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Subject:  Re: Ramadan Date:  7/23/2012  2:07 PM
Author:  dovbaer6 Number:  1643 of 1674

That's an amazing story Dov, care to share more?

Hope everyone is having a good fast.


my daughter has a Jewish father and a Catholic mother. Her mom was not nearly as attached to her religious identity as I was, so we decided to give my daughter (and son) a Jewish education. They both went to Hebrew school and were both B'nai Mitzvah around 15 years ago. We were in a Reconstructionist congregation.

These days, Reconstructionists have 'tightened up' on that kind of thing, and it is harder to find a Reconstructionist Rabbi who will Bar Mitzvah someone who'se mother isn't Jewish, but back then you could find it.

My daughter was pretty studious, and when the time came, she read from the Torah in front of 100+ friends and family.

But like many (including me) after the Bas Mitzvah she went secular, and liked to party and have fun. She graduated high school and became a waitress. She was VERY independant, moved out, made her own money and lived her own life. She told me many times she didn't feel she was Jewish (funny though, now that she has converted to Islam she tells me she feels MORE Jewish).

Eventually she went back to college and got her Bachelors. She kept waitressing, but decided she wanted to go into 'International Relations' for her career. The joke in my family is that Pilar likes to travel, so she's trying to make that into her career.

After her degree (2 years ago) she took a certification course in English as a second language, and decided she would go teach in South Korea. She got some nibbles from some private schools in Seoul. She had saved some money and decided to go on a trip. Now you have to understand that this young woman has travelled around the world and seen more countries by the time she was 25 than most folks will see in a lifetime.

So, she went to India for three weeks to do Yoga at the foothills of the Himilayas in Rishikesh where the Beatles met Maharaji Mahesh Yogi. She loved the Yoga but didn't like India so much. Then she went on to Dubai and then Jordan. She told me she felt much safer in the Arab countries than she did in India, interestingly enough.

She didn't like Dubai very much but she absolutely fell deeply in love with Jordan. She stayed there for a week and made a number of friends. There are lots of young people in Jordan who long to be westerners, or who feel sympathetic to the west and absolutely hate the Al Queda types, and hate the Mullahs of Iran. That's the crowd she fell in with.

I spoke to several of her new friends via Skype, including a young woman who just graduated from a Jordanian law school and landed an job with a local law firm, and several other young professionals. All lovely young adults, friendly, respectful to me .... and they seemed to adore Pilar.

She then went on to Israel for a few days. She loves Israel too. She did the birthright program when she was around 25 and made lots of friends there too.

Then she came back home and told me she wanted to get a job in Jordan instead of Korea, and that her new friends would help her. I was skeptical, but she actually did land a job teaching third grade at a private school in Amman.

She worked there for a year, and then landed another job (that starts in 3 weeks) with another private school in Amman that is far more prestigious than the first, so she is building her resume for international relations. She is studying Arabic and is almost fluent in speaking, and is working hard to be fluent in writing.

In the year she has been there, she met a young man and they started dating. I've spoken to him and written with him several times, he is a very nice young man and he treats Pilar, as far as I can see, with love and respect. He is also a devout Muslim. Now, he is not a conservative fundamentalist, he hates those people and feel they are destroying Islam. But he does love his religion, he does pray 5 times a day, he does try to keep to Islamic guidelines.

So, now we have a young couple who are seemingly in love who come from backgrounds that couldnt be more different. A Jewish-Catholic American girl with tatoos, an urban attitude, and a fun loving orientation and a local Arab-Muslim boy who hasn't really been more than 50 miles from his home (she's actually seen more of Jordan than he has).

The time bomb here is that he really can't marry a non-Muslim girl. So there relationship has had this Sword of Damocles aspect to it.

She may have been afraid of losing him, and she would have, to both their regrets. So, she started studying Islam with a convert who lives in Amman and after several months, decided that Islam spoke to her. She said the prayer, in Arabic, in front of witnesses, and the deed was done.

Interestingly enough, the prayer is almost identical to the Shema prayer.

Anyway, she says she converted because she felt that she was lead to Islam and that it resonated with her. She is 30 years old now, and she has to decide these things for herself. For me, it's a little bit coincidental that she converted around the time that her relationship with Feras became problematic because she wasnt Muslim. But we all know that all religions tell potential converts not to go into the religion to please a potential spouse. If you do that, what is your attachment to that religion going to be over time?

probably not very strong.

So, I challenged her on that but she claims that she really feels the 'call'.

So .... there are many things I haven't said .... her mother came to visit her and they spent two weeks together in Jordan and Israel. there are stories about going through Israeli security from Jordan into Israel, as an American girl with a Jewish father who is a convert to Islam who has her passport stamped with Egyptian, Lebanese, Jordanian, Dubai visas .... her visit to the Al Aqsa mosque where the Muslim authorities didn't believe this tall American red head was a Muslim, until she recited the prayer to them in Arabic .... and then they allowed her to come in and told her mother she could come in too ... visiting with an Israeli friend who spent years in the IDF ....

For me, well, I married outside the faith (although my second wife is Jewish) and therefore my kids are not considered Jewish by maybe 80% of world Jewry .... but I would be a liar if I didn't admit to some sadness about it.

But, people will do what they will, including my daughter, and I just hope that if this remains her choice, she is doing it for the right reasons and it brings some kind of fullfillment to her life.

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