Student Experiences

“The JBC program gave me not only a thorough introduction to the many aspects of Jewish life and practice, but also a comfortable space to talk through the questions I asked as I considered a Jewish identity. Through this program, I learned how valuable it is to work through spiritual challenges with the help of others. Most importantly, the JBC program provided a launching point for becoming connected to individuals, programs, and services in the Anshe Emet community. Even after the program ended, that sense of connection has made me feel part of the community.” 

Carrie Caine
2014/5774 JBC Graduate

“After several years of being involved in Jewish activities and worship, in the fall of 2013, I decided it was time to begin the formal conversion process. The year before starting the JBC classes, I started taking the Florence Melton Adult Jewish Learning courses, and I was able to combine those classes with the JBC Saturday morning class to create a program that was unique, but fit my needs. Through my time in the course, I grew in my understanding of Jewish life and observance, and today find my spiritual home in both the Anshe Emet and Mishkan communities where I’m involved not only in worship, but also in outreach and leadership roles. The JBC program helped me to turn my Jewish flame into a full fire.” 

Christine Cook
2014/5774 JBC Graduate

“I would describe my experience in the JBC program at Anshe Emet as memorable and transformational. From my very first day at Anshe Emet through the year that lead up to my trip to the mikvah, the JBC program immersed me in a community that was welcoming and supportive. Our program director, Cantor Liz, served as a phenomenal mentor and was instrumental to the success of my journey.

My experience in the JBC program was wonderful because it allowed me to become a member of Jewish community through different events and programs. Anshe Emet was more than a venue for religious worship, it became a community center for me where I would spend several days a week. I felt an instant connection with my classmates, and Cantor Liz played a significant role in fostering and supporting those relationships. From Hebrew lessons with Miron, Monday night insight from Rabbi Futterman, and the Shabbat morning classes I learned so much over the past year! I miss spending my time at Anshe Emet, and if not for my upcoming move to Michigan, I would continue to be there every week.

The support I received from the people at Anshe Emet through the JBC program helped me find my path and define my Jewish identity. It means so much to me to be a graduate of the JBC program. I believe that participating in the program gave me the skills and knowledge that I need to continue to pursue my Jewish education. I wouldn’t change a thing about my experience in the JBC program, and would recommend Anshe Emet as a spiritual home to anyone who is considering a conversion to Judaism.” 

Kaitrin Baloue
2012/5772 JBC Graduate

“My experience with the Anshe Emet Synagogue Jews by Choice (JBC) program has been life-changing. I preferred a classroom setting (as opposed to individual study) because it would give me the chance to interact with fellow students during class and also create a sense of solidarity with other people going through the same journey. Becoming a Jew can be a daunting and sometimes overwhelming process, but sharing this journey with others helps everyone feel connected and part of a family. Hearing each other’s stories and our diverse life experiences helped me realize I could do this, and that I had made the right choice, both in becoming a Jew and in joining the AES Jews by Choice program.

The curriculum is demanding and interesting – there is no time for boredom here. There is a lot of reading, which I loved, but also a lot of sharing during class and during the various field trips we took. We learn about fun Jewish holidays but also about painful moments in Jewish history. We were asked by Liz from the very beginning to give the D’var Torah in front of our fellow classmates, which meant sharing what the week’s Torah portion meant to us and how we could apply it to our daily lives. Liz coached us in how to do this, but by standing up and sharing Torah, we made it our own. It was a very rewarding experience.

I looked forward to every Shabbat class session and attending services afterward. It felt good to apply my newly learned Jewish skills and knowledge during services and in my day-to-day living. The weekly Jewish Heritage and Hebrew classes were also extremely interesting and helpful. The AES rabbis are great teachers!

The JBC coordinator, as well as the AES rabbis, were always available for clarifications and further study on specific topics. There was no judgment and we were always made to feel very comfortable asking questions and participating in class.

All in all, I feel that the AES JBC program has given me a firm foundation on which to continue building a Jewish life, and this is a never-ending process because we never stop learning and growing as Jews. And I am ready to continue learning and growing, now that I am a Jew, thanks to Hashem and the Anshe Emet JBC program.” 

Rick Rivera
2012/5772 JBC Graduate