That’s a good question and I guess some basic interest goes far back into my childhood. I remember talking about Judaism in class (we also did other religions, but I don’t remember those). Particularly I remember tasting the different food items for the Pesach seder in elementary school and I remember acting as the bride (or bride mother?) in a Jewish wedding*. I also remember reading all the holocaust-related books in the local library, and I remember a workshop on Yiddish songs together with children of some other nationality, maybe Polish.
But apart from these bits and pieces, I grew up sort of protestant. My parents are not religious at all and never went to church. My grandmother went and I used to go with her a few times, especially during the year when I was confirmed. Me and my siblings spent a week or two each summer at a children’s retreat organized by the church. I really liked that, so after I grew too old to participate, I became a counselor. Eventually, I took on a weekly girls’ group. But I wasn’t too much into the religious part of it, it was more about the people and the music.
I started to read more about (Christian) theology and actual beliefs around the age of 16, I don’t really know what triggered it. And the more I read, the more doubts I had. Jesus, virgin birth, original sin, all these miracles, all the contradictions between what the text said and what people actually believed? Coincidentally we got internet at the same time, and soon I was wildly browsing throught the internet in search of religious stuff. As I said, I was researching Christian Lutheran-protestant theology.
And by chance somehow I ended up in a Jewish chatroom. There were all these people talking about odd stuff. And I was hooked. I don’t remember what exactly they discussed. I think it must have been about Shabat. And I think the fascination of Hebrew played a big role. But I returned to this chatroom every day from then on and started to learn about Judaism.
* Now, as an adult, and on my way to becoming a Jew, I am unsure what to think about this method of teaching. Is it appropriate and respectful to stage ceremonies of a different religion? I don’t know, but it certainly made a big impression on my 10-year-old self.