Yesterday, I did my first public… well… anything in several years. Between Covid and the back injury, I just don’t get around much anymore.
But a few weeks ago, I was invited to come up and do the Shabbat candle blessing at my synagogue because I published the book. Given my injury, I had to make sure it was ok to even leave the town. (I live in a relatively small city/large town with very little around so I have to tell my lawyer about almost every trip I make in the car and get approval. It’s bonkers.)
I saw some old friends who I adore. I found out one of my best shul friends, Gene, was promoted to the Board of Trustees. I saw my favourite member of my beit din, Rabbi Brad. (Mysterious Beit Din Member Number 3 for those of you who have read the book.)
Several people laughed at the title when it was announced.
Now one person was kind enough to say he was going to buy it for his… I think it was brother in law who was going to convert. Which I really appreciated. I didn’t get his name. This was certainly the first time I knew it was going to go to a member of the target audience. He will probably go Reform I am assuming so some of the book might not apply.
For every person who was interested in talking to me about the book, there was someone who criticized.
One of the people at the Oneg asked if I wrote a book about bacon (which she said with a sneer). I told her it was about conversion, and then she said “We all EAT bacon or at least the majority of us.” I had to remind her that she and whoever she thinks exists are hardly a majority and that I don’t. Then snarkally said “Converts think they are better than us.” I told her, “I get it… no one likes a convert.” Her reply… “Welcome to the damn tribe.” I said I converted 11 years ago but thanks anyway and she stormed off. People can be so mean.
She probably doesn’t even realize that Rabbi Brad doesn’t eat pork (he does eat shellfish but not pork). And in Israel, even the secular Israelis don’t tend to eat it as you may not farm pigs on the land of Israel which makes pork challenging to come by. So no, the majority of Jews do not eat pork.
Conversion, at least mine, took over 16 years to complete. And my dear friend Gene was even longer, though I can’t remember how long, he finished two years after I did if I remember right. Then it took the book 10 years to find a home. I worked hard, and the least someone could do was say “Good Job.”
I’m sure she has not written a book, much less one which has been nominated for three awards so far in it’s one month of existence. (Edit : And 2 hours after the post went live I found out I am on the best sellers list. Jewish Life… kindle.)
I won’t let her bother me anymore I suppose. However, I think this does prove my point for some of the mentions I make in the book about the discrimination from other Jews. It is rough.
In tangentially related news, a handful of reviews have finally started to roll themselves in for the book. So far all 5 stars, but the sample size is 2. Either way, I really feel bad that I am celebrating the book while there is an Israel-Hamas war which started just after it finally was published. I am, even here in Augusta, feeling the effects as my neighbour has already made multiple threats against me.
There is still no news as to the kid.
No news as to if my back will ever be repaired. There is so much I could do if it was and my upcoming events is basically zero. The author copies of the book weighed about 12 lbs for 20 books so if I bought 40 books it would be over my weight limit. Very challenging.