We get a lot of email at GrokNation, and while many are from people hoping to connect with our founder, we are getting more and more emails from people who report that the discussions on GrokNation have made a major impact on the way they think or feel about a certain issue. We found one of those emails so moving that we asked the writer (identified below only as T., to honor her request for anonymity) for her permission to share them here. Her words are raw and sensitive, authentic and honest. As you read them, be reminded that we all struggle, sometimes silently and sometimes in a shout; that all of us have things in our past that we fear will undermine our present and future; and that the kind and supportive words – even from strangers – can help us heal and move forward. We know that you will continue to be as sensitive as you were in your comments about the original post and thank you wholeheartedly for being a part of this supportive community.
– GN Editorial Staff
I would never post this publicly but I just wanted to say how much I loved today’s article about Jenna Jameson and her journey toward conversion!!!!!
For many years back in the 1990s I did sex work, and can confirm that often abuse is a factor – EVERY single girl in the parlour I was at had been abused. Being in that kind of profession is just a continuation of believing everything you have been taught about yourself growing up. I cried reading this article because of how accepting and compassionate it was about her past, and it gave me hope that someone could be the same toward me if I ever told anyone.
Rabbi Joseph Telushkin’s books on values and ethics are my absolute favorites. I’ll be honest, I have embraced a lot of it in my day-to-day life, as well as considering converting progressive but my worries about the past hold me back. I would never spontaneously discuss it but if someone asked directly, I would have to be honest… and I’m afraid that almost certainly it would rule me out. I’m not familiar with Jenna but from the looks of her cover photo, she embraces her past and is not embarrassed about it at all and is still permitted to convert, so maybe there is hope for me yet? I don’t know – it’s given me a lot to think about.
POSTSCRIPT: I am fine now! I did therapy for years, got a degree, a job at a university… so yup. Major life changes.
After that first email, the Jenna Jameson conversion post began to pick up commenting steam – after having read the discussion on Facebook and on GrokNation.com, T. wrote this additional email:
When I wrote the above email there were only a handful of replies to the post. Since then there have been many more, both on GrokNation and on the two Facebook pages for Mayim Bialik and GrokNation. Reading the post about Jenna’s conversion helped me in a small way to reconsider what is possible, but you know what really helped? All the Grokites talking about Jenna saying (I’m paraphrasing here), “In terms of faith and conversion… it’s about sincerity. THE PAST DOESN’T MATTER.”
Reading something in a book that says, “if someone is penitent, one should not say, ‘Remember your former actions'” (from the Talmud, full quote below) was something I could understand on an intellectual level but wasn’t sure that people would really be able to look beyond my past. But seeing all these random people from around the world believing and echoing that sentiment… it is overwhelming and indescribable. Even though they are discussing Jenna, it makes me think, “Is this how people would react to me if they knew about me?” And it’s been such a healing thing.
I’ve cried a lot in the last 24 hours. I think if and when I take that next step forward toward conversion, the comments from all the Grokites here will have been a huge part in allowing me to let go of the past and move on to the next chapter in my life.
[Here is the full quote from the Talmud, as referenced above, Bava Metzia, 4:10: If someone was a penitent, one should not say to him, “Remember your former actions.” If someone is the child of converts, one should not say to him: “Remember the deeds of your ancestors.” As is written (Exodus 22:20): “You shall neither deceive a stranger, nor oppress him.”]