DP is a non practising Jew but wants to go back. Especially so DCs can grow up Jewish and be part of the community, Bar and BatsMitzvahs etc.
It would mean me converting but I’m an agnostic borderline atheist.
He says if we do we have to follow the Sabbath rules (nothing electric the whole of Saturday) and I want to take DCs to activities on the weekend.
My family were Jewish a few generations back but on fathers side not mothers.
Should I convert or not? I want the best for DCs and DP but not sure I should convert.
The first question which springs to mind is what has triggered this desire to re-engage? Ultimately you should only convert if you want to and absolutely not because your husband thinks you should. As it stands, your children are not Jewish as it goes down the mothers line and you're obviously aware of that. To be completely frank, if this was going to be an issue for your husband it's something he should have thought of before he decided to have children.
An orthodox conversion which would make you Jewish in the eyes of everyone is not something to be taken lightly and is a brutal and intense process which would involve you changing every part of your life and absolutely can only be undertaken because you truly want to be Jewish and not because someone else wants you to be.
However, there are other options. A Reform and Liberal conversion would be much simpler and straightforward but their conversions are not recognised by the orthodoxy. Reform also consider people to be Jewish if the mother is but liberal will recognise children to be Jewish if they have a Jewish father.
As far as I'm aware reform and liberal are welcoming to non Jewish partners and there is absolutely no reason not to dip your toes into their communities and have some conversations with their rabbis and perhaps talk to some other mixed faith couples about how they have managed things. Take your time to make decisions and it's really unfair of your husband to put pressure on you to convert just because he fancies getting more involved again.
I should add that Reform and liberal communities are far less intense and you'd still be able to go to a service and then on to activities / drive on Saturdays / use electricity etc etc.
No pressure at all in any way. We were just talking about getting married and he asked if I would consider it.
I think he means liberal or reform not orthodox 😊
I'd find out a bit more, take your time and come to a decision in your own time and make that if you do it's because you genuinely want to otherwise you'll resent it
I will do 😊
I think maybe I’m crazy for considering it
My only religion is science
Why would you consider joining a religion you don’t believe in? Surely it would all be totally fake and therefore not be followed properly. Has he suddenly started believing again or is it solely for the purpose of being involved in all the fun celebrations?
I don’t question his motives or his intentions for the kids (as I said he intends to follow the religion fully etc.) But I don’t know if converting for them is the right thing if it’s not for me?
It’s a difficult issue really because obviously it affects how and where we get married
Going to that level of restriction when you don't believe will just cause massive resentment. You'll lose half your weekend.
The best is to let your kids make their own choices.
Why aren’t you questioning his motives?? You’re considering totally changing your lifestyle for something you don’t even believe in. I would be asking lots of questions! Actually, I would never sign up to a religion/cause I didn’t believe in as it seems totally pointless and quite ridiculous but anyway.
Daisy if he's planning on following the religion fully then it sounds to me like he wants to follow Orthodox Judaism. As I said before, if he wants to do it properly it will be extremely hard for him to do it alone and will be a total lifestyle change. No going out on Saturdays unless it's sabbath related, keeping completely kosher, not eating in non kosher restaurants, pulling your kids out of school for festivals.
I get that he's having a moment of realisation that his kids aren't Jewish and on his eyes are missing out on some of the experiences he might have enjoyed as a child but to want to immerse himself fully in the religion sounds like he's having some real wrangles with himself. What might have triggered this? There's no reason why your children can't share in Judaism as a wider family with grandparents and cousins but if he wants to go headfirst into practising Judaism I would really want to know why and whether he understands what a big ask he's making of you.
Those of us who are born Jewish just "are", we can't escape it. I'm Jewish but I barely practice and don't believe but I can't change what I am. To convert you have to believe in the religion, you can't do it for any other reason especially not because someone else would like you to do so
I don’t know I think it’s something he’s grappling with it’s not fixed and dry. He won’t do it unless I am happy with the decision. It’s not something I would go into lightly but maybe I would end up believing I don’t know.
I always think if must be nice to belong to a community like that, but giving 25% of our income to Israel seems bunkers when I am fundamentally a pacifist x
I think I’ve answered my own question though with help from you guys. You can’t follow a religion unless you believe and I am too much of a sceptic and you’re right it would create resentment x
Doing a full sabbath observance and donating 25% of your income is not something most Jews do.
That is full-on. Do his parents do all that?
The Reform added a new process a few years ago whereby the mother doesn't have to convert but does a course on Jewish faith and practice and then the couple goes in front of a rabbinical court to prove that they are prepared to bring the child up with a Jewish identity. I did this.
That's the good news (perhaps). I came to feel that in fact the orthodox were right, and that to truly become Jewish it is a lot easier to live in a Jewish home for two years. It appeared to me an intensely home and community based practice and to truly internalise that is quite hard.
I benefited hugely from the experience. It liberated me from remnants of Christian assumptions I didn't even know i had. I found something real and visceral I was not expecting. Shabbat is amazing, if you do it right it is fabulous for children because you have to stop being distracted by work and housework and focus on them. I learned to make challah [drools] I learned that a lot of Reform Jews are very orthodox in their practice but just don't believe in excluding those who aren't.
However DH lost his faith again along the way, and I think my trying to be the most Jewish non-Jewish wife ever didn't help. Once he lost interest, there was no real structure and it fell apart.
Also I was furious with him because I'd tried so hard
I'd say, meet with an experienced and welcoming rabbi [cough Jonathan Romain cough] and let your husband do the bulk of the work. And if you don't want your child circumcised, don't.
Yes his mother does I believe 😊 she also travels there regularly x
I've never heard of the giving 25% of your income to Israel, I don't think that's correct although I believe that there may be a tradition of giving 10% to charity which I know some Christians do too but that's to charity, not to Israel unless one specifically wanted to.
I have never heard of the giving money to Israel. Will have to tell now a few people they owe a lot of money 🤣
Product of a mixed marriage- Dad was born Jewish but was an atheist. His family were shit to my Mum with someone wonderful and much lived exceptions. Exactly the same shit from my Mum’s side. Again with someone wonderful exceptions.
I tell you this because I wonder if he is getting grief from his family. I hope not.
If he wants to be observant then that’s his thing. But unless you actually want to convert- which is a very difficult road where a faker will be spotted - he must be on to a loser with your children. If they want to convert as adults, that’s fine.
Incidentally, you can make your Bat/Bar mitzvah at any age. A relative in their fifties has just done so.
You don't need to follow religion to live a good natured and moral life.
You can raise good, well centered off spring by being good well centered parents - you don't need a man made set of rules from centuries ago to tell you how to do it.
I don’t think that’s a very helpful or relevant post hellomary.
I know hello Mary
That’s not relevant to why he wants us to be part of the religion though really x
Please don't indoctrinate your children, especially if you can't back up the delusions! It'll break you and your partner and there's already enough division in the world.
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