Tuesday, October 24, 2006


We're heading down to Eilat this weekend on a company vacation for some fun in the sun.

A couple years ago we had 2 russian girls in the "convert the soldiers" program who came to us for a number of shabboses. One of them seemed pretty serious about asked a lot of questions. She said she was planning on maintaining a kesher with us after she converted so she could continue to grow and learn. The other one was interested but was not as exuberant about it. I went to Jerusalem and testified at the beis din and both girls converted. The one who seemed more interested called us once afterwards to come for shabbos, but we weren't home that weekend. I called her a couple of times to see how she was doing, but she never called back when I left messages. After about half a year, I stopped calling.

The girl, Olga, had to pick a Jewish name and she told us that she was thinking of Osher. I thought that "Wealth" was a very odd choice of name. She asked me if I had heard the name before or if it was in the Torah at all. I told her the word was in the Torah, though I had never heard of the name before. The pasuk I showed her was "Wealth and honor are in front of you, and you rule all." She started laughing and told me it was Osher with an aleph, not an ayin, which means happiness. I thought it was a much better choice of a name after learning this.

Olga/Osher was on an army base near Eilat which was her excuse for not coming up the 6 hours to visit us for shabbos afterwards. I am pretty sure she still lives there and I'm thinking of giving her a call to see if she's available to stop by the hotel. I am curious to see if any of the religion soaked in or if the whole thing was just a scam. The girl's father was Jewish and she was persecuted in Russia for being Jewish and she came to Israel to find out that she wasn't really Jewish, even though she felt a complete connection to the Jewish people. She also went through all the effort to learn the laws and try to become a real part of klal yisroel.

I still haven't decided if it is a complete failure if she is not religious or if it is any worse then being a non-religious Jew.


Rolling hills of green said...

you don't think she would be done with the army by now?

rockofgalilee said...

She would be done with the army, but she had an apartment in Eilat and I am pretty sure she was planning on staying.

Anonymous said...

I think that after Moshiach comes the self-identified-Jews-who-are- not-really-Jewish will be given an easy shot for a real conversion. I just think they are in a different category than a regular non-Jew.

I know someone who is a very observant Conservative Jewish convert. Her husband, who is Jewish by birth hates Judaism and wants nothing to do with it. She however is very involved.So while my guess is her conversion was not kosher, I just have to believe that these people will be given a special place after Moshiach comes.