Rabbi, this is a personal question. Is it possible for a gentile to be a Jew? This question has a great deal of importance to me. I was raised a catholic but all during my life, I had mostly Jewish friends. I went through all the motions on being a catholic but never really practiced my faith. As I grew to adulthood, I gravitated towards no religion and felt lost. My best friends who are Jewish joke with me about how I am a “better” Jew than they are. I have worked for a Jewish Day School in the secular department for the past eight years and as soon as I started working there, I loved my job and always felt like I was home. I learned so much and became overwhelmed with the wonderfulness and prayers that we said during school. I have become voracious about wanting to know more and find that my interests lean towards reading all books about Israel and the Jewish people. I feel it in my heart and soul when I hear our students saying their brachas and singing to Hashem. I really cannot explain how much it means to me nor how important it is to me to follow the Jewish religion. I recently had an experience that I must explain. I had an animal that is very close to me get very sick and thought that if I said a prayer it would help. I tried to say a Catholic prayer but I just could not - no explanation. I did though pray to Hashem to give me the wisdom to handle the situation and I knew that this was to be. My heart felt at peace. I am afraid that I am not making myself very clear but hope that you, Rabbi in your wisdom can see to my heart and help me answer my question. The one thing that I neglected to tell you is that I was adopted at the age of two. I was born after the war ended and they told me that I am 59 years old (born October 1946). I was put up for adoption by Catholic Charities that is why I was raised Catholic. Is it possible that not all Jews are born as Jews?
Hello, I live approximately 65 miles away from where I work. I do this commute about twice a week - sometimes more, sometimes less and I tele-commute the rest of the days. What is the Halacha with respect to saying Birkat Haderekh and Birkat Ha-Gomel (i.e. how often if at all I need to say them)? If there is a difference between Ashkenazi or Sephardic Halacha, I would appreciate the Sephardic version. Thank you very much.
What is the best way to clean a new shofar that has a fairly strong scent. I am afraid vinegar may hurt it. I also am not sure how long I can soak it. I do not want to dishonor the shofar but need to minimize the smell. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.