You are here

Share Share Share Share Share Share Share

Arva Gray

Becoming a Jew

“Not too long after my daughter Janet was born, I went to Rabbi Singer. And a friend of mine went too, and we talked to him about conversion. He said it would take about a year. So around 1956 we went every week for a couple of hours. I got to know him very well. We had books to read. I came in with a lot of questions.

Arva Davis Gray
Full image

Arva Davis Gray.
Photo courtesy of Joan Roth.

“By that time, I was already involved with the Jewish community. I’d been on the Board of the Council of Jewish Women. I’d been secretary there. I’d been involved with a Jewish Day School that was established at Temple De Hirsch Sinai for children that had originally come from Holland through China and then settled in Seattle. I’d moved into a neighborhood of mostly Jewish people. I got to know the mothers. And naturally, we became very good friends. We called ourselves ‘The Girls.’ My kids wondered when I would stop calling them ‘girls.’ Oh, we played Canasta, we played Mah-jongg, we played Pan, we played Bridge. Anything. And mostly, it was a conversation club. Because we never gossiped.

“I learned Sephardic cooking. I think I was a ‘kitchen Jew’ before I converted. And I certainly knew how to make a quajado before I did anything else. It’s a spinach soufflé with feta cheese. It’s wonderful with fish. I’d always liked to cook, so it was fun.

“So I was converted to Judaism before I was president of the Jewish Family and Child Service. But I was accepted by most of the community as being Jewish. I guess I didn’t consider myself an outsider. I came into the community and was accepted by a certain group, and then eventually became accepted by the community. I was involved in the community. I felt fine. I’m home. This is where I belong.”

0 Comments
Arva Davis Gray
Full image

Arva Davis Gray.
Photo courtesy of Joan Roth.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Arva Gray." (Viewed on July 22, 2017) <https://jwa.org/communitystories/seattle/narrators/gray-arva>.

Donate

Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

The JWA Podcast

listen now

Sign Up for JWA eNews

 

Discover Education Programs

Join our growing community of educators.

view programs