But I also struggle with other aspects of traditional Judaism, such as the strict gender roles for women in communal prayer. And, I was making many friends at the Reform congregation, and had a great rapport with the rabbi there. So in the end, I converted there, mostly because of the sense of community. I do worry a bit about the status of our potential children. Ruth Ann. Like Ruth Ann I was attracted to traditional Judaism, but simply could not come to terms with the role of women in traditional circles. Oh, how I tried!
And, at the same time, I met two wonderful Conservative rabbis in my Introduction to Judaism class. I connected with them and wanted to learn with them, so it was an easy choice from there.
I very much envy those brave folks who seem to just brush this off as nonsense — I let it get to me far too much. Logically, rationally, in theory, I believe fully that my Conservative conversion has made me a Jew. I made the best choice I could.
Conversion to Judaism: Halakha, Hashkafa, and Historic Challenge
I love the Conservative movement and would shout from the rooftops that I am a proud Conservative Jew, if I were a born Jew and nobody could question my identity. But as a convert, Conservatism has been a surprisingly tough choice. They always seem much more confident than I. Reform question. I did not attempt a conservative conversion, because most conservative Jews I know give lip service to Halacha some of it , but are in fact unobservant of most Mitsvot and are not interested in changing that. In fact most are very antagonistic to a large part of Halacha which is disconcerting to me.
I am now converting with an Orthodox rabbi, because I find the community to be warm, I like the community wide commitment to Halacha and Jewish learning. I also wanted to ensure that my children and I would be considered Jewish in Israel and all over the world. As a Reform Rabbi who has taught Introduction to Judaism classes for almost 30 years I always tell people that one of the important differences between Orthodox Rabbis and non-Orthodox Rabbis is that very few Orthodox Rabbis would present the views of non-Orthodox converts in their own, sometimes critical, words.
Non-Orthodox Rabbis are not like that. Non-Orthodox Rabbis are much more accepting of diversity within the Jewish community and much more welcoming of non-Jews who desire to join or rejoin—see below the Jewish people.
I also always inform people that most non-Jews who become Jewish already have a Jewish soul. This Jewish soul could never make sense of the trinity, and always resented the claim that good people who do not believe in Jesus are not going to heaven. Their Jewish soul attracts them to Jewish people. This Jewish soul is in a Gentile body because it is a Gilgul; a reincarnation of an ancestor who was Jewish and was cut off from the Jewish people; usually due to marriage to a non-Jew generations previously.
Some people who become Jewish are new souls who are here for the first time. Perhaps for them it is more important to do an Orthodox conversion. Juan Mejia, of Oklahoma City, once dreamed of becoming a Roman Catholic monk, but a life-changing discovery that began with a joke set him on a different path.
How to Discuss Conversion to Judaism | UJA Federation of Greater Toronto
Once, at age 15, at a family Christmas gathering in his native Bogota, Colombia a relative made an anti-Semitic joke that made his paternal grandfather very upset. His only knowledge of Judaism had come from the Christian Bible up to that point. Suddenly, some of the practices of many older men in the family began to make sense, Mejia said. It is also vital that you stay in touch with your birth family. Converting to Judaism does not mean you are abandoning your family, your friends, or your fond memories of past family life.
When discussing conversion with your family, explain your reasons to them directly and tell them of your continuing love. Most families are supportive, often to the surprise of the person converting.
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Some families, however, do need reassurance and to have their questions answered patiently. There are also, sadly, some families, who see the conversion as an abandonment. At some point in learning about Judaism, preferably as early as possible but especially as you get more serious about actually becoming Jewish, you should talk to a rabbi.
As you study and learn about Judaism, you will read about different religious movements within Judaism. There are rabbis for each of these movements, so it is important to study and understand the differences among the various branches. For example, the Orthodox movement does not generally recognize conversions performed by non-Orthodox rabbis.
Additionally, different movements may have different conversion requirements. Some traditional rabbis may actively discourage potential converts by turning them away three times. This is a test of how sincere the would-be convert is in wishing to become Jewish. Other rabbis are more welcoming right from the initial contact. After finding a rabbi, there is a period of study to learn such matters as Jewish beliefs, rituals, and prayers. This study might involve working directly with a rabbi or study in a conversion or introduction-to-Judaism class. Orthodox and Conservative rabbis require a male candidate for conversion to have a circumcision or a symbolic one, if a circumcision has already been performed.
Reform Judaism does not require a circumcision. Orthodox, Conservative, and some Reform rabbis require all candidates for conversion to go to a ritual bath called a mikveh.
How To Decide If You Should Convert to Judaism
The candidate is immersed in water and says some prayers. The candidate for conversion appears before a beit din , or religious court, consisting of three learned people [usually at least one is a rabbi, and for Orthodox Jews, all three must be ritually observant] to see that all the steps of the conversion process have been done properly [and to question the candidate on motivations, knowledge, and intentions].
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- How To Decide If You Should Convert to Judaism | My Jewish Learning!
In looking for a rabbi, you can, in addition to just asking around or looking in the phone book, contact your local board of rabbis, Jewish Federation, Jewish Community Council, or Jewish Family Service for a suggestion. You can contact the various religious movements directly. Conversion is a challenge, but almost all those who have gone through it describe it as exciting, as a time of real personal and spiritual growth, and as a time of intensified feelings of love and closeness to family.
Reprinted with permission from www. Jewish tradition respects both the totality of a convert's transformation and the continued ties to their family of origin. Liberal Jews who support outreach claim that active proselytism was the Jewish tradition until the Roman Empire outlawed conversion to Judaism under penalty of death. Jewish tradition is no stranger to infertility, but it is only recently that liturgical responses to this struggle have emerged.
Still at the Thinking Stage If you are considering becoming Jewish too, here are some suggestions for you as you explore Judaism a step at a time. Consider why you are thinking about conversion. Among the reasons most given by people who do convert are that: 1. Judaism has sensible religious beliefs. Becoming Jewish allows the convert to share the faith of the partner. Becoming Jewish makes the family religiously united. Learn as much as you can about Judaism.
To get you started, though, here are some general Jewish beliefs that are widely held among Jews: 1. Experience Judaism as it is lived. Talk about your thoughts and feelings with your partner, your friends, and your family. Talk to a rabbi. Consider circumcision. Immerse in a mikveh. Appear before a beit din rabbinic court.