The Browns learned about AJU through Rabbi Barney Kasdan, who was teaching a lecture on Jewish studies as part of their church’s Bible study group for men. Chris was attending his sessions once a week for two months when he became fascinated by Judaism.
“I don’t know what inspired me – I can’t pinpoint it, but I was deeply touched by what Rabbi Kasdan was saying,” reflected Chris, who later introduced Kasdan to Kelly.
“We discovered that Judaism is much deeper and richer than Christianity. There’s much more to the Bible than just the New Testament, and Rabbi Kasdan tied the two perfectly together,” Kelly explained.
Chris and Kelly began regularly attending Kasdan’s synagogue and have not been back to church since. After Kasdan suggested that the couple consider attending AJU’s College of Arts and Sciences, they moved to Los Angeles in 2011 and began attending AJU a year later.
Chris and Kelly both desire to use their knowledge that they are gaining about Jewish studies as an integral part of their future careers. Kelly, who identifies as a messianic gentile, aspires to teach Jewish studies at a Christian college, while Chris hopes to eventually convert to Judaism and become ordained as a Conservative rabbi through AJU’s Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies. While he and Kelly currently attend services at Beth Emunah Messianic Synagogue in Agoura Hills, Chris views Messianic Judaism as a transition from Christianity to more traditional Judaism.
“I am about 70-30, leaning towards conversion, but I want to know something about what I’m doing,” he explained. “I want to become more knowledge about Judaism before I convert if I decide I want to.”
Read the entire article at We Are The 5 Percent: Being Non-Jewish at American Jewish University | New Voices.