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Arva Gray Reflects on her Journey as a Jew by Choice

Arva Gray reflects on her journey as a Jew by Choice. She discusses finding Jewish community, bonding through food, and the process of conversion.

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I-I went to Rabbi Singer, and, uh--a friend of mine went--and, uh, he said, uh, he'd do it. It would take a year. And so, I got to know him very well. And-and, uh, every week, Lillian and I went. And we had books to read, and I had a lot of questions. And he said, uh, "Well, are you going to stay a Jew if-if you go through this?" And I said, "If I go through it and accept it, yeah. But if I don't accept it, uh, I'm not going to become a Jew." Because, by that time, I was involved with a Jewish community. I'd been on the board of, uh, the Council of Jewish Women. I'd been secretary there. I'd been involved with a Jewish day school that was established, uh, at Temple for, uh, children that had come from, uh, Hol--no, they'd originally come from Holland and so on through China, and then settled in Seattle. And, uh, so I-I was involved. I'd-I had moved into a neighborhood of mostly Jewish people. I used to call it Sephardic Heights Overlooking Fisherman's Wharf, and I got to know the mothers. And that way, we became very good friends. We played Canasta, we played Mahjong, we played Pan, we played Bridge, anything. And mostly, it was a conversation club because, uh, we never gossiped. I think I was a kitchen Jew before I converted, and I certainly knew how to make a [unclear] before I did anything else. It's a spinach soufflé with feta cheese and so it's wonderful with fish and so on. But it's a pretty common Sephardic dish, and, uh, I've always liked to cook, so it was fun. And, uh, it was-it was an interesting group, because we were kind of--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 felt fine. I'm home. This is where I belong.

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Jewish Women's Archive. "Arva Gray Reflects on her Journey as a Jew by Choice." (Viewed on January 21, 2018) <>.


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