Daniel Ventresca was always a religious person, even as a young child. The problem was that he grew up in the wrong religion. Raised as a Roman Catholic by his Italian immigrant parents, he tried very hard to be the best religious person he could be. He tried to understand the somewhat difficult concepts in Catholicism specifically and Christianity generally but kept running into dead ends. Things just didn`t seem to make sense. It just wasn`t adding up.
Later, in his teen years, he became a born-again Christian but still encountered the same theological stumbling blocks. He eventually abandoned Christianity but not his belief in and love for G-d.
As a young adult, he began learning about Judaism. This, he felt, was a much better fit. Judaism provided all the answers for which he had been searching all his life. He eventually converted… 3 times – once Conservative and twice Orthodox. Find out how and why as you listen to Daniel tell of his journey from disillusioned Catholic to passionate Jew.
● GLOSSARY OF TERMS: A translation of Hebrew and Yiddish expressions used by Daniel Ventresca in his lecture “From Disillusioned Catholic to Passionate Jew”[02:47] Har Sinai = Mount Sinai [03:21] Beis Din = Rabbinical Court [09:45] Tanakh = Hebrew Scriptures (Hebrew bible) [10:05] Yeshivah = Jewish educational institution for men [10:10] Mishnah and Gemara: Mishnah is the original written version of the Oral Law. The Gemara is a commentary on the Mishnah. The Mishnah and the Gemara together form the Talmud. [10:12] Haftarah = a series of selections from the books of Nevi`im (“Prophets”) of the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) that are publicly read in synagogue as part of Jewish religious practice. There usually is a conceptual connection between the them of the Torah reading and that of the Haftarah. [14:58] Sephardi = Sephardic Jews are from the areas around the Mediterranean Sea, including Portugal, Spain, the Middle East and Northern Africa. [16:16] Shul = synagogue [17:49] Olav HaSholom = “peace be upon him”; said of someone who is deceased. [22:12] Ketuba = Jewish marriage contract. [22:25] Geirus = Jewish conversion [22:53] Giyur Lechumra = This is done when the assumption is that perhaps the person is already a Jew, but since some doubts have arisen, a Jewish court (Beis Din) will decide if giyur lechumra has to be done to remove any doubts about the person`s Jewishness. [24:12] Davening = praying [24:33] Mikvah = Jewish ritual bath. Immersion in a mikvah is required as part of the conversion process. [25:31] Breslover Chasid = a Hasidic follower of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov
● JEWS FOR JUDAISM is an outreach organization whose primary goal is to win back to Judaism those Jews who have been influenced by the following six threats to Jewish survival that are devastating the global Jewish community.
1. Hebrew-Christian missionaries convert thousands of Jews worldwide every year
2. Destructive cults cause many Jews to abandon family, friends and careers
3. Eastern religions, Buddhism and Hinduism are spiritual choices for many Jews
4. Apathy and ignorance leave many Jews unaware, unaffiliated and assimilated
5. Intermarriage is exploding with a 75% rate in some North American cities
6. Anti-Israel BDS on campus inhibits Jewish students from standing up for Israel and Judaism
To assist non-Jews who have left other religions, JEWS FOR JUDAISM also provides educational programs to help them embrace the Torah’s Seven Noachide Laws for Gentiles.
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