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Why I decided to prepare for my Giur in Antwerp and not Holland.

B’’H

Since my youth I have a lot of interest in Judaism. I started reading when I was very young and I have read many books concerning Judaism. I have been raised up as a Christian, but I didn’t see myself a Christian anymore. Some of my ancestors originally came from Spain and the story in my family is that they were Jewish (maranos), although I can’t prove this. I thought this might be a coincidence and I started to have more interest in Jewish tradition. My aunt married a Jew and they immigrated to Israel. When they visited us and he prayed, I was very impressed and moved. I have family living in Antwerp and I occasionally saw Jews walking through the Jewish neighborhood and I was attracted by their way of life. I visited several Jewish stores and restaurants. I wanted to convert to Judaism and I searched on the Internet for possibilities. I didn’t know where to start. I wanted to go to shul, learn Hebrew and immerse myself in Jewish tradition.

Eventually after a long period I found the website of Aryel Tsion. He referred me to Rav Daum. In the beginning I was very nervous to meet Rav Daum, but he was very friendly and we had a nice conversation. From that moment I have been taking many lessons. I have lesson of two hours every week. One hour I am reading from the Siddur and Rav Daum helps me to improve my pronunciation. The second hour Rav Daum teaches halacha (Jewish law). I didn’t know that there is so much you can learn. Every lesson is a lesson that I can explore Judaism. I wanted to attend shul in Rotterdam and I contacted the responsible rabbi. This conversation was quite disappointing and the policy of the Dutch rabbinate is to discourage people as much as possible. He was also puzzled why I didn’t live in Antwerp.

Judaism is of course not only learning, but also practicing. I am going to shul in Antwerp and there are about 30 shuls you can visit. I have noticed that I am not the only person who is interested in Judaism and I have met many people who are interested in Judaism and who want to convert. It helps me to have conversations with people who are interested in Judaism and I have made many friends.

My learning and searching is not a temporary process but hopefully a process which will last my whole life.

J. de Jong Rotterdam

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