I work hard at being responsible. If I’ve made a committment to you I’ll keep it and if I’m unable to, I’ll call and tell you why. If I’m counted on to complete a task then the task will get completed on time, every time. It’s not always easy, convenient, or fun to be responsible but I believe it speaks to the kind of person one is; my reputation, be it at work, in my neighborhood, or at my shul tells those I work with, live near, and/or participate in synagogue activities with whether or not I’m serious about my job, my home, and my faith.
I took my conversion to Judaism very seriously. I examined all aspects of the faith before I made my decision and although I knew for quite some time that I would eventually convert there were several questions I asked myself before I made the final decision. Would I, after a long week at work, attend services on Friday evening? Would I make a true effort to get to know the members of my new community? Would I follow through with the monthly commitment I made to meet with recent converts and those considering conversion? Would I study Torah (no hesitation there), work on improving my Hebrew skills, and be open to listening and thinking about viewpoints I may not agree with or understand? Would I support my shul financially by becoming a member and/or donating to Jewish causes? It was only after careful contemplation on these and various other questions that I was able to make my final decision to convert.
Although my decision was a personal one it became, in a way, communal. I was accepted into the Covenant by the community as a whole and as such, I have a responsibility to share part of myself with the community. Whether I’m attending services, studying Torah, giving financial support, or meeting with recent or prospective converts, I am engaging with the People of Israel and contributing the best parts of who I am to the Covenant. I believe Judaism is a religion of community and it is when we are together in community that we truly experience God through one another.
Judaism isn’t for wimps. Each individual has a responsibility to the community to be a part of the Covenant in any way he/she is able. Without all its members, the community is weakened and must struggle to survive. When I made the decision to convert I accepted the many responsibilities that Judaism demands of me because I know that it isn’t just my reputation that’s on the line – it’s my community as well.