Archive | August, 2013
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John Propper’s Path to Judaism, Part 2

When my wife’s grandfather immigrated to the U.S., he took the name Propper, a shortening of his birth name. He’d escaped the pogroms, and the future was bright. As an American Jew, he was a respected member of his communities, both religious and secular. He made the most of his great potential. His story resonates with me. After years in an isolated community, I escaped, got an education, fell in love, discovered Judaism, and found a place of my own. The future is bright. I wanted to pass on a name to my children, b’ezrat Hashem [God willing], that reflects that potential. I am honored to share it with him.
John's answer to my question about changing his last name

The second half of my two-part interview with my friend, former colleague and all-around interesting dude John Propper is now up at the Jewish Outreach Institute blog. When he started working for me at New Voices he went by John Wofford. I got into the habit of calling him just “Wofford,” which has made adjusting to his new last name particularly difficult for me. But I love his reason for it! Check out the rest of part 2 over here or go back and catch up on part 1.

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A Rabbinate-Bound Convert’s Story

He comes from a Pentecostal family, went to a Catholic college, converted with a Reform rabbi, changed his last name, married into the interfaith family of a nice Jewish girl—and he’ll be a first-year student at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in the fall. John is a good friend of mine. Until now, I’ve been learning his story in bits and pieces. So, to get a more complete picture—and believing readers of this blog would find his journey as interesting as I do—I interviewed him about his story so far.
Part one of my two-part interview with John Propper for the Jewish Outreach Institute Blog

Check it out. It’s my second blog post for the Jewish Outreach Institute. This one is the first part of a two-parter so stay tuned for second half.

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Patrilineality & My New Job

My non-Jewish roommates were confused by the idea that I would “convert” to Judaism. “From what?” Brent asked. It was a fair question. Jon seconded: “Yeah, if you’re not Jewish now, what are you?” There was no easy answer. My first attempt at answering them – I launched into a preamble about my half-baked idea of drawing a distinction between “converting” and “undergoing a conversion” – didn’t help much.
My first blog post for the Jewish Outreach Institute

Better late than never, right? I’m finally getting around to pointing y’all toward this now weeks-old blog post, the first of my monthly blog posts for the Jewish Outreach Institute. (As you may recall, I recently started a new job at JOI.) If you’ve read the op-ed I wrote for The Forward about the Conservative conversion I underwent a while back, this post will cover some familiar ground — but from a different perspective and for a different purpose.

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