In Modern Hebrew, ger refers to a convert to Judaism.
Last week I went to synagogue for the first time. Last night I went again. I’ve never felt so connected to a group of people I would never expect to meet normally. The feeling I get when walking into the synagogue is incredible, I almost feel as though I am starting my life again.
The main reason I’ve wanted to convert is when I was doing research into my family history I found 3 members of my family were put in a camp in the Shoah(holocaust) because they were Jewish. After doing some research into the religion I realized this was the religion that I felt most at home with. So after years of research and thinking about it I called my local synagogue and asked about conversion. They were so helpful and told me to just come to Shabbat service regularly for a year before I can convert. So that week I came to the service and spoke to people and everyone was so nice about me being there and so helpful and showed me what to do during the service.
Last night I spoke to the Rabbi doing the service (a different one to last time, we have foster Rabbis there not a permanent one) and one of the ladies in the congregation who explained to me that the reason that I have to attend service regularly for a year before starting conversion is because they need to see I’m serious about converting. They gave me loads of information about and told me about why we do different things during the service. They were really nice and comforting when I told them about my Granny Smith passing away last week. The lady I told first said ‘I wish you long life’ which is perhaps one of my favorite traditions, wishing a mourner long life. I’ve read that it is an elegant way of saying “hang in there, you will get through this immense pain and you will live to discover comfort and even joy again”. (https://www.thejc.com/judaism/rabbi-i-have-a-problem/should-i-wish-an-old-person-in-mourning-a-long-life-1.37943)
After the service we all have a brew and a chat and they encourage me to ask them questions, because as Jews we are always learning and questioning everything, the quote they gave was ‘You’ll never have finished learning.’ Next week I’ll definitely go with some questions ready and prepared, and hopefully I’ll learn more all the time.