Part ‘meshugana’

“The rabbi said, ‘Why do you want to [study Judaism]? It’s crazy!’”

January 17, 2019 14:27
MIKA SMITH, from Scottsdale, Arizona, to Tel Aviv, 2010

MIKA SMITH, from Scottsdale, Arizona, to Tel Aviv, 2010. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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Sunny Sedona, Arizona, population 10,003, is not exactly a hotbed of aliyah. Mika Smith, 45, who converted to Judaism at age 28 and moved to Tel Aviv nine years later, is undoubtedly the town’s greatest contribution to the State of Israel. Mika spent her childhood in Sedona with her parents and two sisters. Her mother believed in the importance of education and insisted that she and her sisters attend university.

Mika attended the University of Denver and received her BA in psychology and a minor in business. Yet at age 25, she was still “on a hunt for answers.” Her mother had died from ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and Mika was trying to make sense of life. “I was on a quest – why do good people have to die, and everything around you is chaos?” Mika was a regular visitor to the Tattered Cover Book Store in Denver and would frequent the religion section, where she would peruse books on different faiths and beliefs. “I went to Hindu, Buddhism, different types of Christianity,” she explains. “I went through the whole gamut. I was trying to figure out what I didn’t understand.”


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