Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Richard Alicchio's Conversion Speech

Richard Alicchio completed his conversion to Judaism on Friday, December 21st, during our weekly Shabbat services. As Rabbi Schwartz wrote in his weekly message to the members of Congregation Adas Emuno on the previous day: "Witnessing a conversion to Judaism is a special moment, and we will have that opportunity at our Shabbat evening service when Richard Alicchio embraces the Torah." Here is a photo taken of Richard and Rabbi Schwartz at the oneg following services that night:

And Richard was kind enough to share with us the speech he gave to the congregation to mark the occasion:

My journey to Judaism began in the early sixties when I met Cheryl. I would go over to her house. There we would listen to her records on the hi- fi. I became a constant visitor and her parents were always kind and generous toward me.

We attended Cliffside Park High School, went to the prom, then I was off to college for two years and then a year at a New York college. I was drafted into the Army in 1966, then got my orders to go to Viet Nam. While I was away my daughter was born and she was three months old when I first saw her. We had her named Leah. My son was born in 1971 . We had a ceremony for him led by Rabbi Berger at Congregation Sons of Israel in Leonia. We had him named Boruch Froyim. At five years old we took them to Sunday school and Hebrew school and they were both B'nai Mitzvah. But we were not married in the Jewish tradition.

We spent many holidays at Cheryl's house, her father had studied to be a rabbi so he knew how to do the Seder very precisely.

What brought me into this conversion was when Cheryl and I first attended services at Adas Emuno. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming that we were taken aback by such kindness. Since 2008, we have been attending services at Adas Emuno and volunteering for various events and it has been very rewarding. I am also eager to learn more about tradition, religion, and philosophy and know that I will learn that here as I attend classes in Hebrew and Torah Study.

And with that we say a hearty Mazel Tov! to Richard and Cheryl Alicchio, and extend our warmest welcome and joyful congratulations to the newest member of our Jewish community!

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