sofia, bulgaria…
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Central Sofia Sephardic Synagogue
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Beit Midrash
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Main Sanctuary
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Ari & Gabi
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Rabbis Ari Zivotofsky, Josh Amster, and Alan Greenspan in Sofia
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Chupa set up in front of the Aharon Kodesh
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Bet Din
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Applying to the Bet Din for Giyur
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Bet Din 2
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Bet Din 3
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Sofia Central Synagogue
Keren/Tania - In Her Own Words
David Willner Talks With Julia Dandalova, Director of the Joint Distribution Committee office in Bulgaria.
David Willner and Ari Greenspan - Talk With Tania
Why I want to convert to Judaism?

Converting to Judaism is not an easy path as I’ve been told by many, nevertheless at a somehow fragile age I decided to take upon this interesting journey. It all began about three years ago when I felt somehow incomplete somehow I was not everything I could be, but there was something other than a person or a thing that brought balance to my existence, brought balance to my eagerness for knowledge. That was Judaism- fascinated by its power to combine religion, knowledge and lifestyle I could easily see a lot of my personal views manifested 2000 years ago by various wise man.

For example I always thought that charity is a nice thing, but wouldn’t It be better if you help the man to get back on his feet- turns out someone said that a lot before I even thought about it. Hence for the last year with the help of many I have been swimming in an ocean trying to find my way by putting together all the pieces so it would all make sense, I do see that I might not be worthy of reaching a high level of Jewish knowledge but I am willing to put everything in it, everything I must like I did until now.

You know how people ask you why do you love your wife, give me ten reasons. And you start with the clichés like she has amazing eyes, she is always there for me, but deep down you know that the one reason you decided to spend your life with that person and devote to him is the warmness and calmness and fulfillment you feel when they are around you. And this is the reason why I want to convert I find Judaism completing and fulfilling and I am willing to devote my life to it.

You may ask do you understand the seriousness of becoming Jewish, do you know that you might be prosecuted and hated, I do understand that it is actually a lot harder in my opinion to be a converted Jew, because people will hate you for your own choices and not for your origins.

The times for prayer I find as times for balancing with your inner self and finding answers to your inner doubts. What I believe is that G-d will be there to protect me, therefor I needn’t be afraid of mortal people and their behavior towards me. If I was I wouldn’t be studying in the Jewish school or take a somewhat important position in a well known Jewish organization.

The times of celebrations I find as times in which G-d shall be praised for all I have is all that he has given me and all that I have deserved in his opinion. Probably one day G-d will take someone I love, but I will not be sad that I had lost someone, rather grateful that G-d gave me the opportunity to meet them and have them as my companion in life, like conversion life is not a safe journey but in the end what I will feel and have accomplished with the help of G-d I will be thankful for. Conversion is a path, a long road that will not end with this exam, the same I think about Jews with origins who have decided to take upon Jewish studies. I do have inner doubts about myself and whether I am worthy of becoming a converted Jew, I can not find answers in prayers or books about whether I am good enough, the answers I find in prayers are to never give up, maybe not now, maybe never, but my love for G-d and Judaism can not be easily crushed.

I heard also that I could pick a Jewish name I was really torn about my decision and then I decided to look what my name means for Judaism I knew there was a book called Tania but I had no clue what was it about, then I read that the book is about identity crisis, some days there is nothing more important than studying the Torah, some days there is nothing more important than a good steak. The Tanya helps you with that gap of what is your purpose and how to handle yourself. No name could fit me better and what my dream is, I saw that the Tanya combines what want to be and the religion I have chosen I believe this is no coincidence.

Keren (Tania) Lessenska - Sofia, Bulgaria, January 2013