Convert Nation

By Emma Green

Jane Picken didn’t know much about religion growing up. Her parents were Christians, but she was orphaned at a young age, and the person who helped raise her “utterly rejected” revealed religion. Years later, when she met Abraham Cohen at a party, they really hit it off—they were engaged within three weeks. But first, they had a religion problem to fix.

Cohen was the son of a cantor, or worship leader, at a Philadelphia synagogue. His father wasn’t comfortable with him marrying someone who wasn’t Jewish. At first, Cohen didn’t want to push his faith on his fiancée, but Jane really loved Jewish rituals like lighting Shabbat candles and eating with family on Friday nights. She decided to convert, taking the name Sarah.

A few years later, Sarah got very sick. As friends and doctors gathered around her, assuming she was dying, she had a vision of Jesus. This was what real conversion felt like, she thought; it was so much deeper and more heartfelt than her earlier turn to Judaism. The Cohens tried to make it work, but they fought over keeping her faith a secret and how to raise their kids. Eventually, they split. One of their daughters went to live with Abraham as a Jew, while the other two followed their mother as Christians.

The thing is, Sarah Jane and Abraham Cohen first met in 1806. They separated in 1831 after one of their sons died of scarlet fever. While their story has a certain 19th-century flavor to it, the same thing might have happened to any couple currently on the dating scene. Perhaps it would be comforting to Sarah Jane and Abraham to know that their descendants are likely facing the same questions and having the same fights as they did, 200 years later.

Lincoln Mullen, an …read more

Via:: The Atlantic


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