist "genius" -- I think it was their leader or something -- said that they don't want democracy and all Jews are liars. Well, I don't really see either the connection or the consistency, not to mention the generalization fueled by hatred. I bet this guy has not met any Jew so far but he seems to "know" the unquestionable truth.

It is ridiculous and scary at the same time. I hope this ideology does not attract too many people but I also think that unfortunately there are groups of people who are easy to influence: teenagers, the unemployed and the less educated. The mixing of the ideas and the lack of consistency which is, in turn, presented as a complete ideology, is a laughing matter. But I don't know where this all leads and I can only hope that people know better.

The scary part is how it is not a shame anymore to be explicitly extremist: publicly and even proudly wearing/showing symbols of hatred and hostility ... There is a new symbol which seriously resembles the swastika. It is not that but almost ...

(this is a sticker with the "old Hungary" map with the colors of the Arpad dinasty, the first royal dinasty in Hungary, their symbolism has been revived by the nationalist movements in the beginning of the 20th century and used since then by the extreme rightists; and the thing inside of it that -- maybe I am wrong, but -- strongly resembles to the swastika ... )

Interestingly, someone suggested that the Arpad-colors should be considered a prohibited symbol because in World War II the Hungarian "Nazi" party has used it as their flag but the law did not go through. The reasoning was that the Arpad-colors are an ancient historic treasure and as such can not be prohibited...

Monday, May 4, 2009


As probably everyone who is not really educated in the realm of Zionism I have always thought Zionism was something not very nice. It's not like I was bothered by it -- because I am a pacifist above all -- nor was I thinking about it all the time like it was something bad. It's just that whenever asked about it or heard about it the thought that came to my mind first was something mildly negative. See, this is why it is important to educate people about Judaism and related topics.

I hope -- maybe naively enough -- that people who could be even more harmful than me (which is not very hard to do) would change their minds as soon as they'd learn. The problem is they are not very willing to :-( I mean the really harmful ones. My impression is that these people enjoy being mean and they are not interested in reality but more in their reality they have created for themselves. They become protective of their created reality and scared to leave it ... I am more and more convinced that anti-Semitism (which, I think, goes hand in hand with anti-Zionism) originates from insecurity of a person's identity.

Now that I have clarified -- at least to a certain extent -- my ideas about Zionism by reading Kertzer's and Wylen's books my vision has changed some. I don't think of Zionism as something negative anymore. It is certainly true that Zionism is a nationalistic movement and therefore a little bit exclusive but it is also understandable. I mean, the Jews almost never had a home.

As a Hungarian (well, half) I know. Hungary was founded in 1000 AD, Hungarians did not have a home beforehand. They were wandering around, occasionally attacking other peoples who came along, they were hunters and fighters. Then, we arrived to the Carpathian Basin and our leaders decided this is going to be our country. Well, it was all beautiful and stuff but there were people here who were convinced that the place was their country. So my ancestors fought them, negotiated with them and finally -- after having agreed to adopt Christianity -- we were allowed to stay. Our first king, Stephen, fought his brother, as well, because his brother was the eldest -- therefore the next righteous king -- but he resented Roman Catholicism and wanted to remain Pagan. Finally even he converted to Orthodox Catholicism but the Roman Church was stronger in the territory and they have supported Stephen to win over his brother and helped him to take the throne.

Why am I talking about this? Because it is somewhat similar to how the State of Israel was founded. With the slight difference that the Land of Israel used to be the Jewish homeland for a while, so in my terms the Jews had every right to claim it back. And therefore Zionism looks completely different from such a perspective.

What I think about the relationships of Israel with the surrounding area: well, as I have already mentioned, I am a pacifist, so I am against all kinds of warfare. I also know that sometimes war is inevitable, unfortunately. The Arab world does not like the fact that the Jewish State has been founded in their midst. The Jewish people don't like attacks on their own. So there is continuous conflicts to be solved and I am really sad that diplomacy does not seem to work there. I am hopeful, I wish that Israel and the Arab world would reconcile and live next to each other peacefully, without rackets and air force attacks, and killing innocent people on both ends. Evidence shows that Israel is not in the way of developing the area, au contraire. I would love to see the Arabs cooperating with Israel for the benefit of both parties. Until that is possible, I know there would be bloodshed and I know that sometimes there is no alternatives.