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#1 of 245 Old 05-10-2007, 09:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi all!

I am in the process of converting to Judaism and would like encouragement, stories and helpful advice. A few of us are over in the Jewish Mamas Tribe and it would be great to have a place of our own to converse. Hopefully some of those experienced mamas might pop in to help too.

My first question is how long did the process take? I have been told that depends on individual circumstances but it is about one year. Also, how was it to initially move into the community? I am at the beginning of the process of converting and am just preparing to move into the community so I can fully observe shabbat. Also, how did your families manage? And what was your religious background before and how did that influence your decisions?

So just general questions... any input, even from Jewish people will be helpful.

Thanks
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#2 of 245 Old 05-10-2007, 10:58 AM
 
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Hi Lexy

I want to tag along if you don't mind. Sorry I'll be no help to you. I converted "Reform" about 14-15 yrs ago. I know there is a hugh difference, but I'm looking to fine tune some ruff edges here.

My family is Independent Fundmental Baptist. Oh boy.... they didn't talk to me for 10 yrs, never acknowleged my children. In the last couple of yrs things are better. They are making their second visit to us in a couple of weeks. It will be bitter/sweet I'm afraid. Did I mention my dad is a pastor?

DH was born/raised Jewish, but isn't very religious.....So I'm trying to get us on the right track. DS did Bar Mitzvah last year, reform, tho.

But, Lexy I'm totally supporting you. I Love, Love, Love the Jewish thinking on life. And the way the Chabbad folks teach the young. Stay focused, and be patient with your family. Explain as much as you can, so they will support you. My family, doesn't want to learn. But if your family will listen, I bet they will be there for you. Sorry so long.
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#3 of 245 Old 05-10-2007, 11:13 AM
 
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I converted Reform when I was pg. with my son.

I got a lot of questions from my family, mostly along the lines of "Why would you want to do *that*?" (That is an example of one of the nicer ways it was put to me.)

Well, to make a long story short, my spirituality connects better with Judaism than with the religion I was raised in (Methodist). Also, my husband is Jewish and although he was raised Conservative, lives a fairly secular life now. But his Judaism is a very important part of his identity and personality. We wanted our family to be a unified religion. That last part is the part I have stressd to my family of origin when they qeustion me and I try to explain...they instilled in me the value of family, family unity and belief in G-d. I have carried all those lessons through life with me and this (Judaism) is how I have chosen to share all of that with my new family.

I love Jewish traditions and spirituality. Judaism resonates with me.

I'm very curious to see what other mamas out the have to say...
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#4 of 245 Old 05-11-2007, 03:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I Love, Love, Love the Jewish thinking on life. And the way the Chabbad folks teach the young.
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Originally Posted by Isaac'sMa View Post
Well, to make a long story short, my spirituality connects better with Judaism than with the religion I was raised in... AND
... I love Jewish traditions and spirituality. Judaism resonates with me.
This really struck a cord with me. Judaism resonates as truth to me too. I feel like now everything makes sense, in terms of THIS is how my Creator wants me to live. Not that I won't have questions but I always felt like : when I saw how things were done in my Christian church.

Anna, I am so sad that your family took ten years to acknowledge your choice. That must have been hard.


I know there are differences in Reform conversions but is it still the one year time frame of being observant?
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#5 of 245 Old 05-12-2007, 02:02 PM
 
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Yes, roughly a year, though when I was living in St. Louis, I was told it could be a short as 8 months. Then there are "quick conversions" where it's a weekend of workshops etc ending with the mikveh and that's it. You also pay a lot of money for this type of conversion. It just depends how you'd like to do it and of course, which branch of Judaism you are converting to. The "quick conversion" would not be considered halackially (spelling??) correct, but then again I don't believe that an Orthodox person would accept a Reform conversion as true to halacha anyway. Someone correct me if I'm wrong...

I am more of a "spirit of the law" type of person and I was fine having a Reform conversion, in spite of what other (more conservative) Jews may say. I am not a literalist by any stretch of the imagination in my religious/spiritual life or otherwise. I live a good and ethical life within the basic principles of Judaism and follow as many laws as I feel pertain to modern life and I am happy with my life that way.

What branch are you converting to? How did you "discover" Judaism? Have you talked to your family about being Jewish?
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#6 of 245 Old 05-12-2007, 05:43 PM
 
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Hi, Isaac'sma.

You're right, Orthodoxy *and* the Conservative movement don't recognize Reform conversions.




Don't get annoyed with me ... am just feeling like pointing out that there's only one Jewish people ... so maybe I'm weirded out by the wording "branch you're converting to," like it's a different religion/people. It's not. Different ways of looking at things, but one people/religion. More inclusive would be maybe converting to Judaism "under the auspices of the [blank] movement," or "with a [fill in the denomination] rabbi" or whatever.

Not meaning to stress anyone out here ... :
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#7 of 245 Old 05-12-2007, 09:38 PM
 
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To the OP:

I converted to Conservative Judaism after the birth of my three children. DH converted with me at the same time. The process took six months. We joined a community synagogue when we completed the process. All four of my children and my DH have had bar mitzvot ceremonies and celebrations.

If you want to know more, you can personal message me.

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#8 of 245 Old 05-13-2007, 09:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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[EDITED Due to harshness against the Christians that I have known. I thank G-d for the path that I took because it led me to Judaism. My main reason for conversion is that I want to follow the Torah.]

There are many other things that influenced me. I had done a bit of personal studies into Jewish history, the holocaust and knew some things about daily life but I did not personally know anyone who was Jewish. So I searched online for a synagogue and felt led to go to a chabad shul. I was amazed at how accepted I was and truly enjoyed the experience. The more I learned, the more I thought "wow", somewhere inside myself I had always believed in these things but felt a little foolish because no one else around me thought that it was necessary. I never realized that these thoughts were Jewish: like modesty, purity, shomer negia, dealing with blood. Now I was NOT following these principles as a Christian but inside my head when I thought of an ideal this is what I thought. Then when I started my book list which was given to me by the beis din, I immediately believed that it all made sense and that makes it easier for me to acknowledge the changes that I will be making in my life.

So orthodox conversion fit best with my thoughts. At the time I made the decision to convert (last year) I was still pursuing my studies and could not move into the community. I am now ready to do so and officially begin my conversion journey.

I am not close to my family so they do not have an impact. I was just curious on how others had to deal with it. I too use the word "branch of Judaism" because I did not know another way to say it. I know that it is all one religion , but I can see how others can be confused. I really hope that those that are not orthodox will still participate because I love learning about other's conversion journeys, how they think and why.

applejuice: I will pm you.
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#9 of 245 Old 05-13-2007, 07:53 PM
 
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Don't get annoyed with me ... am just feeling like pointing out that there's only one Jewish people ... so maybe I'm weirded out by the wording "branch you're converting to," like it's a different religion/people. It's not. Different ways of looking at things, but one people/religion.
Not meaning to stress anyone out here ... :
I totally agree with you. If it comes up in conversation, I am Jewish. People who have known me for a long time might ask, otherwise I do not identify that I'm a convert. I am simply Jewish. To *me* it is all the same which is why I am not a literalist. I hope this makes sense; I did not intend to offend!
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#10 of 245 Old 05-14-2007, 03:34 AM
 
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Neither did I.




To be precise also, the halakha (law) is that one is not supposed to bring up a convert's being a convert, or "remind" them, or discuss it with others.

We all had to show up at Sinai somehow, some just took more convoluted routes to get there, ya' know?
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#11 of 245 Old 05-14-2007, 03:41 AM
 
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It's not completely true that Conservative rabbis won't accept a Reform conversion. :
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#12 of 245 Old 05-14-2007, 10:00 AM
 
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m'v, that's right in that the Conservative movement allows its rabbis individual space to arrange their halakhic boundaries. So individual rabbis may. The movement itself, however, officially does not.



WhadoIknow.
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#13 of 245 Old 05-16-2007, 02:16 AM
 
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Youknowalot.
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#14 of 245 Old 05-27-2007, 09:00 PM
 
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Lexy, how are you? Hope all is going well with your conversion.
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#15 of 245 Old 05-27-2007, 10:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for asking Anna. Things are at a bit of a standstill but I am still excited. I am in the midst of trying to move into the community and then it will feel more real. I found a good website on conversion so I was reading that today and enjoyed reading of other's excitement.

One issue is getting in touch with the beis din. A few months ago I was sent an email that the rabbi that was handling my conversion is no longer doing so and they had dismantled and his assistant gave me a new email address to contact the new beis din in April. So I have emailed twice and have not gotten a response. Maybe this is the 3 time refusal???

Either way my priority is to move and get settled in the community by the end of summer and continue with my studies as I have been doing, then hope for the best. I do have the required reading list, steps, responsibilities etc., so at least I know what to do.

I do have one question though...

Currently I have been attending a chabad shul for ladies Torah studies and other events. I feel very welcomed and happy there. But last year I met a jewish friend (my first!) and was told that I should not move into that particular area because the people were not religious and it would impact my journey. Now I do NOT want to debate the different aspects of Judaism since I can see it is a sensitive topic when I read about it on other boards but want to know, should I go where I know or should I try to immerse myself more fully in a "strict" environment in order to make my conversion smoother because everyone around is fully following as I will be expected to do?

To clarify, my shul has many who are just returning to Judaism and are not very observant (at least as far as I can tell). However, I have not attended Shabbos services so I may only be seeing a skewed perspective of people who are closer to my end of the spectrum, particularly with the type of classes that I am taking. Also, I love the rebbetzin, she is very dynamic and learned so I would love to continue with her but I guess I could still do that as it is not too far away to go for weekly classes.

Decision, decisions.
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#16 of 245 Old 05-28-2007, 10:10 AM
 
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Not being a convert, am coming from a different angle ... but being a BT (ba'alat teshuva ... who became dati/religious as an adult) I am always stressed out by people warning me against being with "those" Jews because "you might be [fillintheblank] by them."


Blech.


Reason number 2 why Mashiakh hasn't come.


IMO go to the neighborhood where you feel comfortable. Find the ledge in the valley that gives you the best view of Sinai. And make yourself a teacher who speaks to *your* heart ... and let everyone else take care of their own hearts.




FWIW, I find Chabad a wonderful and comfortable place. Am not now nor will I ever be a Chabadnik ... but they've got a whole lot of space on their ledges for all kinds of folks. Which is key.
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#17 of 245 Old 05-31-2007, 10:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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merpk I am mulling over what will be best. Not just in terms of religiousness but all the other factors too. I want to be settled. I have been analyzing my reluctance to live in the "new" and unknown community. Up until a few weeks ago I was planning to move out of the country/continent and start completely fresh without any qualms, yet this step seems so daunting when it is in the city that I was raised in. I question my cautiousness and do not want to be motivated by fears- acceptance, inclusion, contentment etc.

Just blabbing my thoughts.
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#18 of 245 Old 05-31-2007, 11:22 PM
 
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#19 of 245 Old 06-01-2007, 10:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Anna.


And I want to clarify that this person is ba'alat teshuva also. They are concerned with the challenges that they have faced being the ONLY religious person in their immediate family. Definitely not a matter of "we" are better than "them", just discussing how hard simple things like celebrating at a family BBQ has been for them. They figure that especially during the conversion process, I should be around like-minded people for the ease of learning. I replied that I did not think that anything would impact my commitment and intensity but now that I am planning the move... I am giving it some thought.



Any other converts out there that had to face decisions like this?
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#20 of 245 Old 06-03-2007, 05:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just got an email from the new Director of the beis din. Yaaayyy! :
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#21 of 245 Old 06-03-2007, 08:41 PM
 
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Wishing you luck!
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#22 of 245 Old 06-04-2007, 06:08 PM
 
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We went to a Conservative Shul for Shavuot, and this week-end for services also. Very different, but we really enjoyed it. A lot to think about. I'm surprised dh went too!!

So Lexy keep us informed. Wishing you all the best. :
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#23 of 245 Old 06-06-2007, 04:03 PM
 
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#24 of 245 Old 06-07-2007, 07:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the well wishes Sara.

Anna- That's great that you experienced something different.

An interesting story:

A couple of days ago I went in to get new glasses. The fellow that was helping me was very nice and helpful. So he overheard me talking about having matzo ball soup at a particular kosher restaurant that day. Then when we were trying to schedule another day to come in, I said no to Saturday because we rest on that day. He hesitated but did not say anything. When we were leaving he gave me his card and lo and behold he had a very Jewish name. I knew that his wheels must be turning but he did not say anything.

Yesterday I called to book an appointment and the first thing he said was that he was just being nosy and "I have a question for you." He was talking to someone after I left and was considering my religious background. He said at first he assumed that I was Seventh Day Adventist but then later that well she could be Jewish... so are you? I told him about my converting and he said "WHY would you want to do THAT? At first I was a bit confused at how he said it, but later I realized that he was really curious to know why I was converting. I find this alot. I am always questioned and I never have a good answer. Saying I want to follow the Torah seems cheesy even though its true. It's just there are sooo many reasons/experiences that led me here. It would take a good half hour to explain.

I responded: Well, ummm I just think that er, this is the right way to live .



I need to find a good one liner.

Any converts experience this?

And to Jewish people, is this common? Are you really curious to know why?
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#25 of 245 Old 06-07-2007, 07:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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#26 of 245 Old 06-07-2007, 10:06 AM
 
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Ha Good question, but I always say "Why not??"

This can lead to a long discussion about the differences in faith. BUT, that's what it's all about. We're different.

I hope someone else has a good answer, I may need to change mine!! :
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#27 of 245 Old 06-07-2007, 11:07 AM
 
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Great thread!

Gentle mod reminder that this is not a thread about circumcision; threads on religious circumcision (which is *not* the same as routine infant circumcision!) are hosted with a great deal of mod oversight. Any discussion of religious circumcision needs to be very, very respectful of other posters and of the User Agreement and the Religious Studies Forum guidelines.

Any questions or concerns? Feel free to PM me.

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#28 of 245 Old 06-07-2007, 12:29 PM
 
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:

This makes me a little teary (in a good way) every time I read it...

The Kindest Un-Cut
Feminism, Judaism, and My Son's Foreskin


Mothering.Com also has an article.

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#29 of 245 Old 06-07-2007, 12:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Gentle mod reminder that this is not a thread about circumcision
BOLD MINE

I erased my previous post because I did not want this thread to be derailed. If you have input on conversion... please share. If not, there are tons of other places to debate circumcision (religious and otherwise).

Back to regularly scheduled programming .
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#30 of 245 Old 06-07-2007, 01:03 PM
 
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BOLD MINE

I erased my previous post because I did not want this thread to be derailed. If you have input on conversion... please share. If not, there are tons of other places to debate circumcision (religious and otherwise).

Back to regularly scheduled programming .


I have no intentions of 'debating' circumcision in this thread, but I do think it's an issue that anyone converting may want to consider, especially if they plan to have (more) children. It's a controversial topic, but something many on MDC feel strongly about. The links simply give an alternative viewpoint.



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