An American friend is about to convert to Judaism. She’s almost through with the classes, and is excitedly awaiting the conversion rituals which she described to me in detail. I could not help but listen to her description of Mikveh while distracted by the light radiating from her.
She was happy. Life in her heart was coming back to its elemental state of water, wood and fire. She looked light, so light that she could fly beyond her own heritage and upbringing into that of fairytales.
“I have to remove any makeup, nail polish and bandages, before I enter the water,” she said. “I have to immerse my entire body in it, untie my hair, while the rabbi recites things from behind a screen.”
Throughout her description of Mikveh, I tried relating it (in my mind) to the purifying procedure that goes on in Islam: Ghusl. I wouldn’t change from a religion to another to do the same thing, I thought to myself. But then I had to stop and wonder why I was contemplating the idea of conversion in the first place!
“How’s your family reacting to that?” I asked her to get myself to focus.
“Surprisingly, my mom though a practicing catholic is very excited. She insisted on throwing me a party that day!”
My eyes must’ve darted out or something because she explained immediately.
“I think because I’ve never believed in anything while growing up, she’s happy that I now have a faith and that I’ve become a believer.”
A believer. That word sounded so beautiful to me. A believer. Nothing more, nothing less, nothing in-between. So big a word, that it needed no fillers. A Catholic mom was happy that her daughter is becoming a Jew because she will finally become a believer.
We were at a party, but nothing could distract me from my thoughts after that point of the conversation. While many religions divide the land of God to countries, cities, and maps, streets and street regulations. While some religions place penalties as high as death to those who are leaving, and other religions place hardships as much as rejection to those who knock-a mom was clear enough in the eye to see the light radiating through her daughter and embracing the boundless God.