Yosef K: My Conversion with Rabbi Gavriel Cohen 2007-2008

Yosef K. writes:

I grew up in a Muslim family from Iran. Half of my life I lived in Kuwait, and the other half I was in the US. Even though my father comes from a very religious Muslim family, He did not raise me that religious. As I got older, I desperately needed G-d in my life and a guide, a way to live life in a righteous way. So I decided to become a religious Muslim, but some things didn’t make sense to me, so I started my search for something true to me and that quenched the thirst my soul had.
I always had an unexplainable interest in Jewish history and Israel, even while I lived in Kuwait. It took several years though for me to realize that I wanted to convert to Judaism. One day in college, I asked if I could accompany a Jewish friend to Shabbat services and dinner at the college Chabad house out of curiosity. As soon as the Kabbalat service began, I felt like my soul had finally found its home and I decided that night that I had to become Jewish. Although I thought that my journey for truth had ended, a new journey had just begun. I did a lot of reading on my own and I spoke to different Rabbis about conversion. I heard several horror stories about conversion from others who had gone through it – from the length of the process to the very impersonal behavior of the Rabbi and the superficial learning. I was very apprehensive but I was determined, nothing and no one would be on my way to reach the true identity of my soul.
Then I found Rabbi Gavriel Cohen of the Beit Din of Beverly Hills. The connection was immediate. He questioned me and he seemed to be pleased and was very accepting. It took a little over a year of intense learning in which he did not only make sure I knew the basic things, but he would take my knowledge of Halakha to the next level, needless to say I was always looking forward to our learning time it was both refreshing and exciting.
Rabbi Cohen was so humble in the way he treated me. He always listened carefully and not once he put me down for not knowing or for any reason whatsoever. I remember him as one of the most righteous people in the way he treats people with respect and tries his best not to humiliate them.
I’m forever grateful to Rabbi Cohen. Converting to Judaism has been so far the most important decision I’ve made in my life, it has transformed me in ways I never thought could be possible. It’s made me a much better person, and the husband and father that I always wanted to be. I’ve been able to turn every hardship that has come on my way or problems into life changing opportunities, because among the many things with I learned with Rabbi Cohen is that life is what we make of it.

After marrying, my family and I moved to Mexico for several years, we made a small Jewish community there, I was the chazan and the baal koreh. My wife created a preschool for Jewish studies for the children of the community. We are now living in San Diego, I go to Kollel twice a week, and am studying at an online Yeshiva. Also, we are currently preparing to make Aliyah in 2016 B’ezrat Hashem.

I wish everyone would have a great experience like I did with Rav Cohen, and the strong moral and knowledgeable background He provided for me. Because when someone like him holds you to a high standard, you can’t help but strive to be better every step of the way.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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