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To want to convert to Judaism?

(51 Posts)
indiraisindiaisindira Tue 11-Oct-16 13:25:24

No partner.
Parents are non religious Christian. I was baptised.
I have one great grandfather who was Jewish from New York, the odd Jew in the family tree, but nothing to make me at all culturally Jewish.

Strangely, the odd person has thought I was Jewish/or my sister. Despite us being dark blonde.

I have always felt an attraction to the religion. I share their values. I get along much better with Jewish people than others on a whole. I like to read up on their history, religion etc. I really think the religion would give me comfort.

passingthrough1 Tue 11-Oct-16 13:27:36

Do you believe in it?

MLGs Tue 11-Oct-16 13:33:50

That's what i was going to say passing

Do you believe in it, Op?

Ratonastick Tue 11-Oct-16 13:37:54

My advice is to go and talk to your local rabbi and ask him to help you meet other people in your local shul. Also think about the branch of Judaism you want to follow. Hasidic, Sephardi or orthodox communities are very different to reform congregations. Conversion is a difficult process and is about assimilating into a new culture as much as the religious and ceremonial stuff. Judaism (for me anyway) is about family and shared heritage which is hard to come to unless you marry into the faith. You should also think about the history of persecution and anti-semitism, it is a very live part of being Jewish. Many of us, including me, have a background feeling that the nazi holocaust may not be the last.

I can't comment about being drawn to the faith as I have never made an active decision about it. I tend to consider myself a very unobservant and non practising Jew, but still very much a Jew.

user1469914265 Tue 11-Oct-16 13:40:52

Why don't you make an appointment to go to temple and speak with a rabbi about your interest.
I'm sure that while they would never encourage you to convert directly to Judaism they'd be more than happy to discuss your interest in the faith and you could perhaps find some opportunities to become more involved in the community.

user1466690252 Tue 11-Oct-16 13:43:46

raton what makes you think that the nazi holacaust may not be the last? Not being disrespectful just genuinely intetested as i cannot imagine feeling that. I am not jewish tho

KC225 Tue 11-Oct-16 13:46:25

Don't they refuse you three times, but that may have just been TV talk on Sex and the City.

I was a PA to a Jewish guy for 6 years and only left to have a baby. I did find it all fascinating
Good luck OP

SomethingOnce Tue 11-Oct-16 13:51:23

Funnily enough, I totally get this OP.

Have you read about 'cultural Judaism'? Variously defined but quite an interesting concept.

Anyway, my understanding is that Judaism isn't big on conversion (not that it's exclusive per se, it's just that it's not a convert-gathering religion) and you have to work quite hard at it.

Shalom smile

CalmYaTits Tue 11-Oct-16 13:59:08

Surely you can be friends with Jewish people if you aren't Jewish confused You can still share similar values without labelling yourself.

UpWithPup Tue 11-Oct-16 14:00:27

I don't think you necessarily need to 'believe' right away OP, I certainly went to church for a number of years before I would have said that. Just be curious, try and approach a local Synagogue and see if they have someone you could speak with.

Ratonastick Tue 11-Oct-16 14:05:50

To reply to Userxxx, because anti Semitism and persecution is a constant through history. The Shoah was numerically the greatest period of persecution and murder but it was by no means the first and I don't believe it will be the last. Anti semitism is often hidden behind being anti-Israel / pro Palestine sentiment (which I do have sympathy with) or seen as a lesser form of racism. My former work refused to treat a reference to me as "the yid bird" in front of a client as racism as they felt it was just a descriptive reference based on my religion. There is an increase in general hatred of "others" from the likes of UKIP and we have seen a rise in anti Semitic attacks. I have been told to go back where I came from as I have a Eastern European sounding name but I come from Croydon! It leaves you with the unsettling feeling that this is how the next one will start. And bear in mind that many people my age have or had Grandparents who survived the Shoah or, far worse, who died in the camps and have grown up with an acute awareness that it is very recent memory.

SomethingOnce Tue 11-Oct-16 14:15:33

Of course, Rat. It's an entirely understandable response to the individual and collective trauma of genocide.

Ratonastick Tue 11-Oct-16 14:24:01

It's also about the bullshit that gets targeted at Jews sometimes. A good example is the recent furore about World Holocaust Day being for Jews only and not recognising all the people who were murdered. It just isn't true, World Holocaust Day is very importantly and very specifically about remembering everyone yet intelligent and politically aware people made an anti Semitic point by presenting it as the opposite. We are still very much an "other" community despite generations of fairly genial assimilation.

EssentialHummus Tue 11-Oct-16 14:25:51

I get along much better with Jewish people than others on a whole.

I'm glad someone finds us easy to get along with grin!

OP, I'd suggest you find your local liberal/reform synagogue and ask the rabbi for a chat. You won't be the first person in your situation and they'll be able to include you in courses, services and whatever else. You probably know this, but there is a wiiiide spectrum of Judaism from the blackest of black hat types to gay Jewish couples who wouldn't be recognised by the former, to those who identify as "culturally Jewish" but don't observe many religious laws.

BTW, tonight is Yom Kippur. No pressure, but you have about two hours to cook a three course meal for 12 even if you're on your own, mumble a few prayers and fast for 25 hours grin. Thankfully the rest of the holidays are eating-only. smile

TimeIhadaNameChange Tue 11-Oct-16 14:33:18

I know how you feel, though I've never wanted to convert. But, despite being brought up CofE I felt much more at ease the few times I went to Synaogue services with friends than I ever have felt being in a church. The whole atmosphere seemed more 'real' to me, despite me not understanding what they (and I) were saying.

I'm not sure I've ever felt as calm as I did there.

FlameGrower Tue 11-Oct-16 14:40:12

Doesn't it take years to convert? They really make you work for it.

amusedbush Tue 11-Oct-16 14:53:16


I love the painting used in that Wiki article, the guy at the front-right looks so done with everyone's shit grin

EssentialHummus Tue 11-Oct-16 14:57:29

Ha! He really does grin

VeryPunny Tue 11-Oct-16 14:57:37

I know what you mean - I find Judaism eminently sensible and very, well, satisfying.

IIRC there's no big drive to convert as being Jewish puts you under obligation to obey the 613 mitzvot, whereas non Jews only need to obey 7 of them (mitzvot are commandments). So why would you encourage people to work harder than they have to, at something they may fail at? You don't have to be Jewish to get into the good version of the Jewish afterlife..

You might be interested in Noahidism.

passingthrough1 Tue 11-Oct-16 14:59:54

Why would you not have to believe first though? Religion isn't a choice is it? - you have faith or you don't have faith. I can't imagine that you can decide to believe in something? I was brought up in a religious household but I am an atheist myself.

I had an exP that was Jewish but for him it was a cultural thing only, which I get. I would have eventually had to convert myself but I wouldn't ever have actually believed in the fundamental tenants of the religion since I can't make myself believe in a God.. since exP was an atheist himself that wouldn't have been an issue.. but I always thought of converting under those circumstances (which would imagine fairly common) to not really be converting..? Not properly anyway, since in my heart of hearts I still wouldn't be a religious person even if I decided to go along with all the cultural markers.

myownprivateidaho Tue 11-Oct-16 15:07:04

It's a tough one with Judaism in particular because Jewishness is so much about culture and for many Jews not about beliefs at all and you won't necessarily be accepted as Jewish by all Jews if you convert (so I definitely wouldn't convert if what you're after is a sense of belonging).

BertrandRussell Tue 11-Oct-16 15:14:00

I love the trappings of loads of religions. I sometimes really wish I wasn't an atheist! All the bells and intoning and stuff of High Anglicanism, the sitting roundness of Quakers, the cooking and candles of Judaism.....just a shame about all the rest. I'd love to have to cook a 3 course meal for 12 at two hours notice.........

BlancheBlue Tue 11-Oct-16 15:14:40

Isn't it hard to convert? Does "being" Jewish run through your mother being Jewish? I remember some news story about a Jewish school where a boy's father was Jewish but his mother wasn't hence school would not admit.

SquawkFish Tue 11-Oct-16 15:18:13

Isn't it hard to convert? Does "being" Jewish run through your mother being Jewish?

You can definitely convert to reform / liberal judaism. Pretty sure you can convert to other branches too, but perhaps not all branches.

FlameGrower Tue 11-Oct-16 15:25:36

I thought the thing about Judaism being inherited from the maternal line was a safeguard in pre DNA testing times. But article says 'The reason it is passed down through the maternal line is not just because it is easier to identify who your mother is. It is because the soul identity is more directly shaped by the mother than the father.'

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