My husband was packing the car, and I was organizing what papers I wanted to take to the beach when the doorbell rang. I opened the door to find Gugu, my husband’s cousin through marriage. “Wish me mazel tov,” she exclaimed, “I became a Jew and an American this week.”

My husband comes from a large family, and many of them are based in the Washington, D.C. area. We are very close to my husband’s extended family, and spend quite a bit of time with them, especially around the holidays.

We were very excited when Gugu and her husband Josh moved to the D.C. area two years ago. We invited them to join us for holidays, and they have been coming ever since. With each Jewish holiday that we celebrated together, I noticed Gugu’s increased interest In Judaism.  She began to attend Shabbat services, and started taking classes with Rabbi Shira Stutman. At this year’s Seder I noticed how knowledgeable Gugu had become–she asked questions, shared her curiosity about aspects of the narrative being told, and was a full participant in the Seder.  In fact, she and Josh were the star performers at the table!

Gugu completed her course of study with Rabbi Stutman, and had her formal conversion at the mikveh in Adas Israel Congregation on June 17, 2013. Three rabbis accompanied her, and she described the experience as meaningful and thrilling.

Gugu is a remarkable woman. She was born and raised in Zimbabwe, and now is a lawyer residing in Washington, D.C. When she married Josh, a Jewish man from an interfaith family, she did not shy away from Judaism–she embraced it! We are so delighted that Gugu has found Judaism, and we can’t wait to celebrate many more Jewish holidays with her!