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Team HaShem TeShuva Story!

Growing up as a typical secular Jew, celebrating the high holidays, my father doing Kiddush on Shabbat followed by a movie, TV or video games, and the family going out to eat at the cheesecake factory once in a while, I was never aware of the true importance of what being Jewish actually means. Nobody ever told me. It also didn’t help that I was born and raised in San Francisco, attended a public school and followed the ways of the goyim.

When I was 18 years old my parents decided to move to Miami. After being convinced by my older brother, who was attending college in Florida at the time, that there is a bigger Jewish population out here in Florida vs San Francisco. I hated the idea at the time because I was very comfortable and “happy” with my life in California. But of course I had no choice, so we moved.

My older brother and sister were getting stronger in Judaism trying to get me involved with Rabbis and synagogues and going to events and Shabbatons etc. I had a little more of an idea of what the life of a Jew consisted of. However, I still retained my secularism, still no one told me that I had to change in any way. So I continued on as usual.

I started making new friends, some Jewish, some not, still living the secular life, not keeping Shabbat or kosher. I started putting on Tefillin but if I missed a day it wasn’t the end of the world. As time went by I met my girlfriend of almost a year. A non-Jew.

One day I came to my sister’s house and she was listening to a Rabbi on YouTube. I asked her who that was and what was he saying. She told me his name is Rabbi Mizrachi. She advised me to listen to his lecture. The lecture was called “The Streets Are Full of Israeli Blood”. I started listening and I was hooked. One lecture after another. It felt like an addiction. Once in a while he would raise his voice and send a shiver down my spine. He would explain the importance of Judaism and how one who doesn’t keep Shabbat is considered a goy and has NO SHARE IN THE WORLD TO COME! I was in shock. I knew I had to change. My first thought was: how do I tell my girlfriend?

I wanted to start keeping Shabbat and make big changes in my life to become more observant in Judaism. I built up the courage to tell her. One day driving home I called her and told her that I wanted to start keeping Shabbat. She had no idea what I was talking about. With my little knowledge, I proceeded to explain that I can’t drive, can’t light fire, I have to have a few meals, etc. She agreed and thought that it didn’t sound too bad. So we would “keep Shabbat” in our way leaving the TV on and eating cold food. Only issue left was she still wasn’t Jewish.

One of the lectures that I stumbled upon B”H was The Debate where Rabbi Mizrachi debates a Christian professor. I knew I had to present this to her. One evening I go to her place and tell her about this interesting debate between a Rabbi and a Christian. She was open to it. The first time we watched it, she fell asleep. I was nervous. I thought she didn’t find it interesting and I started to get worried. The next day we tried again, this time she watched the whole thing. She thought it was very interesting and that the Rabbi had good points and questions regarding things that the new testament says. I said, Great! Now part 2 and 3…

After a while of lectures, we knew that it was going to be impossible for us to continue being together unless she converts. We came across a lecture where Rabbi Mizrachi had a guest speaker. He introduced his guest, Rabbi Yaron Reuven. He resided in Boca Raton, 15 min away from where she lived. He said that he had lectures at his place every Tuesday evening at 9 PM. We emailed him letting him know that we will be attending and that we would like to talk after. We were both nervous to stay after the lecture and approach the Rabbi regarding the situation. I was particularly nervous that he would tell us that the conversion process was going to take a few years or even worse that we could no longer be together. He informed us of what we needed to do during the conversion/Teshuva process. We learned about shomer negiyah, how to pray, keeping kosher, we learned that we can no longer go to certain places that we used to go i.e bars and lounges etc. As time went on we started learning, I bought myself a Shulchan Aruch, Tehillim, Chumash, I even went out and purchased my first Masechet Berachot. She was taking on modesty, listening to lectures, learning Chumash and the Jewish holidays, halachot, etc. After a few months of intense learning, I knew she was going to be my wife. Next thing we know we are at the Bet Din in New York with Rabbi Eliyahu Ben Haim. After the successful completion of her conversion we flew back to Florida that same day. A month and a half later we had a kosher chuppah and wedding, officially moved in together and started a new life together as observant Jews.

Baruch HaShem now I am learning Gemara, Halachot, Mussar and Parashat Shavua daily under Rabbi Reuven’s supervision. The way we were led to Rabbi Mizrachi, then Rabbi Reuven, and the Siyata Dishmaya we had throughout the whole processes, it is impossible not to see HaShem’s hand in it all. We are extremely grateful for these amazing Rabbis and their holy work that save countless families all over the world, including ours. Be’Ezrat HaShem they will continue to save souls on a global scale and together as righteous Jews we will merit to hasten the Geula and see Mashiach speedily in our days!

Sunny Gigi

BH Films & Digital Media

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