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March 05, 2004 - Image 44

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2004-03-05

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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from page 43

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Raised by two ministers, and still hold-
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while he "does not share all my mother's
beliefs," he has "gone to shul" with her
on occasion, and he appreciates the
opportunity to learn.
"I ask a lot of questions," he says.
"Judaism has been a doorway into learn-
ing something I didn't know a whole lot
about."

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8169'10

Halachah does not permit identifying
another Jew as "a convert." In Judaism, a
Jew is a Jew, whether born Jewish or
through conversion.
Cecelia Futch-Rogow isn't interested in
broadcasting herself as "a convert," but
her story is so extraordinary "how could
I hide it?
"Maybe," she adds, "I'm not meant to
hide it."
Whenever she speaks publicly about
her conversion, "someone who is think-
ing about converting to Judaism comes
up to me. It always leads to discussion:
I'm glad to do it if it helps somebody."
Her hope for those born Jewish: that
they will become more interested in
Judaism.
"It's not that I'm better [because I'm
observant]. I just want to know how we
can all grow Jewishly, and can we incor-
porate even one more mitzvah into our
daily lives? As long as we're making
progress, that's what counts."
Nor does Futch-Rogow have anything
negative to say about other religions.
"If Judaism was the only way to God,
then we would be out there trying to
convert everyone," she says. "God has
created many pathways to live a Godly
life- outside Judaism."
One day she would like to return to
the kinds of ministerial work — helping
abused women, for example — that once
held her to the Methodist church. "I
miss that kind of responsibility," she says.
She speaks realistically about her
Jewish life, acknowledging the challenges
as well as the blessings.
"Believe me, I've had rough times," she
says. "Like Pesach. At first, I threw out
all my bread and thought, 'So what's the
big deal?'" Then she learned the real
details, and found herself at 2 a.m. one
night scrubbing the kitchen shelves,
checking for crumbs.
"Still, I have never, ever regretted my
decision to become Jewish," she says. "It
can be difficult, of course. But there has
never been any doubt — any doubt —
that this is the path for me."



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