In the spring of 2001, I walked into a small jewelry store in the old town of Albuquerque. It was hot and bright out, and the sunlight streaming through the windows highlighted the dust floating through the air as though it was glitter.

I stood for a moment and contemplated. I was in New Mexico, the place of my birth, the land where my heart lives, and I had just taken the first official step in my journey towards living a Jewish life. I had just come from of the mikveh (ritual bath) as part of my affirmation of my commitment to Judaism. It was one of those turning points in life when you know everything is changing, when you have made a choice to take one path and leave another behind. I was proud and thrilled and more than a bit scared. I wasn’t sure what was next for me, but I’d always been one to wear my heart on my sleeve and my identity on a chain, and this one was a biggie.

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