That Shavuos eve I was unable to fall asleep. I suddenly felt as if my eyes had been opened. There was a living G-d and His word was the living Torah. Yes, I felt it in my bones, in my heart. Everything was so clear, all of a sudden, and I was determined to convert to Judaism, just like Ruth the Moabite.
It was a long process. The Beis Din rejected me four times but each time it only strengthened my determination. Then, finally, they approved my request. My joy would have been complete if only Elad had been alive, but I knew that he had believed in me. Truly, it was thanks to him that I began the process and that I persevered.
Before he died, Elad asked his parents to accompany me to the chupah.
When Avigayil told us her story, she was still single, and skeptical that anyone would want to marry her. A few months later, I went to visit my grandmother, who has a fund for needy brides, including converts. She told me about a very sweet kallah who had come to her that week, a Chinese giyoress, engaged to a Romanian ger tzeddek. She showed me the short autobiography Avigayil had written. Now I knew immediately that Avigayil’s third wish had finally come true.
So what does Torah mean to me, a girl from a religious family? I realize that it spans continents, spans centuries of time and encompasses everything under the sun. It means that I must embrace this truth, like Avigayil, and dedicate myself to finding my own particular mission in life.
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Participating in ManiCures during the school day may feel like a break from learning, but the intended message to the students was loud and clear. Learning and chesed come in all forms, and can be fun.