Monday, April 21, 2008

A country conversion...

A beaufiful star of David. This is from Artistgirl's Muse.

I found this article FASCINATING. Here is an exerpt:

A rural community described as “far away from everywhere,” Cairo, Ill., boasts 40 churches, 40 blocks and fewer than 4,000 people — and as of earlier this month, it also has 55 brand-new Jews.

Dozens of Cairo’s residents — all African American and ranging from toddler to senior citizen — visited a mikveh in Memphis, Tenn., on December 9 and took the plunge into conversion. It was the culmination of an 18-month spiritual journey that has brought a number of Reform and Conservative Jews into common cause with a group of spiritual seekers from a town that is predominantly black and poor.

“It was incredible. Who would have thought that rabbis in St. Louis and Memphis would increase the number of Jews of color in America appreciably?” said Rabbi Micah Greenstein, who attended the conversion ceremonies and serves as the spiritual leader of Temple Israel, a Reform congregation in Memphis. “Judaism saved my life,” one of the converts told Greenstein. “That’s the first time in 100 converts that I’ve ever heard that,” the rabbi said.

The conversion odyssey, which was first reported on by Memphis’s Commercial Appeal newspaper, began in Cairo roughly four or five years ago, when a now 39-year-old computer repairman named Phillip Matthews grew disaffected with the Baptist faith in which he was raised and became interested in Judaism. Described as having a magnetic personality by several rabbis involved in the Cairo conversions, Matthews quickly found himself at the center of a study circle that involved an extended network of friends and family — including, by his estimation, 17 or 18 relatives, among them his mother, siblings, nieces and nephews — who ultimately converted to Judaism along with him.


Kathi said...

what a great article! It sort of struck home with me :)

Artistgirl's Muse said...

Thank you for featuring me on your blog. I really like yours!

moonmystic said...

Interesting article.