Samain and the Choice Moon
Wednesday gratefuls: An added identity. A son of Abraham and Sarah. Still buzzing from yesterday. That full Choice Moon visible on the way to Evergreen yesterday morning. Great Sol painting the Lodgepoles with energy. A blue white Sky. A great sleep. Witnesses. Ritual. Blessings. Joan. Wild Neighbors. The Arapaho National Forest. Shadow Mountain. The Mikvah. Its Water.
Sparks of Joy and Awe: Israel
One brief shining: Exhale, Rabbi Jamie said, after in my first immersion I bobbed back to the surface and hit my head on the beautiful tiles that make up the mikvah-gently, oh I said, so the next time I did exhale, the second immersion, and I sank to the bottom proving why a good Jew should trust his Rabbi.
May it last. This feeling of inner peace. I slept soundly. Woke up with no hurry, no rush to accomplish anything. To get anything going for the day. Felt good in my own skin. Not that I don’t usually, but this feels pervasive. And, a result of the ritual yesterday. Yes, I had already chosen. Yes, for me it was a confirmation of that choice. Yet the attentiveness, the kavanah, the intention of all parties involved, including those who raised the money for the mikvah, designed and built it. Yes. The drop of blood. Yes. The beit din. Yes. The Waters of the mikvah. Yes. Immersion. Yes. The new name. Yes. Changed.
Joan said during my beit din that before WWII converts used to be looked down on in Judaism in America. Second class Jews. After the holocaust. Things changed. These were people who will stand with the other members of the tribe. By choice. The potential consequences of that choice driving the change.
Rabbi Steve warned me with a story. A man he married had converted. Shortly after his conversion he was in an airport and talking with his sister, a Lutheran minister, about it. Loudly. His sister asked him where he was. He told her. She said stop this conversation right now and we’ll discuss why when you get home. This was shortly after October 7th. You’ve had, he said, until now, the cover of white male privilege. Your new identity comes with dangers.
Yes, I said, I may be stupid about that. But I’m not going to give into those forces. Screw’em. I fight. I fight for those I love. But he’s right. There are real this world consequences to being Jewish. Perhaps perversely but probably not surprisingly to those who know me well, I embrace them.
After the ritual, we all had lunch at a Middle Eastern place. Good gyros, generous portions. Alan came and celebrated with us. It was a nice and gentle way to end the morning.
Joan invited me in for coffee when we made the long trek up her narrow driveway to take her home. I agreed. Rabbi Jamie said he’d be back for me after his staff meeting. Joan and I talked for two plus hours, ranging wide. She’s only participated in two other beit dins, long ago, and both for women. A real honor to have her there. She’s a friend.