I was raised as an every-Sunday Christian. My family had Jewish friends, and we were often invited to Seders and other Jewish holiday celebrations in their homes. I was fascinated by the Hebrew alphabet, by the elaborate rituals, and by the idea that there was a separate group of people in our community who were in so many ways familiar, yet had such a different orientation from ours.
The more I learned about Judaism, the more the idea of converting took root. At 31, I made the leap and joined the Jewish people.
I attended Parsons School of Design, which is around the corner from CSFA. I would often pass by the little building, and took an interest in what went on there. One Friday evening, about a year after my conversion, I stopped in for services. I was very happy with what I found. The extensive use of Hebrew, the small size of the congregation, and the warm welcome members extended to me really helped me grow Jewishly. Soon thereafter I became a member, and have belonged to CSFA now for over 20 years.
I learned to read Torah and chant Haftarot, and became a regular Shabbat leyner (Torah-reader). I subsequently helped teach others to leyn. I've also studied Talmud at CSFA, and have served as a board member and officer over the years.
I have found that, especially in our modern world, when everyone is so busy and social media can split us apart , the value of this supportive religious community cannot be overstated.