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A Make-Shift Sukkah!

X-posted from shiksajourney 

Chag Sameach to you all! :)

My Reform Fella and I weren't planning on being able to do much for the Sukkah festivities this year. We're heading to Cancun, Mexico for our Honeymoon this year on the tail-end of this week, and just have not had time
to put together the Sukkah. We were invited by my super-duper Rabbi to go her Sukkah that she and her wife are hosting at their farm, but it's behind held the day we fly out to Mexico. So we figured we would just have to do it next year.

Low and behold, my Mom calls me  on Sunday morning and asks if we wanted to do Sukkah in her and my dad's giant wooden gazebo in their yard! Now there are several things that are odd and random about this:

#1-My mom isn't Jewish

#2-her gazebo does not really techincally count as a sukkah on ALL counts

#3-How did she even know when Sukkah was?!!

She knew because she grew up in a very Jewish neighborhood in Jersey and had been to many Sukkot gatherings. She loves the holiday! :)

So tonight we ate ate wonderful food, said prayers and blessings with the willow, the citrus, and etc, we talked about Jewish history and enjoyed just being a family together. My husband's father was there, my parents were there and we had a lovely, cool Autumn Sukkot evening.

It may not have been EXACTLY what is required of Sukkot, but it was what is necessary in the heart and and for the spirit. We had dinner by candlelight (no electricity!), we had kosher food, and we had multicultural bonds to be made :)

I love being a Jew :)


From my Shiksajourney Journal

It has been forever since I have posted in here, and I feel shamed for it. Rosh Hashanah is coming up, as well as Yom Kippur. I have been asked to give a reading for my synagogue on Yom Kippur on Sin. That will be interesting, but I am so proud I was asked by my congregation to read :)
I was a little bitter about the fact the Jewish Writing Circle I had tried so hard to promote and get into action sort of didn't happen. I tried having a meeting and only 3 people came, and no one else seemed interested. I tried getting involved in the younger Jewish community in the Capital region and felt kind of rejected. I've found them very uncooperative and snobby to be honest. It hurts, because while I love my shul, my husband and I aren't even 30 yet an d haven't started a family yet either. Our shul is mostly families and older folks. I love my shul and I will never leave it, but it gets a little lonely there from time to time. I also wanted badly to be more involved in things like the Bulletin which is our bi-monthly newsletter, and work has just about swallowed me up whole in my time and energy to be able to do that. I'm afraid to even talk to my Rabbi anymore because I feel like I've been just a really bad Jew lately. I haven't amounted to much in my community and I take the blame for some of that.

Be that as it may...

Things have been sort of low-key in my Jewish life as of late. All facets of life have their ebbs and flows. I am always Jewish, but some months I am more active in living a Jewish life than others. I am always thinking about it though, and every Friday even if I'm not at Shul, I am reflecting on Shabbat, I wear my kippa with pride, and I pray.

I want to take another Jewish-related class, I always feel more intellectually stimulated when I am surrounded by other people exploring this spiritual and emotional journal that I am on. I really miss Faye and the Introduction To Judaism class I took about this time last year. I cannot believe it's been an entire year! I miss my classmates and seeing them each week and talking about our studies. When I am doing something academic I am forced to really immerse myself in things better. Don't get me wrong, I still read and study and pray and all of that. But I felt like I was moving FORWARD more when I was studying. If ONLY I could go to Rabbinical school now :(

Tonight as I soaked up the Judaica section of Barnes & Noble, wishing I could make myself more Jewish through osmosis, and knowing it doesn't work that way, I kept thinking this thought over and over: I have a thirst for G-d.

It is intangible and it is overwhelming. I have always had such an incredible thirst for G-d once I made a connection with my higher self to a Higher Power, to Adonai. My friends have chastised me for exploring so many different roads of faith. They think sometimes I am fickle and can't make up my mind, and that I don't treat religion seriously. But that's absolutely not the case. It's quite the opposite. I take religion and spirituality (which are not the same thing, and that distinction is important here) very seriously. I love all roads that lead to a deeper understanding, or at least, a better relationship with G-d. But when you are raised to religiously find your own way (as long as you find a way, not become an atheist, which I was for quite some time), it is very hard to find a religion you feel grounded to, that takes roots. My Mom rejected Catholicism early on and instead did not raise her children as any specific religion, she let us find our own paths. That made us both very open-minded to religion in general, but it made it very hard to find the right paths for ourselves. It's hard when you weren't raised with any fundemental beliefs in G-d. It is one of the reasons I so strongly want to make sure my children when I have them have a substantial religious and spiritual Jewish upbringing. It is important to me that they have a foundation to start on when their relationship with G-d is just starting. I don't blame my Mother, I admire her ambition to not saddle her kids with beliefs they might not want. But I wish I had been schooled in SOMETHING more solid, more grounding when I was young. Then I might not have been such a spiritual nomad when I was growing up and into my early college years.
I have written extensively about my Jewish journey and how I have always felt it pulling me closer, since I was 5 years old. I know Judaism was meant for me and I for Judaism. It is my link to Hashem, my theological b'asharet. But what of my other religious roots?

My pagan roots, which I am not ashamed of. I still look back on my Celtic wanderings with fondness and love. I still listen to Gwydion (a long-dead pagan folksinger) with love. I will always feel a kinship with Wicca and the Old Religion, always. I never felt grounded with it, which is why I did not stay with it, but I always had a love for it. It has deep roots with my genetic makeup: I am a Celt at heart, and pagan doings were the ways of the original Celts. I could never get into the multiple G-ds and G-ddess thing, but I still strongly respect its system. It is a loving belief structure with great respect for the earth and all that dwells within the earth's walls.

With my parents religion; Ifa, I thought I had found the perfect religion for me. It is an amazing belief system, highly inclusive and egalitarian, and I have a high respect for it still. It is monotheistic, it believes in Oldumare, the One G-d, and then there are Orishas, spiritts that do G-d's work on earth, kind of like Angels or Saints. But like the Native Americans believed in everything having a spirit, Orishas embodied many earthly energies. It combined a sort of paganistic worship with a monotheistic mindset. The problem with Ifa for me was never its belief system, but its form of worship.
The ceremonies are very long, very emotionally draining, and intense. It became almost a dread for me to attend them because I just couldn't handle the dramatic and sometimes overwhelming ceremonies. I wanted something more calm, more down-to-earth, and frankly, not to sound mean, but a little more NORMAL. At least normal for me. I am not knocking Ifa, I still have a love for it and my family both blood and non-blood who practice it. But it wasn't making me feel good when I had to devote entire weekends to this energy-draining form of worship, and I began to resent it, and resent the responsibility that came with being obligated because my family was a part of it. I feel more comfortable being a part of something I chose for myself, not followed because my parents were a part of it.
I chose Judaism just as much as it chose me. I went into Ifa because my parents practiced it, and while I loved it, I also felt handcuffed to it, trapped in a way that wasn't healthy for me. And I don't blame the religion, I blame myself for being such an introspective person that I couldn't handle something so very intense. But that is what was meant to happen, and that is why I parted ways with Ifa. I still go to the house meetings (just informal gatherings to see each other, it's primarily a social function, not a religious ceremony) to see the people there because I still love them. I will never not be a part of their lives simply because my religious path has changed. But I had to do something different with my heart in terms of how I wanted to let it beat to a Hashem-based rhythm that didn't make me sweat and make me anxious.

When I briefly dipped my toes into Christianity, primarily Catholicism and Episcopalianism, I gained a greater insight into what makes Christians tick, and how sincere their love for Jesus Christ is. I used to be incredibly anti-Christian, I was downright prejudiced against them. I grew up in a small podunk town that looked at someone who dressed like a Hippie and rejected monotheism altogether as some kind of freak. I don't know what bothered them more, when I believed in multiple Gods, or none at all. While I loved the ritual of Catholicism, and the relative liberalness (within a Christian mindframe) of Episcopalians, I did not enjoy the judgmental atmosphere I almost always reached whenever stepping into a Christian dwelling. I personally found it very hypocritical that many of the Christians I met only wanted to "save" me, instead of just let me find my own way.
I began to reject and resent the patriarchal theology surrounding all branches of the religion and realized quickly that while I think there are some lovely concepts in Christianity, it is one thing to appreciate it, it is another thing to wholly embrace it as a way of life. I chose to remove myself from that field. But even having left it, I still have an appreciation and a fondness for Catholic ritual, and I do now respect the Christian people I know for their honest devotion and sincere desires to be good people in the way they were taught how.
One of my very best friends; SarahBeth is a devout, lifelong Episcopalian. I admire her faith, it is a beautiful thing in her. She is everything that is GOOD about Christianity. She represents to me, what the religion strives to accomplish, but to me oftentimes fails to become altogether. She is incredibly open-minded about religion, and she has ALWAYS been supportive to me no matter what path I walked along in my constant search for G-d that I could feel at home with in connecting to Hashem the way I wanted to.

Judaism for me has a wonderful multitude of things I was so desperately looking for in my spiritually nomadic road trip. It interwove a way of life, a way of seeing the world, a sense of humor, an open-mindedness, and a gift for arguing with not just each other but our Creator, as well as a straight-forward method of connecting to G-d, talking to G-d, joining together as a community, and in asserting a responsibility as a people to the world in which we live. Judaism teaches compassion, forgiveness, love, kindness, respect, questioning everything, and a lifelong thirst for knowledge and change. It does not center around the worship of a person, or people. It does not center on having to only devote yourself in your religious center, and it does not focus on assimilation of any kind.
In fact, Jews argue with other Jews about how to be a Jew in the first place. And while that can be frustrating since it creates an insular prejudice against each other which hurts our community and people, it also allows for different concepts and methods in which to live a Jewish life. There are Jewish agnostics and atheist. There are traditional Jews who live Conservative and Orthodox, and Conservadox lives. There are the more progressive and left-leaning Jews who like Reform. There are the out-there Reconstructionalists who refuse to assimilate even within the unassimIlated. But we are ALL Jews and we all share a common bond: we are The Chosen, and that means choosing for ourselves as well as for G-d.
I love this. I feel like even though my lifelong thirst for G-d will never be quenched (I don't believe it is meant to be in this life), that it has found a solid home, a foundation, an olive branch if you will from which to really talk to G-d on an intimate and joyous way.

There are some days where I feel I am just not Jewish enough to be a real Jew. There are days when I sometimes still feel like an impostor/intruder. There are days when I feel my Rabbi doesn't think I'm good enough to represent my community in a Jewish way, that she doesn't even like me. I feel that sometimes I just am not educated enough to be a real Jew.
And I know those are falsities. I know deep down in my heart I am a daughter of Israel forever. The day I went in that mikvah was a core-shaking, life-altering event that stays in my heart wherever I go. I am a Jew. I wander for G-d like we did in the desert. And G-d is the compass Moses had, Miriam had, Rivkah had, Zipporah had.
This Zipporah bat Avraham v'Sarah knows where she belongs now: in a Jewish home, in shul, in the Judaica section of the bookstore, in a Jewish class. I may not ever become a Rabbi (though I still hold on to that someday dream), but I will strive always to be a more learned Jewish woman.

G-d calls me to it, and there are days I falter, and days I am not up to that task.
But there are more days to be had, more books to be read, more candles to be lit.

Hineni Adonai. I am here.

JEWISH WRITER'S CIRCLE


Tuesday, June 17th, Troy NY:

AT: CONGREGATION BERITH SHOLOM, in the SOCIAL HALL

167 Third Street.

I'm hosting!

BE THERE :)

Well our class has come and gone. What a fantastic, and incredible journey it has been! From the guest lectures, to learning how to really "do Jewish" in our daily lives, to experiencing a genuine first-class Shabbat dinner complete with blessings, c/hallah (I've seen several spellings so I'm opting for both here), and joy all around!

 I cannot thank Faye enough for her time, effort, and endless inspiration. Faye, there aren't enough "l'chaims" in the world to truly express how grateful I think we all are for your wisdom, kindness and encouragement in helping us along our Jewish journeys. Whether we were taking this class as a stepping stone that will ultimately lead towards being reborn in the mikvah/mikveh (also a word I have seen spelled in varying ways), or to learn more about our partner's way of life, or trying to re-experience the power of what we were born into but didn't learn enough about... or just out of plain old curiosity and nothing more; I have no doubt we all learned magnitudes from sharing with one another and from Faye (and Rabbi Silton) allowing us to step into their world (and their home!).
I know I took away a lot from just sitting there and listening to all of these different facets of a life I want to live and it helped make me realize my being pulled towards Judaism as a way of life and a way of faith was no accident for me. I am so happy this is what I want to do. And meeting all of you made me even happier, because it shows just how diverse and evolved Judaism is.

I hope however; that in spite of it being the end of our class it is not the end of our varying journeys together. To that end; Susan and I put our ever-thinking heads together and came up with a couple of ideas: a Jewish movie night once a month, a writing group, a regular Shabbat dinner every few months where we could alternate between different peoples houses.
There are a bunch of different great ideas she had that made us solidify the notion that our tiny little class-community doesn't have to end with the class! We can keep our community alive and ever-growing if we just organize a bit.
What do you all think? Please comment, or e-mail me suggestions (and then I'll post them on the blog). I love the idea of continuing to add ways of "doing Jewish" to our lives by still seeing each other as a group in some way or another, even if it's only bi-monthly, or a few times a year. It's also a great way to branch out our love/curiosity/pull towards all things Judaic into our every day lives. Judaism I have found, has so enriched my very brainwaves that to keep pushing forward within a Jewish context is to create a Jewish social circle that encompasses other souls along the way just as hungry for more knowledge as I am. That of course, would be you guys! :)

So circle up! Write me! Write on here (click on the "Leave a comment" link at the bottom of this entry), or e-mail me ideas/suggestons/thoughtts/questions/etc and I will post them on the blog and then send out the word that a new entry is up. This way we can still all communicate with each other. This way, the class still lives on in spirit. We will always be students, we just have to make the time to take the class of life.

Ok, ok. With all that "L'chaim" I think I really need to break out the Fiddler...



Hey all!


Sorry I haven't blogged in forever and a day! I can't believe our class is almost over!!! But at least we get to be together for Shabbat tonight! I can't wait :)

I'm getting ready to set up my Mikvah date, which excites me no end. I hope everyone had happy Challah-days :)

After I clean up my Conversion essay, if any of you are interested in reading some of it, I'd be glad to post it in chunks on here. Just let me know if it interests you! I posted all of that in  more detail on my Jewish Blog shiksajourney (just click on that work and it will take you to the journal).

I have loved hearing from all of you, your stories, your journeys, your varied philisophical outlooks regarding Judaism and the world. I love hearing different Rabbis giving us different perspectives on living a Jewish life and how Jews are not just of a faith, but of a people too. We are a blended Chosen people. I think that's a part of what makes it so wonderful. My Hebrew is still pretty rusty, but I plan on taking a class solely dealing with Hebrew perhaps at SUNY sometime soon, so that will help me move it along some.

Matt Mason wanted to share a poem he wrote on here, so here it is in lovely splendor:

Shannon,

 

When I first came to Rabbi Shoshanah she advised me to read the book of Job. I did and the Rabbi and I decided I would write something of how Job might feel AFTER G_d had made things “all better” at the end of the story.

This is the gift I gave in return to Shoshana and then to Faye for teaching me. Susan shared what she wrote with us, and so I share with the class.


Matthew


This is what I came up with:

 

OF JOB RESTORED

 
In the still quiet I am reminded

That he who stirred this dust

To cloak my soul

The air, the wind I ride

Can also cast away

All that I am or

All that is

 

Reflected in her eyes I see

That she can see

The love of God (and so do I)

Between us both

But mirrors (tears)

They also show

The past to me

When God’s love bound

Me to another

Another wife

Another home

Another Life

This is the gift

My share, her share

This Here

This Now

But where are the innocent eyes to whom I first

Did look and share …this love?

 

Shaddai

In making and unmaking things

Can you restore that which I knew?

And what I didn’t?

Restoring twice

What once I had

It is the bargain that you brokered and then kept

Beyond me

I simply am

And cannot bargain

Question

Shape

Restore

Or even

Judge

 

But

 

I remember

 


Matt Mason

November 1, 2007

The Writer's Block :)


Shalom everyone!

Susan from class wrote an absolutely BEAUTIFUL poem about her mother she wanted to share with everyone. She requested that I post it on our blog. I am proud to put it here. Please enjoy, and feel free to share your own Judaism/spiritual/religion-inspired poetry if you would like :) As a life-long writer myself, I always encourage creativity!

Here is Susan's Poem:

"A Love Poem (for my mother)" appeared in Judaism, in 1996. I own the reprint rights, but am supposed to acknowledge where the poem appeared first.

A LOVE POEM
for my mother

Adonai of night and of flowers,
God of my life. I was not expected to be
beautiful. When flowers grew from my hands, I surprised everyone
but my mother.

In any language my name
means
lily. Basin in a vase
or bath of rain, I have the same wholly American
whorls (fingerprints, curls), and features as when
my first-generation mother
invited me into being
her future. She asked and I answered
with a face like her mama's
mishpoche
, but with different colored
petals, my hair, oh my eyes.

-- Susan Comninos (c) 2007


Here is another one I wrote some time ago after attending Shabbat at Berith Sholom:

(background info: I was inspired specifically by a lovely flute solo when our Choir did Haskieveinu (my favorite prayer)

Shabbat Sings Solo

Adonai speaks in a reedy voice.
It is little, and it is lonely.
No one can hear it.
No one can know what it is like to speak so silently,
with such a deafening tone.
Standing solo
the voice calls us out
Be heard!
Be known!
Be loved!
Believe in what you are saying,
since you have no way of hearing
what I myself have said.
This Voice holds Its' own
in spite of the oblivious crowd.
We cannot communicate
this way unless
The Lonely Voice Of G-d
seeps into our prayers,
makes notes in our sleep
so that we may allow
the sound of Roar Divine
to pierce our shattered ears
when the soul is awake enough
to hear it call our names.
When these musical particles of love
float into the Shabbat Night Air,
it is not a flute we are hearing,
but Our Creator shouting
with a quiet force
in the most direct way we able to understand.

---S.K.L. (c)2007

I also wanted to share the link to my Judaism Journal because it involves a career contemplation. It's probably a silly idea, but all of you have been so wonderful with questions and feedback lately, I had to ask if anyone had any thoughts.

Here is the entry: http://shiksajourney.livejournal.com/9821.html

Ok everyone. Please feel free to ask questions, get involved, or share thoughts!
Happy 3rd Night Of Chanukah!

L'Shalom,
"The Oracle" ;)

I hope everyone is breaking out the latkes, menorahs, and love combined with light.

I'm using this time to reflect on the good things this year, and to pray for peace in the coming year. If anyone has any special things they're doing this to make it a joyful Challah-day (HAD to get that pun in there! :-P) feel free to share on this post.

I was reflecting earlier today to my husband that I have had the beautiful gold menorah in our living room for over 10 years. I got it when I was in high school! He asked me why on earth I had a menorah when I have only seriously been exploring Judaism for 2 years? I said...just because my feet didn't hit the synagogue previous to those 2 years, doesn't mean my heart wasn't waiting for me there all along!
When we were at my Grandmother's wake and funeral this weekend (a very long, sad entry for my personal journal some other time...thank you for those of you who knew though, and offered lovely Hebrew prayers to me in my time of need. I don't know who it was that was doing that in my personal journal, but it meant more to me than you'll ever know).
The family got together to say goodbye to this amazing (Irish Catholic) woman in the Jersey towns of Paramus, Fair Lawn, and Glen Rock. I spent the bulk of my childhood and adolescence in these towns, as had all of my 4 aunts, my mother, and my maternal grandparents. That's why the wake and funeral were held there. Anyway, the point of all this is...on our way to the funeral home, we drove by my old Nursery School, which was at Temple Beth Sholom! Yes, that's right: I went to Hebrew School as a child. And my mother is paganesque :) She felt it would be a better education for me. Bergen County, NJ in general always had a big Jewish population. It was mostly Orthodox when my mom was a kid, but there's still a ton of Jewish community centers, and shuls of all branches down there even today. And according to my entire Irish Catholic Family "The BEST BAGELS IN THE WORLD!".
It was an interesting experience being back where my Jewish roots apparently took place. I remembered going to the school when I saw the round stained-glass windows and the parking lot there. The sign looked EXACTLY the same. And apparently I taught the folks in my family Hebrew prayers while I was there. So surreal eh? We all have emotional touchstones in our lives that are often in a physical place. My Jewish soul started in Jersey, and it was a testament to fate that we drove by that little school on the way to bury the rest of my childhood along with the most wonderful woman I've ever known.

I've had interesting questions from folks on the blog lately. Some people have asked me whether I've experienced any prejudices from Jewish friends about how "Jewish" I'll be once I officially convert (I have had SOME, not too much). Others have talked about which speakers in class they've gleaned the most from. And some of us have been lamenting the challenges of our beloved Shalom Aleichem book/Hebrew learning in general.

Please feel free to share your thoughts, questions, observations, and stories! We have 8 nights of beautiful flames, chocolate gold, and hearing the Dreidel song 8 thousand times. Let's sprinkle some Jew-dust on this Holiday season, eh?

And I end with a fun video of Adam Sandlers' (1st) Hanukkah Song, because I can never quite get enough of it:

Hello everyone! Hope it was a great Thanksgiving for everyone! *hugs*

It has been suggested by Susan in class, as well as Faye that we do a group Shabbos dinner sometime soon. I think it's a wonderful idea! Any suggestions for when would be a good time? Please comment on this entry for suggestions/requests.

Also had a great idea by Susan about sharing creative outlets on this weblog. She saw a little poem I wrote some time ago [on my shiksajourney journal] when I had been inspired by the Sukkah Faye showed us at Temple Israel. She wanted to know if she could share hers, and if we might branch out a Creative Writing Group of sorts from class :) I love this idea! And to help blend Judaism with poetry, I'll share the little poem:

Mortar made of gold.

The moon is following me past the Sukkot sky.
Grass cities tumble over toes
while night foils ambient rays of starlight
in a small, quiet corner of wooden walls and hanging fruit
gatherings build up to a whisper
stalking some hope encased in splinters on the roof
a darker hue paints the art
swirling in crimson, amber, blue
held together by little
fire swells beneath the surface of pine
sticky-sweet air crests the time left
before an escape is made away from the rain
past the trees
past the exit
the moon cannot sense my presence inside the brick below
which is where I leave a grin.

---S.K.L. (me) (c)2007

As for the "December Dilemma" this time of year, my husband and I have made some compromises. We have Hanukkah in this house, but I won't shut off the radio and refuse to listen to Christmas music, as it has been a deep part of my growing up, and I do love it. I can't abominish it just because I am becoming a Jew. It never had religious significance to me, so I am ok with hearing it. I am also still visiting my family during Christmas time. And while it is no longer my holiday, I won't say that I don't miss it, or won't enjoy being able to be surrounded by it when I visit my family. Becoming a Jew means also making life-choices that Born Jews don't usually have to make.
We cannot just cut out our family simply because they celebrate something we've moved away from. It isn't fair to them. This is a major hot-button issue, as we all realized when we started discussing it. But my feeling is; just because I am living a Jewish life, doesn't mean I can't appreciate the beauty and joy of the holiday season, no matter what holiday it is people are celebrating.
I am celebrating Hanukkah, but I'll still smile at the beauty of the Christmas lights when I walk by the houses that are lit. As long as a house is filled with joy, and we're all being respectful of each other's choices, I think appreciating the beauty of December in all its' glory is acceptable, regardless of the fact we're not fully indulging in like we did when we were living a non-Jewish life.

Those are just my two cents! I'm not saying this is the right way, or that everyone should feel this way. I'm just saying how I feel about it personally.

Ok everyone: thoughts? Comments? Ideas?

Hey Everyone!

Hey everyone, it's Shannon from Faye Stilton's Introduction To Judaism class.

Ok, this is our blog now!

To comment on an entry, just click on the "comment" link on any entry that you can see, and you'll have to post anonomously if you are not a livejournal user. If you ARE a member of livejournal, just add this community, and then you can post to it yourself. I will be giving everyone in our class the username and password to make actual POSTS on this community board so everyone can wax philosophical/spiritual/whatever tickles your fancy. I will do that in our next class on Tuesday, so that we're all clear on exactly how to log in, post, and log out. It can be a tad confusing! ;) With this username and password, you can post on this board about things in class, things you thought about outside of class, or just random smatterings of things that popped into your Jewish/eventual Jewish head! :)

I will give Faye the link to this community tonight first and then since she has everyone's e-mail address/phone #, she can forward it to all of us, since we're a tiny group. Until Tuesday, you guys can only comment on a post, not create one on this discussion board. But don't panic! We can all read each other's comments and respond to them/ask questions of  yoru own. So all is not lost! Just hang in there until Tuesday! :) Thanks :)

For this post, I'd also like to recommend several livejournal communities/blogs that I've found helpful as a potential JBC:

Jews-By-Choice: a national livejournal JBC community. This is great for asking questions and sharing experiences as converts together on a broader scale then just our tiny class.
http://community.livejournal.com/jbcs/profile

Weird Jews: An online blog community composed of eccentric Jews from all sorts of Jewish paths.

http://community.livejournal.com/weirdjews/profile

Weird Jews2: for more fiery debates from the same community of folks.
http://community.livejournal.com/weirdjews2/profile

My Jewish livejournal. I have a personal one called shannonolippy that chronicles my day-to-day life that is verbose, and a tad whiney. But shiksajourney is the journal I've been using to chronicle my trials and tribulations and JEWbilations of wanting to become Jewish. I started it back in June or July of 2006 and keep continuing it!
 Feel free to comment on my entries there too, as it is a more personal reflection of my long and winding Yiddish road.
http://shiksajourney.livejournal.com/profile

Ok, feel free to comment! If you have any suggestions on opening up the forum to certain topics, but the process of posting seems either A) too dauting, B) too time-consuming or C) too confusing, just comment on here, and I will post the topic and my thoughts so we can all dive into a discussion about it!

Alriiighty! Let's get it started (ha!)... :) Happy kibitzing!