In some ways, what an interesting thread.
Before going into anything....I believe that the most important thing we all have in common is our humanity.... and I truly believe that all people, given a chance would do the right thing and believe the in the same fundamental truths.....however.... I think I have an interesting autobiographical note to add.
Many years ago, I converted to Judaism (from being religiously (?), and definitely ethnically, a Presbyterian).... in the Orthodox manner (for those of you who understand the difference). It took three (actually 2 11/12 s) years. I enjoyed every minute of it. There were certainly a number of Wood Allen-esk moments..... but the NYC Upper East side Orthodox community couldn't have been nicer or more supportive of me. For whom ever it was who said that "anyone can convert", that's not entirely correct. Jews do not as a general rule proselytize. One must seek the instruction out and convince a Rabbi of note of one's sincerity. I was in graduate school at the time and quite frankly converting was a lot more difficult. I did it for love, and the belief in family. To marry a man I had fallen in love with who had two really terrific children. Also, selfishly, I wanted any child I might have to be as "Jewish" (Mother must be Jewish) as my future step-children.
But, to keep it light, that's really just the set up for the story. While the marriage did not last, the experience did. I still consider myself religiously Jewish....although visually and culturally, I'm still the same old WASP. But my son, the product of said marriage was raised (before and after the marriage) Jewish.
It is said that the Messiah will be the product of a Convert and a Kohane (I'm the convert,his Dad is the Kohane obviously).......
The punch line. My kid gets a certain chuckle about that.....particularly since he's a ....... carpenter.
(On second thought this may lost on the larger audience..... but ELAL 744 will probably get it...Right?)
As a Post Script: while a woman converting may involve a final attempt by the Rabbis to drown her (repeatedly)...... conversion for a fellow does seem a bit more ..... traumatic, I think is the best way to put it..... something about carving something...!!!!!!
There's nothing more beautiful than flying into the dawn.