Converting to Judaism

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 05, 2010 1:18 AM GMT
    I was talking about this to a friend the other day (she's fairly religious - not sure if orthodox or conservative) but she mentioned that a person cannot convert to Judaism. That's it's something you either have to be born into or through marriage. She says that it's based on some parts of the Talmud. Didn't really catch all she said...

    This is quite different from my experience with my cousin having converted to Judaism and have had attended her ceremony (it was at a conservative temple).

    Can anyone shed some light if possible? Thanks icon_smile.gif

    PS - I recently attended a Bat Mitzvah for an older family friend who never had one as a young girl and it was fantastic! Loved the sablefish icon_smile.gif
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    May 05, 2010 5:01 AM GMT
    I really don't know. Let me ask around and I'll get back to you.
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    May 05, 2010 5:05 AM GMT
    I'm pretty sure that you can convert to Conservative and Reform Judaism, but I don't know about Orthodox Judaism.

    I remember being told that conversions are supposed to never be encouraged but are, when the person is sure of what he/she is doing, welcomed nonetheless.

    N.B.: I'm no expert in the subject or Jewish myself, but have some Jewish friends.
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    May 05, 2010 5:09 AM GMT
    Mmmmmh, look at the first two answers to the question in the link below. They are contradictory, but both make their case.

    http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20081119161252AAYlHMJ
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    May 05, 2010 5:32 AM GMT
    It depends on who you ask. many sects will alow you to covert. the more conservative the sect the less likely. in order to truly be jewish your mother has to have been jewish, since for a very long time paternity could not be accurately traced. as such if your mother was not jewish you were not jewish
  • calibro

    Posts: 8888

    May 05, 2010 5:33 AM GMT
    yes, you can, but it's a rabbi's job to turn you away three times before he let's you convert. the idea is that you have to want to convert to religion; unlike christianity, judaism isn't looking to convert people. you typically have to prove your worth before the rabbi will allow you to convert (this is in accordance to orthodox law)
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    May 05, 2010 6:09 AM GMT
    You could always follow the Seven Laws of Noah instead of "converting" icon_lol.gif but you will have to give up anal sex with men icon_redface.gif
  • Hunter9

    Posts: 1039

    May 05, 2010 6:20 AM GMT
    i dont understand why anybody would want to do that
  • JayDT

    Posts: 390

    May 05, 2010 7:35 AM GMT
    calibro saidyes, you can, but it's a rabbi's job to turn you away three times before he let's you convert. the idea is that you have to want to convert to religion; unlike christianity, judaism isn't looking to convert people. you typically have to prove your worth before the rabbi will allow you to convert (this is in accordance to orthodox law)


    This is absolutely right. Though I would like to add to this.

    What your cousin said is wrong. Yes you have to either be born of a Jewish MOTHER (Judaism is matrilineal- you are what your mother is), it's a race and a religion. You can convert, but it is a sin to convert for marriage. And any Rabbi who sees that you are converting for marriage will not allow you to convert.

    In order to convert you would have to immerse yourself in hours and years of talmudic study. The rabbi and the community would turn you away and deny you CONSTANTLY (traditionally at least three times) following the story of Ruth who swore to her mother in law "Wherever you go, I will go. Wherever you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried" (Ruth 1:16-17).

    When the Rabbi feels that you may be ready for the actual conversion he will have you meet with a beit din (a tribunal of riteous men) who will question you on your reasons, your knowledge, your faith, and your convictions. They will then perform a ceremony 9called the Brit Olam) to turn the scar from your previously non religious circumcision into a religious one. This is done by extracting a drop of blood large enough to be seen on linnen from the scar. If you are not circumcised, they will perform a circumcision. Yes the entire tribunal will watch. After you have healed from this, a minimum of 7 days later, you will take a ritual bath called a Mikveh in front of the Beit Din. You are completely naked in a body of water that is clear ad transparent to the bottom, deep enough to fully submerse yourself in, and is of a natural sorce (ie rain water or a spring, tap water does not work). Afterwards you will recite for the first time the Haftorah.

    Once the process has been completed, it is illegal for other members of the faith to ever mention your life before your conversion or to mention that you were ever not a Jew. It is believed that a convert was always a Jew, just born to the wrong parents.

    Below are some links for more information. If you are still curious, I can put you in touch with my Orthodox Rabbi who would be happy to answer more questions. Though he does not perform conversions, he's not comfortable with it.

    http://www.convertingtojudaism.com/

    http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/3002/jewish/How-Does-One-Convert-to-Judaism.htm
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 06, 2010 12:01 AM GMT
    Wow. Thanks so much icon_smile.gif

    I knew I could count on you guys to be a wealth of information. My cousin's father is Jewish, her mother is Christian. She grew up going to a Unitarian church but converted several years ago. I believe she is reform. So perhaps it is a little more lax than the orthodox/conservative rules for conversion?

    I have heard the story of 3 times before but had an understanding that it was more or less formality - makes sense now.


    JayDT>>
    No conversion for reason of marriage? Does that mean an orthodox or conservative Jew will never take a non-Jewish bride if he were to stay in the faith?


    I personally grew up Catholic. If I were to meet the man of my dreams tomorrow and he happened to be Jewish and wanted me to convert/join the Jewish faith - I presume it will have to be unofficial?
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    May 06, 2010 12:12 AM GMT
    They are gods chosen people, you can't just become one. My mother was adopted into a jewish family, I had the option.. but my mom wasnt that into it. And we kind of stopped being religious... I never learned hebrew or had a bar mitzvah. My relatives probably hate me on that side. Any I'm not viewed as a man by anyone of faith.