Patricia and Justin McCammon to complete beit din and mikveh, join UHC as new members

United Hebrew Congregation will formally welcome its newest members on Friday, Jan. 20, when Patricia and Justin McCammon emerge from the mikveh and complete their conversions to Judaism.

Justin and Patricia, who have been together for 13 years and will celebrate their 11th wedding anniversary in June, entered formal study with Rabbi Jordana Chernow-Reader of Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation and appeared before a rabbinic court, known as a beit din, on January 5.

We present Patricia’s and Justin’s beit din essays here.

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The greater Jewish story is now Justin’s story

By Justin McCammon

If there is something greater than ourselves, what is it? How do we fit into the ever-changing world that surrounds us?

How can an individual find peace of mind, a center, a foundation from which to build and grow when they have no established place?

These questions went through my mind as I sought the answers over my life’s course. This is a journey that encompasses personal beliefs, as well as causes one to question what they feel they already know.

It is a search that led me to a place of comfort and peace within the synagogue, a place of learning, of prayer and of community.

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Committed: Patricia’s journal captures her surprising journey to Judaism

By Patricia McCammon

While I considered this essay, my mind kept going in different directions.

I wanted to be heartfelt without sounding cliche. After typing, erasing, re-typing and re-erasing, it hit me: I’ve already written my essay.

I opened my journal and read through entries made over the past three years. While reading, I went from laughing hysterically to bewilderment.

I had forgotten how little I knew about Judaism or how ignorant I was to antisemitic conceptions and remarks. I also noticed trauma responses left by religious organizations present themselves as ignorance, obscenities and absolutes.

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Resolve to seek balance and approach the (secular) New Year with trust and kindness

By Student Rabbi Rocki Schy

Preparing for the secular New Year is wildly different than preparing for the Jewish New Year — even down to the time of year!

Rosh Hashanah occurs when the summer months wane and give way to the crispness of autumn. We find some relief from the heat, and head into the new season with our souls renewed.

Secular New Year, on the other hand, comes at the darkest point of the year. The days get shorter and the nights grow darker, and it seems the slog of winter will never end.

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