A Druze Woman Who Converted to Judaism: I am a Jew, I am the Daughter of a King
S., a young Druze woman who officially joined the Jewish people, admits: "Judaism is the true religion. I converted, I know that keeping Judaism is not a game, only G-d knows what is in my heart." And she has a message for young Jewish women who fall in love with Arabs: "They want to take revenge on the Jewish people, so they go after Jewish girls. These young women will have a tragic life”
"I'm Jewish, I'm the daughter of a king," says S. in pride mixed with excitement. "After I immersed myself in the ritual bath, I felt the holiness and purity. It feels completely different." She agreed to share her fascinating story with us.
S. is a Druze woman from the north of Israel who chose to join the Jewish people, and recently completed her conversion process. "Since that moment, I am a different woman, stronger and more powerful," she says in an attempt to explain the difference before her conversion and afterwards.
In her modest home two candlesticks stand on the table. They were there before S. completed the conversion process. "I love to light Shabbat candles," she says as she arranges the candlesticks. "My kitchen is also completely kosher," she says. "And before Chanukah I'm planning to light candles and make donuts, although my Spinjes [Moroccan deep fried dough] are really tasty."
Prays to G-d (Illustration: Shutterstock)
S., a young woman in her 30’s, finished a few months ago her conversion process that began five years ago, and since then she conducts herself and lives as a Jew in every respect.
"I'm observant, meticulous about waiting six hours between meat and milk - so I’m certainly a Jew, right?" she asks a question which is more like a statement. When asked why she doesn’t reveal her identity, she immediately says she would rather keep her identity private, because her Druze family does not know anything about the conversion she underwent. "I do not want to hurt my mother. After all, she raised me, and she would take it hard."
So what leads a woman who allegedly has everything, to pick herself up and leave her religion, customs, way of life and family? According to S., she had always felt a little different, especially when she was living among family and acquaintances. After she grew up and became independent, she left her birthplace in the Golan Heights, and moved to a settlement in northern Israel. Contact with Jews and city life led her almost naturally to the decision to convert. She began a process that took her several years, until she finally received the necessary papers and officially joined G-d’s people.
You had it all - what made you take such a move?
"I don’t connect to the Arab mentality," she says frankly, "As for the Druze, I respect my community, but confess that Judaism was the religion that always attracted me. In Judaism, they appreciate everything. And how do I know that? Because they pray for everything that they want. There is no such thing as something without prayer. There is no choice but to reach the conclusion that Judaism is the true religion. There is the holy Shabbat and wonderful holidays. And now I'm getting ready to make Hanukkah donuts. I also really connect to Shabbat."
How does your Shabbat look?
"First of all, Shabbat is a day of rest, a day when one doesn’t work and the house has a pleasant smell of food that I cooked. Of course I set the Shabbat table, and we make Kiddush, and the whole family is united. I light Shabbat candles and pray at the same time — and then everything goes good for me. The truth is that I started to convince my Jewish friends to begin to observe the Shabbat and light candles. I do not understand how they could miss out on this commandment!"
Five years before Shabbat candles shone in her home and the challahs decorated her table, S. was a young Druze who decided one fine day to realize her dream to become a Jew. "The conversion process was very beautiful," she recalls, "The rabbinical judges realized that Judaism was important to me. They kept asking me questions all the time to see if I'm real. They asked me, for example, what blessings I recite, and which commandments I know and fulfill. I told them my answers and they saw I was serious. There are people who despair of the process, perhaps because they are put off by the difficulty, but I went all the way, and I didn’t give up. I understood that they want to see how much I really want to be a Jew. At the end of the process, I had to immerse in the ritual bath, and it was a unique experience. I felt I was going out of it much stronger, full of self-confidence." A Jewish family that S. was often a guest in their home, accompanied her in the process.
"They're wonderful," she says, "I keep asking them questions, and they help me as far as possible. Until today we keep in contact."
How did you go through such a process without telling your family?
"They suspected that I converted, there were all kinds of rumors in the air, and they asked if I converted, but I didn’t tell them. I have a mother who raised me and kind uncles — and I do not want to hurt them. It does not affect me in my life, because we do not live close, and I live my life. I know one thing — I'm at peace with myself. I am part of the Jewish people. I wait six hours between meat and milk, why shouldn’t I feel like a Jew?"
How did you feel, for example, during the Protective Edge Operation?
"I felt very sad. What happened to the bereaved families is painful. I feel pain for the soldiers who died. One cannot trust Arabs, and this is the truth."
S. explains that she prays every day. "I try to pray from a Siddur [Jewish prayer book], but if I don’t manage to, I pray to Hashem in my words. I tell Him, 'G-d help me, watch over us, give us health and strength.’ I know one thing — if I do not pray, nothing works out for me that day, that’s just the way it is. So I pray every day to G-d."
S. has seen the phenomenon of young Jewish women who fall in the net of Arab men. She speaks sharply against the phenomenon: "Arab guys want to take revenge of the Jewish people, so they go after Jewish girls. Unfortunately I know some girls who fell for Arabs. They do not know that these guys are not serious about them, or interested in marrying them, but just to have some fun. Soon after she falls in his net, the guy starts to abuse her. I object strongly to it. I’ve spoken to such girls to explain the situation to them, and hope it will help."
What is your message to people?
"I believe in the religion of Moses and Judaism — and that it is the true religion. I converted, I know it's not a game. Now it's just me and G-d. Only He knows what is in my heart."