Cultural Diversity Traditions Essay

1573 words - 6 pages

Jewish TraditionPart of my textured past includes the movement from one religious sector to another, which, many may think, is at the other end of the spectrum. I was raised as a Christian growing up on various military bases as my father pursued his military career. My younger childhood left me memories of going to church and eagerly awaiting the cookies and punch in the reception afterwards. I can remember playing Joseph in a church pageant. As I aged, my interest in religion was overshadowed by life as a teenager. Eventually, I met a girl from a rival high school and we began our "Romeo and Juliet"-type relationship. I came to find out she was Jewish, not by birth, but by conversion and not by her conversion, but by her mother's. We eventually fell in love and we decided to marry. Having a Jewish wedding was important to Merideth and my insatiable curiosity made it an easy decision to have a Jewish wedding.We asked Merideth's rabbi if he would marry us to which he agreed under the stipulation that I first convert to Judaism. Since I was largely uninvolved in the religious sense, I thought adopting a new religion might be interesting, particularly since this religion fit my ideals at the time better than Christianity did. I took a twelve-week course studying Judaism. Rabbi Foster maintained that converting to Judaism was one of the most important ceremonies I would do. It was important in the sense that I had to prove that I wanted to be and could be a "good" Jew. I had many conversations with Rabbi Foster about Judaism, a religion rich with tradition and ceremony. He felt I had learned much and was ready to convert, if that was truly what I still wanted.My first foreign ceremony was my conversion ceremony to the Jewish religion. It is among the shortest yet one of the most important ceremonies for a Reformed Jew. As is true with many religious ceremonies, it involved a lot of standing in front of the congregation with the Rabbi offering a sermon or discussion on what it means to be a Jew. There were a few prayers spoken by the Rabbi in English and in Hebrew. Then it was my turn. My participation in the ceremony was to declare my dedication to the Jewish faith (in English). I astonished the Rabbi when I first spoke the declaration in Hebrew and then again in English. He knew I was ready and he gladly accepted me into his congregation. We wed a week later in that synagogue under a brand new Chuppah, which was to be my second official foreign ceremony. Since then, I have participated in many Jewish ceremonies and for me it never gets boring.Racial and Ethnic IdentityMy ancestry is somewhat of a mystery. Nothing is known about my mother's background and very little about my father's except that his father came from Wales. It is fairly easy to see however, that the Welsh heritage does lend itself well to what has been called the "standard American culture" (Chavez & Guido-DiBrito, 1999). My family could easily be called the typical Caucasian...

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