Alexandria Fanjoy Silver converted to Judaism twice. For Shavuot, she explains why

Alexandria Fanjoy Silver
Jewish history teacher Alexandria Fanjoy Silver reflects on her choice to convert to Judaism fifteen years ago, and how she wasn't prepared for the antisemitism facing her and her family after Oct. 7. (Submitted photo)

Alexandria Fanjoy Silver enjoys being a proud and loud advocate for Toronto’s Jewish community, even though she only became an “official” Jew in 2009. Her Christian parents brought her up as a member of the Anglican Church; yet, while growing up, she always felt an “obsession” and a pull towards Judaism. And so, as a university student in 2007, after visiting the Nazi death camps in Poland, she decided to go through the conversion process. (There wouldn’t be a Jewish man in her personal life until several years later.)

Tuesday night, as Jews around the world mark the annual harvest festival of Shavuot, the theme of conversion is part of synagogue observances: the Book of Ruth is read, which tells the Bible story of a non-Jewish widow who chose to remain part of her late husband’s Jewish family, and is widely considered the religion’s first recorded “convert”.

While it is usually not considered good manners to ask a convert why they converted, Alexandria Fanjoy Silver agreed to join The CJN Daily to share her journey and explain what it’s been like to live as a Jew—especially now, after Oct. 7, when her choice also directly impacts her non-Jewish family members.

What we talked about:

  • Read Alexandria Fanjoy Silver’s PhD thesis on whether the March of the Living is good or bad for participants
  • Follow Alexandria Fanjoy Silver’s regular columns in the Times of Israel
  • Make her Seven Heaven’s challah for Shavuot and learn about the traditional Sephardic recipe 


The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Zachary Kauffman is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine.  We’re a member of The CJN Podcast Network. To subscribe to this podcast, please watch this video. Donate to The CJN and receive a charitable tax receipt by clicking here. Hear why The CJN is important to me.