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post #41 of 64
1st...i have never heard of kids converting separately from parents....you will all go to the mikvah at the same time.
2nd all male jews are required by Hashem to be circumcised...it is one of the 613 mitzvos...they can choose not to do it but it is breaking a "rule" but I would imagine that those who do not do it also break many other rules.
and yes in order to convert a male MUST be circumcised.

Laura you are right...being born of a jewish mother makes you jewish no matter what.
post #42 of 64
i see that the difference is between a convert and a 'inherited' jew.
post #43 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gypsymama22girls View Post
1st...i have never heard of kids converting separately from parents....you will all go to the mikvah at the same time.
Is that the case even if her oldest is already 13 by the time she converts?
post #44 of 64
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lolar2 View Post
Is that the case even if her oldest is already 13 by the time she converts?
I have a friend whose 9 yr old daughter who wasn't going to convert at the same time as her b/c the rabbi wanted her to have more time to make her decision... but then she ended up converting. (the daughter wanted to, it was only the rabbi that was concerned)

I will check my facts to make sure... but that is what I was basing my idea on maybe him converting later.

(I am only talking about orthodox conversions. I'm not interested in any other type.)
post #45 of 64
I have never heard of anyone converting separately from their children. I am not saying it couldn't happen...just that I never heard of it. Since her son may be 13 he will be asked whether or not he wants to convert. Her son is only 10 now though and if she starts working with a beis din and moves to a community they could be done with the conversion before he turns 13. BUT once he is up for Bar Mitzvah...he will be asked if he still wants to be a Jew.
post #46 of 64
its possible for a mother to be jewish and her children not, if the conversion happened AFTER the children were born.

If a woman converts while pregnant, any children she gives birth too are subsequently Jewish. But if they're already born at the time of the conversion, they'd need their own separate conversion.
post #47 of 64
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chavelamomela View Post
its possible for a mother to be jewish and her children not, if the conversion happened AFTER the children were born.

If a woman converts while pregnant, any children she gives birth too are subsequently Jewish. But if they're already born at the time of the conversion, they'd need their own separate conversion.

yes but I think the question is would they allow a mother of children under 13 to covert without her children converting too...
post #48 of 64
BTW Laura - I just re-read your original thread and I thought it interesting that it was the music and words of Ari Goldwag that brought you toward Judaism.

I grew up with him. It's been a long time, but I know/knew him personally. Nice guy, nice family, very sincere.

Cool.
post #49 of 64
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chavelamomela View Post
BTW Laura - I just re-read your original thread and I thought it interesting that it was the music and words of Ari Goldwag that brought you toward Judaism.

I grew up with him. It's been a long time, but I know/knew him personally. Nice guy, nice family, very sincere.

Cool.

well, wow how funny is that?

My husband stumbled upon his some time... we gave his stuff a listen and then for whatever reason his teachings really stayed with me and to be honest for a while I just couldn't get enough. something about the way he teaches, like it's so important to who he is. and the way he explained the significance behind so many stories made me realize how far of Christianity was from the meaning of events and stories in the Bible... it really brought me to an "oh crap!" moment, that's for sure. then i started really studying....

I'm sure it was never his intention to lead outsiders to Judaism, but hey. lol
post #50 of 64
it is a far cry, i agree. so much of judaism is really about community and justice, and yet it is cast in much of christianity about isolation of one community and retribution. it's so confusing when the materials are told from a truly jewish perspective.

orthodox christianity is closer to it, but not that much. it is decidedly a different way of thinking altogether.

this is why it is no surprise that, anyone reading the OT (of christianity) with the aid of a jewish lens is going to be drawn toward judaism. it makes so much more sense that way.
post #51 of 64
HennyPenny--

I am not a convert to Judaism; I was born Jewish. I just want to add some things to the excellent advice you have gotten in this forum. My husband is a principal in an Orthodox day school and has seen many children undergo conversion. The important thing to remember is that it is your child's choice! If the Rabbis on the Beit Din feel that the child is being forced to convert, they will usually not proceed with the conversion. Even children who are converted as infants and toddlers, when they turn 12 (for a girl) or 13 (for a boy) are allowed to retroactively reject the conversion. I also know a man who converted when he had an adult son, and the son never converted. They even lived in the same apartment for a while. They had an agreement that all the food in the apartment would be kosher, but the son could eat non-kosher outside the home. So it's important that you keep in mind that your children are allowed the right to reject your journey. Go slowly with your children, especially since they have lived a whole different life beforehand. Of course, it is natural that you want to proceed quickly; but in the long run, it is better if you go slowly and carefully, remembering that this will be a complete change in lifestyle for both you and your children. I wish you lots of luck!
post #52 of 64
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mama Shifra View Post
HennyPenny--

I am not a convert to Judaism; I was born Jewish. I just want to add some things to the excellent advice you have gotten in this forum. My husband is a principal in an Orthodox day school and has seen many children undergo conversion. The important thing to remember is that it is your child's choice! If the Rabbis on the Beit Din feel that the child is being forced to convert, they will usually not proceed with the conversion. Even children who are converted as infants and toddlers, when they turn 12 (for a girl) or 13 (for a boy) are allowed to retroactively reject the conversion. I also know a man who converted when he had an adult son, and the son never converted. They even lived in the same apartment for a while. They had an agreement that all the food in the apartment would be kosher, but the son could eat non-kosher outside the home. So it's important that you keep in mind that your children are allowed the right to reject your journey. Go slowly with your children, especially since they have lived a whole different life beforehand. Of course, it is natural that you want to proceed quickly; but in the long run, it is better if you go slowly and carefully, remembering that this will be a complete change in lifestyle for both you and your children. I wish you lots of luck!
for some reason I didn't ever reply to this... I just noticed. I just wanted to say this is wonderful advice! thank you.

we are taking it as slow as they need/want. My oldest son isn't yet sure if he wants to convert and he knows it's his choice. we're happy with that. My other kids are younger so they are more so along for the ride. they are all very interested and ask questions on their own accord regularly. we don't really push them at all but they overhear us talking and it makes them want to know more.

My husband and oldest son plan on attending a rosh hashannah service on Wed evening at the chabad, and they are both very excited. it's a bit of a drive so I'm staying home with the little ones. I'm excited too though
post #53 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chavelamomela View Post
One thing to add:

Judaism is not a solitary religion/way of life. In order to fulfill the Torah, and the will of Hashem (G-d), its necessary (and important!) to be part of a community. Because one person (and one family) cannot do it alone.

So whatever you decide, I urge you to find a community to connect with. A virtual community is nice, but to fulfill the Torah, in-person contact is essential.

Its also emotionally important for your sake to find people to be friends with, a community of supportive people who help each other. This is an important ideal from Jewish tradition: 'Olam Chesed Yibane' - The world is built on acts of kindness (between mankind). In order to practice acts of loving kindness, one must be in a community, and not alone.

I so very much agree with this post. We are in Oklahoma for about 8 months and I would be so lost without my temple, and the sisterhood.
post #54 of 64
I converted to Judaism (conservative). My husband is a born Jew. For all the "rules", you will really have to talk to your rabbi (we can give ideas and our experiences, but when it comes to the official stuff, it will be the rabbi who will have the final word), but I thought I would share a bit of the feelings...

It WILL feel out of your comfort zone. You will be "confronted" with your former self, over and over. And all this will still happen after your conversion as well. The reason it takes at least a year to officially convert is because at every turn, it is creating a new self and reconciling the old self. I remember my first winter as a Jew. I was so excited to light my first hanukiah as a "real Jew" and I burst into tears at the mall over a Christmas tree. It wasn't an ounce of regret, but it was saying good bye to the "old comforts". And, I wasn't that attached to Christiantity in the first place! It is making new memories while finding a place to keep your old ones that are not you anymore, but are still important to you because they are your past. And, this is not easy. It takes time and support.

It comes back with your children. I was never a Jewish child to experience Passover, Hanukkah, etc. It takes courage to raise your children on (and IN) a faith that you do not have memories from. And, to some degree, it will come back throughout your life. I, for the first time recently came to terms with how I may need to advocate for my son (and his Jewish identity) in the schools. My husband, a born Jew, has experienced life in public school as a Jew. I have not. Again, I am in new territory. But it does get easier with that acceptance. As time goes on, it is easier to reconcile and you feel more comfortable in your "Jewish skin". But my son is living a very different life than I did. And his growing up Jewish has me ever changing as I figure out what it is to be a Jewish mother at each step. And each step is new to me.

Also, there really and truly is no rush to the conversion. The exact same things are expected of you before and after. By the time you are ready, you will be so integrated in the community that the day after will not be any different. And, G-d is happy with you both before and after. It is YOU who is changing. Honestly, by the time conversion day comes, it is more of a threshold than a leap. Allow yourself the time to go through it, enjoy the learning. Allow yourself the questioning and frustrations (Jews are cool with that ). I remember one time after a session with the rabbi just throwing up my hands and saying "All the rules! Don't you think it is a bit much?!?!?" . And him saying. "Eh. They are what they are...". And he smiled. ALL Jews grapple with the rules, what they mean, how we live them (and, truth be told, occasionally are frustrated by them). Converts do that even more so. And that is good. If you're accepting everything and never wonder why, if you never question others, etc... You're doing it wrong .

During some parts of the conversion process, I looked toward the end- "When I'm a Jew..." and you know what? The day after the conversion, I was the same me. I know that I emerged from the mikveh officially a Jew, but I had "really" become a Jew somewhere before that. It is not a sudden turn. It is a slow one. And it is a "forever" process. The day after you convert, you will STILL be learning Hebrew, STILL be reading, STILL be asking people to tell you what the biddies are saying in Yiddish . And you may still very well feel different than what you think the born Jews feel. And... that is OK.

You will experience life as a minority- but a very visible one. You mentioned you were not part of the Christian mainstream, but being a Jew will be different still. You will start to see the more subtle aspects of discrimination. Even if you thought yourself pretty empathetic, when people make jokes or you see a swastika, it will be different. And, as a Jew, you will be in a position where you MUST speak up, where people will expect that, and will look to you to interpret "How Jews feel.". You will find yourself "The Jew" and realize that to the larger (non-Jewish) community, you are a "representative" and it becomes yet another identity, another role to assume and figure out.

You will find yourself surprised along the way. For example, I watched Schindlers List as a college student. I remember thinking "Aw. That's sad. How terrible." and it faded in my memory. A few years later (after my conversion, before I was a mother) it was on a re-run on TV and I found myself watching it. I felt like I had been punched. I burst into tears. I was afraid. I was angry like I had never been. Outraged. Wounded. Sickened. My heart was breaking. That little girl in the red dress who wanders the streets and in the end is in a pile of bodies- she is MY little girl. Those men, my husband. Those women, my friends. Me. It turns, and it can sneak up from behind what it really means to be adopted into this Jewish family.

And, there is this issue of faith. Though I more of a "default Christian", the idea is that if you have faith, you're fine. As a Jew, it's not quite that way. It is more about plugging through with the community knowing that our individual faith and relationship with G-d will have its ups and downs. So, those first times when you go to services and just find yourself thinking "Eh, I just am not into it and want to go home." or "I didn't really say that prayer and feel it." Or, even more profound issues- "How could G-d have let the holocaust happen?" it feels like a personal crisis. I once told my rabbi (with me all in a panic) "I'm not sure what I think about G-d..." He told me "That's your own business! You just come to services every week." The idea is that we are ALLOWED to question. Not every prayer will connect. We will have times when our faith is at a low. And if we keep going, keep praying, keep being involved... it comes back. And we have learned something. That the prayer we do in a rote fashion tonight may, in the future, strike us and come alive. That our relationship with G-d is personal, and has aspects that are private. And that life and faith has its ups and downs and through it we look not only to G-d but each other.

OK, enough for tonight...

Good luck.
post #55 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by alexsam View Post
I converted to Judaism (conservative). My husband is a born Jew. For all the "rules", you will really have to talk to your rabbi (we can give ideas and our experiences, but when it comes to the official stuff, it will be the rabbi who will have the final word), but I thought I would share a bit of the feelings...

It WILL feel out of your comfort zone. You will be "confronted" with your former self, over and over. And all this will still happen after your conversion as well. The reason it takes at least a year to officially convert is because at every turn, it is creating a new self and reconciling the old self. I remember my first winter as a Jew. I was so excited to light my first hanukiah as a "real Jew" and I burst into tears at the mall over a Christmas tree. It wasn't an ounce of regret, but it was saying good bye to the "old comforts". And, I wasn't that attached to Christiantity in the first place! It is making new memories while finding a place to keep your old ones that are not you anymore, but are still important to you because they are your past. And, this is not easy. It takes time and support.

It comes back with your children. I was never a Jewish child to experience Passover, Hanukkah, etc. It takes courage to raise your children on (and IN) a faith that you do not have memories from. And, to some degree, it will come back throughout your life. I, for the first time recently came to terms with how I may need to advocate for my son (and his Jewish identity) in the schools. My husband, a born Jew, has experienced life in public school as a Jew. I have not. Again, I am in new territory. But it does get easier with that acceptance. As time goes on, it is easier to reconcile and you feel more comfortable in your "Jewish skin". But my son is living a very different life than I did. And his growing up Jewish has me ever changing as I figure out what it is to be a Jewish mother at each step. And each step is new to me.

Also, there really and truly is no rush to the conversion. The exact same things are expected of you before and after. By the time you are ready, you will be so integrated in the community that the day after will not be any different. And, G-d is happy with you both before and after. It is YOU who is changing. Honestly, by the time conversion day comes, it is more of a threshold than a leap. Allow yourself the time to go through it, enjoy the learning. Allow yourself the questioning and frustrations (Jews are cool with that ). I remember one time after a session with the rabbi just throwing up my hands and saying "All the rules! Don't you think it is a bit much?!?!?" . And him saying. "Eh. They are what they are...". And he smiled. ALL Jews grapple with the rules, what they mean, how we live them (and, truth be told, occasionally are frustrated by them). Converts do that even more so. And that is good. If you're accepting everything and never wonder why, if you never question others, etc... You're doing it wrong .

During some parts of the conversion process, I looked toward the end- "When I'm a Jew..." and you know what? The day after the conversion, I was the same me. I know that I emerged from the mikveh officially a Jew, but I had "really" become a Jew somewhere before that. It is not a sudden turn. It is a slow one. And it is a "forever" process. The day after you convert, you will STILL be learning Hebrew, STILL be reading, STILL be asking people to tell you what the biddies are saying in Yiddish . And you may still very well feel different than what you think the born Jews feel. And... that is OK.

You will experience life as a minority- but a very visible one. You mentioned you were not part of the Christian mainstream, but being a Jew will be different still. You will start to see the more subtle aspects of discrimination. Even if you thought yourself pretty empathetic, when people make jokes or you see a swastika, it will be different. And, as a Jew, you will be in a position where you MUST speak up, where people will expect that, and will look to you to interpret "How Jews feel.". You will find yourself "The Jew" and realize that to the larger (non-Jewish) community, you are a "representative" and it becomes yet another identity, another role to assume and figure out.

You will find yourself surprised along the way. For example, I watched Schindlers List as a college student. I remember thinking "Aw. That's sad. How terrible." and it faded in my memory. A few years later (after my conversion, before I was a mother) it was on a re-run on TV and I found myself watching it. I felt like I had been punched. I burst into tears. I was afraid. I was angry like I had never been. Outraged. Wounded. Sickened. My heart was breaking. That little girl in the red dress who wanders the streets and in the end is in a pile of bodies- she is MY little girl. Those men, my husband. Those women, my friends. Me. It turns, and it can sneak up from behind what it really means to be adopted into this Jewish family.

And, there is this issue of faith. Though I more of a "default Christian", the idea is that if you have faith, you're fine. As a Jew, it's not quite that way. It is more about plugging through with the community knowing that our individual faith and relationship with G-d will have its ups and downs. So, those first times when you go to services and just find yourself thinking "Eh, I just am not into it and want to go home." or "I didn't really say that prayer and feel it." Or, even more profound issues- "How could G-d have let the holocaust happen?" it feels like a personal crisis. I once told my rabbi (with me all in a panic) "I'm not sure what I think about G-d..." He told me "That's your own business! You just come to services every week." The idea is that we are ALLOWED to question. Not every prayer will connect. We will have times when our faith is at a low. And if we keep going, keep praying, keep being involved... it comes back. And we have learned something. That the prayer we do in a rote fashion tonight may, in the future, strike us and come alive. That our relationship with G-d is personal, and has aspects that are private. And that life and faith has its ups and downs and through it we look not only to G-d but each other.

OK, enough for tonight...

Good luck.




That was an outrageously great post.
Thanks for taking the time to type it out.

post #56 of 64
Thread Starter 
Yes thank you for that post! It was very meaningful. I am so sick with a terrible headcold right now that I can hardly think to type... but when I saw this sitting in my inbox saying there was a new reply i just had to read it and I am so glad I did. I very much understand what you are saying. in such a short time everything has so much more meaning. the antisemitic comments I used to hear in passing would really bother me, often I would speak up against people on such nonsense. now, it doesn't just bother me, it hurts me deeply. etc etc etc.

forgive my lack of reply, the headcold... you know. all stuffy and everything. but my heart just is full of meaning. thank you for this post! I need that encouragement that the things I am going through and what I am feeling is to be expected. I do get down feeling like I will never belong anywhere. and it is SO hard trying to teach the kids things I never knew grow up (and hardly know now!). I fumble through so many things and I fee a pang of envy and those who grew up knowing this.... but i know I have my place. It's just not the same as many of those around me, but it's stil important.
post #57 of 64
Thread Starter 

Hi all. It's been about a year and a half since I was here last :)  I wanted to give a little update--I'm now living in a Jewish community with my family and at the tail-end of an Orthodox conversion. It's been an EXHAUSTING journey to say the very least (you all were not joking when you said that converted orthodox was hard! It truly is a lot of hard work.) But I am very glad to finally be this far in. We're in a great and supportive community. We really like our Beis Din a lot and our supporting Rabbi is very kind and encouraging to us. It's going to be a while before we all feel fully "integrated", but I think that goes without saying. All in all, we're glad to be here.

 

I just wanted to say a big thank you to all of you who challenged, encouraged and supported me through my journey. You have been a true blessing to me!

 

I am now pregnant with number four, BH, so I am back to the forums again in the homebirthing/UC areas. Because so much has changed in my personal life, I wanted to start afresh with a new username. I am now posting under my Hebrew name--Tzipporah.  Look for me! :)

 

-Laura/Tzipporah

post #58 of 64

I just wanted to say CONGRADS on the new baby!!! Also happy to your where you wanted to be.

post #59 of 64
Thread Starter 

Thanks! :)

 

post #60 of 64

Mazal tov, Tzipporah and b'shaa tovah on your pregnancy!  What an amazing journey.

 

 

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