Converting to Judaism- need advice - Page 5 - Mothering Forums

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Old 06-25-2007, 09:29 PM
 
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Anna,

I am still reading through but I will PM you the link to an article she wrote that was printed in "Israel National News".

~SJ




Question: Do all Lubavitchers believe that the Rebbe was/is the Messiah?
I'm not Lubavitch but I think it's only a small minority that still believes he is the Moshiach (Messiah).
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Old 06-25-2007, 10:15 PM
 
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SJ
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Old 06-25-2007, 10:36 PM
 
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I am Lubavitch, and can tell you that I definitely do not believe that the Rebbe is Moshiach.

I do believe that there is a Moshiach in every generation and that when we are ready he will be revealed. IMO, the Rebbe was the Moshiach of our generation, but for whatever reason we were not ready yet and he was not it. When he died, that to me is proof that he is not Moshiach.

At this point, no one is Moshiach, since we are still in golus (exile). I sure wish who ever it is would hurry up and get here though. I want to go HOME!

The book "The Rebbe's Army" by Sue Fishkoff is an excellent book about the Lubavitch movement and has quite a bit on this topic. Fishkoff is not Lubavitch, but was given a lot of access in her research.
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Old 06-26-2007, 12:30 AM
 
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Thank you, Yonit. I was trying to figure out how to explain that many people felt the Lubavitcher Rebbe had the potential to be Moshiach. You explained it better than I could.
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Old 06-26-2007, 02:27 AM
 
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I wondered if that was a good book.

SJ, we can't quote people's private emails/PMs here without their express permission.
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Old 06-26-2007, 03:38 AM
 
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I read the Fishkoff book and found it excellent. We're not Lubavitch either, but have a kesher with them, sort of like cousins. (Our rebbe was a khasid of the Previous Rebbe, and one of the Last Rebbe's very first shlukhim, though he did not remain with Lubavitch.) And our kids all went to the local Chabad preschool in the States, which was wonderful.
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Old 06-26-2007, 06:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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SJ, we can't quote people's private emails/PMs here without their express permission.
Thanks mamaverdi, I was wondering about that as I typed. I didn't post her links because her name is evident and I wanted to respect her privacy. I have edited to summarize.


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Originally Posted by yonit View Post
I am Lubavitch, and can tell you that I definitely do not believe that the Rebbe is Moshiach.
Yonit, thanks for clarifying. I have never heard this or anything like this at my shul, but keep reading online many negative comments about Lubavitchers veering off from normative Judaism with a false messiah as did Christianity. So I wanted to be clear.


Anna- I am sending you more links.


Yesterday another lovely thing happened.

Background: About a year and a half before I decided to convert I visited a Holocaust Museum and ended up spending the day there. The director was quite impressed that I was studying for personal interest only and when I was leaving he gave me his card and said that if I ever needed a letter or reference of any sort for my future university studies, he would willingly provide it. We kept in touch via email and once I went to a book talk he gave on Aharon Appelfeld, an Israeli writer. The very day I decided to convert, he was the only Jewish person I knew so I emailed him and he was very positive. Though he was a secular Jew, he married and raised his children as Orthodox.

Every few months I would update him but it's now been about a year so I decided to write an email at the same time I sent one to the woman discussed above. (I was cleaning out my folders in 2 email accounts). I wrote that I was looking to move into the community and specifically where and which shul I wanted to attend. He wrote me back saying... Yasher Koach! <yes, I had to look up what that meant > and told me that he knew someone just a few doors down from there and that he would connect us. It made me so happy. Although it seems like a small thing, I just feel that everything is working out now that I am making active steps to move. I was like this all day yesterday. I felt high (and no I have never been!). Have you ever felt like the universe was aligning itself just for you??? That's how I feel!


Any lurkers that are in the process of converting? Please jump in!


~SJ
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Old 06-26-2007, 07:17 PM
 
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Good luck with your spiritual journey.
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Old 06-26-2007, 08:15 PM
 
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Yonit, thanks for clarifying. I have never heard this or anything like this at my shul, but keep reading online many negative comments about Lubavitchers veering off from normative Judaism with a false messiah as did Christianity. So I wanted to be clear.
SJ -

There most definitely are some Lubavitchers who believe that the Rebbe is Moshiach - they are called Messichists. I am not trying to tell you there aren't. There are actually quite a few in my community- some of my closest friends even. But it definitely concerns me. As some of them are so passionate about it that I wonder about a lot of things.

First - what does it really matter who Moshiach is? I just want him to come. If it is the Rebbe, great. But if it isn't, I'll be just as happy.

Second - Right now the messichists are still Jewish. They are generally very observant of the halacha, they don't believe the Rebbe is a G-d, Semi-G-d or Son of G-d or anything like that, c"vs. They still only pray to Hashem and aren't really practicing idolatry. But I think they walk a fine line. And I have to wonder what their grandchildren will believe. I also wonder if this is how it started with Yashke. It seems that people of his generation didn't necessarily see him as part of G-d either and that happened a couple of generations later. Will the messichists be a new religion in 100 years? It seems very possible.

I have also seen them get so worked up over it, they they lose sight of the bigger picture. I have heard some speak lashon hara about those who don't agree -and just to be clear I have heard non-messichists speak lashon hara about them as well. I have been the witness to a long "discussion" between messichists and non-messichists that went on well past midnight during the counting of the omer. They were so wrapped up in the discussion that many people there didn't count the omer that night (I did). I think when you are putting messichism above doing mitzvahs there is a problem...

All that being said, I have been known to put a letter in the Iggeros (Rebbe's letters) but I don't believe that he is interceding to write to me. I daven at the Ohel (Rebbe's grave) when I am able to, and I do get spiritual comfort by doing so, but honestly I like to daven at my MILs grave better. I never met her as she passed 20 years ago, but I feel a great spiritual "calmness" when I am there.

To me, it is completely illogical to call the Rebbe the Moshiach - or anyone else for that matter. There is NO moshiach right now since we are still in golus. When that changes, THEN there will be a moshiach and not until.


All of that being said, I think Chabad Lubavitch has a TON to offer new gerot (converts). We are welcoming and really want to reach out and meet you where you are at. And the best Shluchim will not try to push any agenda on you. Even if you do not become Lubavitch, I would highly recommend connecting with a local Chabad house.

I hope I didn't confuse you further. I am sort of a rebel Chabadnik :
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Old 07-01-2007, 11:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The Director of the Beis Din emailed me on Friday. I will be meeting with the Rabbi this week to discuss my conversion. I will let you know how it goes.

Yonit- Thanks for the detailed reply. It makes sense and I think that my shul takes the stand that he was not Moshiach based on discussions we have had in our ladies group but they do have a deep respect for all that he accomplished.

Miriam- Thanks for the well wishes.

I really appreciate everyone's input. It helps so much.
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Old 07-01-2007, 12:56 PM
 
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Good luck StarJune!

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 13(homeschooled)
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Old 07-01-2007, 05:06 PM
 
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Good luck!
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Old 07-03-2007, 04:18 AM
 
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I have a question. How do one learn to deal with antiSemitism as a convert?
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Old 07-03-2007, 05:25 AM
 
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Same way you deal with it as a born-Jew ...



Learn to curse in Yiddish.












:
















Ahem.












:







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Old 07-03-2007, 05:58 AM
 
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I am sort of a rebel Chabadnik :
I don't think so. I think a lot of Chabadniks feel the way you do (at least in part). We just keep our mouths shut much of the time because we don't feel like dealing with pushy and defensive Messichists who are convinced that only they know what the Rebbe said/meant/wanted.
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Old 07-03-2007, 08:39 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yonit
I daven at the Ohel (Rebbe's grave) when I am able to, and I do get spiritual comfort by doing so, but honestly I like to daven at my MILs grave better. I never met her as she passed 20 years ago, but I feel a great spiritual "calmness" when I am there..


I only davened at the Ohel once. It was the night before I went to the mikva after a year of being married and not conceiving. We finally got pregnant that month, too. (That pregnancy didn't last, but it *was* a pregnancy.)







And no, I'm not a Chabadnik.







Just in re davening at graves, the most powerful davening experience of my life was in a cave in Tzfat (six months before going to the Ohel) that's the grave of Chana and her seven sons.



That was OT, but just thought of it. Sorry 'bout the tangent.
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Old 07-03-2007, 10:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Re: Cursing in Yiddish

: :

I will never say "you jerk" again to the driver in front of me when I can say- "He should be transformed into a chandelier, to hang by day and to burn by night." Off to learn how to pronounce it in Yiddish .


Re:Anti-Semitism

Can you explain more mamaverdi? Do you mean how will we react once it happens to us? Or did converts have to deal with their own anti-Semitic beliefs?

I remember awhile ago someone close to me made a very anti-Semitic remark. I had no clue that they would feel that way. I was SO angry and could not let it go. It was then that I realized that I identified with the Jewish people. I have always been aware of injustice (I cried like a baby during the movie Hotel Rwanda) but that comment he made hit me on a personal level and I cannot even remember if it was before or after I decided to convert.



I am meeting with the Rabbi on Thursday at 10:30am. Wish me well.


~SJ
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Old 07-04-2007, 02:11 AM
 
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I wish you well.

I mean finding that Anti-Semitism is MUCH more pervasive than your basic injustice awareness could prepare you for.

In your liberal minded friends, and favorite talkshow hosts, and media outlets. In songs, on bulletin boards, in parenting groups.

I remember being so. so. I don't know. shocked.

I still don't know exactly how to handle it. But cursing in Yiddish is an excellent idea.

And praying at graves for that matter.
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Old 07-04-2007, 09:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for explaining mamaverdi. I know that I see things so much more clearly now and I am sure that it will increase. For example when Mel's The Passion came out I was a Christian yet I knew that *I* would not hate Jewish people because of it. But I was naive in underestimating the hatred it would stir up- which it did. Then when Mel had his tirade it was more than evident what his motivation was in making the film :.

So I need to be more aware of having a new perspective as I associate myself within my community.

And the years and years of bitter, ingrained hatred of the Jews to the point of not only subjugating (as in racism) but planning for the actual annihilation of a people is beyond my comprehension.

I think that it is incredibly hard to be anti-racist and anti-semitic etc. in the culture in which we live. I have no clue how I will handle another level of ignorance towards me.

Maybe someone else has more ideas...


~SJ
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Old 07-04-2007, 02:16 PM
 
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merpk:

I always enjoyed a book entitled, Yiddish for Yankees by Martin Marcus.

"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic."
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Old 07-06-2007, 12:02 AM
 
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Interesting. Was this an Orthodox rav? I guess I am concerned that if I don't do it all "right" initially that it will be more difficult later. But taking it in steps is a possibility. I have no problem doing it, I just want to understand more.
~SJ
No, it's definitely easier to do it a step at a time, and it isn't unusual for a rav to say to a convert or BT to do it that way (too much too fast can end up with you backsliding and ending up where you began).

I would start with:
1) only buying kosher food
2) not cooking milk and meat together (working up towards not serving it together)

This way, you can get used to kosher cooking and planning without worrying about keeping the forks and plates straight. THEN, when you've got that down, you kasher your kitchen properly (talk to a rav before doing this of course, so it's done properly and you know which items can be kashered and which have to be replaced). The practical management of a kosher kitchen is definitely the harder part, so it's good to get into the right mindset, where you don't automatically reach for the butter when you're cooking a roast dinner.

DD 01/2007, DS 09/2011

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Old 07-08-2007, 12:14 AM
 
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Also, if you are still in the conversion process, it might be recommended to wait to kasher your kitchen until after the conversion. This is because many foods must be cooked by a Jew to retain their kosher status. Obviously this would be hard to do if the person/people doing the cooking aren't Jewish (yet). So even if your kitchen and food and preparation are all totally kosher, there is the possibllity that once you cook the food everything will become non-kosher.
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Old 07-09-2007, 04:02 PM
 
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Lots of luck to you with your conversion and your journey. Your story sounds quite interesting.
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Old 07-10-2007, 03:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am still here. I was discouraged by my meeting with the Rabbi. It was everything I was expecting so I am not sure why it was so hard. I am just processing everything. I am still determined and planning the move. Guess I will update more later.
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Old 07-10-2007, 03:41 PM
 
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I'm sorry it was so hard for you. Feel free to update us when you're ready.
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Old 07-12-2007, 01:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Now that I have had time to think more about the meeting I will write my thoughts.


The rabbi was very kind and questioned me about my background, coming to this decision and gave me lots of warnings of how difficult it would be. I have thought of how difficult it will be but it was still hard to hear him basically say No, don’t do it.

He said:
You can be a good Noahide
Not everyone has to be Jewish
You will never be able to eat at your family’s house or celebrate certain things with them
Being observant is very hard
There is so much to learn
It affects every area of your life…

All of this I knew and had accepted.

The one thing that caught me off guard was his insistence that I may not like Jewish life. He made a joke about maybe I wouldn’t like cholent, and then proceeded to ask if I knew what that was , which I did!

To be honest that has never crossed my mind. Ever. Never ever. I just feel 100% confident in my decision.

I wrote this to my friend that I spoke of above:


“I had a meeting yesterday with the director of the beis din who will be handling my conversion. He discussed the Jewish life and asked so many questions about me being ready to take on the responsibilities. He mentioned that I can be a good gentile or Noahide. But I just cannot do that. I must live a Jewish life. I was so discouraged at first but then I realize that he must say that to prepare me and make sure that I am committed. So I feel a bit sad, but also determined!”


It’s very hard right now—being in-between 2 worlds.



When I say thanks for your posts I really mean it! Until I get settled in the community this is what encourages me.
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Old 07-12-2007, 02:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks B'Y and Alexis for the tips on keeping kosher. My type "A" perfectionistic personality wants to do it all correctly immediately . Your comments brings me back to reality and it makes sense to take it in steps. My local grocery store has one aisle of kosher goods but I plan to drive to another part of the city to get some kosher meat. And I had no clue that I had to wait to kasher my kitchen. I hope to get a teacher once I move so I can sort out all these practical things that are not in the books. At least I have you guys until then. :

Sara, you are always so encouraging.

applejuice, I tried to PM you.

mamaverdi, I know that as I tell more people of my decision, I will begin to feel the hatred.

Ruthla, I need all the support I can get!

Chavi, thanks .



I recently joined a Jewish AP board and I cannot tell you the differences in parenting between my Christian background and what I am learning there. (Hope I did not say too much). I was raised with spanking, shaming, fearmongering etc and it was built into the religion so it was never questioned. Now I am reading of how important it is not to even embarrass our children in front of others! This is so novel to me. Especially since AP has always been my heart but I was so mocked and criticized for it and no one practiced it around me. It is refreshing to read of things that I believed in and never had support to follow. MDC has been great for this too.

~SJ
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Old 07-12-2007, 02:59 PM
 
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I'm sorry the meeting was so hard on you. I am not a convert myself but from what I know, we turn converts away (which you knew) before accepting them. I will just say that based on knowing a number of converts, they have been welcomed into my community no differently than any "born Jewish" individual. Whether a convert will personally feel different, I don't know. I just know how our community doesn't differentiate between one Jew and another.

By the way, there is a great book on parenting written from a Torah perspective that is so intuned to AP. There are actually a number of wonderful Jewish parenting books (even those that don't consider themselves "AP") that speak about how one needs to be gentle with children.

I also will second (or third, or fourth...) the need to take on kashrus and other things slowly. It may help to see how someone who is already religious does it (ie see how their kitchen is set up).
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Old 07-12-2007, 06:30 PM
 
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Hi StarJune, sorry I have been out of the loop. (Kids, summer etc.)

Anyway, I've heard your basically turned down 3 times before your really accepted. Maybe this is sort of a test?

No offence to any mama here, as all of you all know so much more that me. I just want to encourage you SJ, as this is where your heart is leading you. It must be your heaven on earth.

We are leading towards joining the consersative congregation here. Sort of working out the details, talking with the Rabbi, everyone will have to go to the mikveh, take more classes etc. Dh seems to be on board (surprise) but I worry about my teenager.

I wanted to put dd in Jewish Day School. But that isn't going to happen, as it is way to expensive. So.....just doing the best I can. That's all any of us can do. What is right for you.
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Old 07-12-2007, 06:54 PM
 
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StarJune--don't be too discouraged and don't take it personally. Conversion is a hard thing, and being a Jew is demanding. Many rabbis will use these discouraging tactics so they can be sure you're really committed to it and all the work it will take. Meet with him again so you can convince him you're sincere and not starry-eyed (or at least not too starry eyed to see things clearly, iykwim!)

DD 01/2007, DS 09/2011

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