Article Discussion: And Your People Shall Be My People A Convert Talks about Becomin

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This topic has 3 voices, contains 4 replies, and was last updated by  Debbie B. 8 years ago.

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April 10, 2009 at 4:15 pm #1750


Click here to read the article: And Your People Shall Be My People A Convert Talks about Becomin

December 6, 2009 at 3:32 am #4090


How sad that this woman has been totally misled. Her conversion is invalid, which means her children are not/will not be Jewish.

December 7, 2009 at 4:46 am #4092

Debbie B.

The above response is clearly based on noticing that there are indications in the story that the conversion was not Orthodox. But this woman is not seeking to be a member of an Orthodox community where her conversion would not be accepted. If in the future, her children want to become members of an Orthodox community they will have to “convert”, but since social acceptance into such a community requires Orthodox observance and belief, they would want to do an Orthodox conversion anyway given their mother’s background. I know a patrilineal Jew whose mother had a non-Orthodox conversion who later converted under Orthodox auspices.

If a person’s conversion to Judaism is valid and meaningful to them and to their Jewish community, comments like the above serve no purpose other than to make the person saying them feel smug. That kind of comment only gives Orthodox Jews the reputation for being “holier than thou” (or “frummer than thou” to use more Jewish jargon) and rude to boot when they tell non-Orthodox converts that they are “not jewish”.

January 17, 2010 at 1:54 am #4223

Michelle Wiener

I don’t know what the big fuss is over! If G-D accepts you, and you want to identify yourself as Jewish, why not? I guess this is my Protestant Christian upbringing talking, though. (yes, I renounced Christ a year ago!) But still, in the end, is it not G-D who decides?

In Jewish culture, scholarly debate is encouraged, so here’s a good biblical example- Ruth. She was the one who said “your people shall be my people and your G-D my G-D.” True, Naomi discouraged her, but she was persistent- and look what happened, she got a book named after her! A woman and a Moabite at that!

So, I rest my case!

January 17, 2010 at 7:26 pm #4224

Debbie B.

It is a matter of social acceptance. The reality is that disagreements over Jewish conversion standards can result in kids being rejected from Jewish schools, people being prevented from full religious participation, families being essentially “shunned”, etc. For people in those situations, Jewish status is indeed a “big fuss”. Feeling accepted by God does not help people who have to deal with particular hurtful treatment by other people. Judaism is much more legalistic than Christianity. To be accepted as a Jew by most Jewish groups is very different than what it takes to be accepted as a Christian by most Christian groups.

Whereas the story of Ruth is often taken to be a model for conversion to Judaism*, you have to understand that modern day Judaism has a huge amount of religious legalism built up over many centuries. Similarly, taking only what is written in the Torah does not immediately suggest most of the many rules of Kashrut such as keeping completely separate cookware and not cooking chicken (not just beef) and milk together.

(*In fact, the story of Ruth moved me so deeply that I added the name “Rut” to my Hebrew name “Devorah” when I converted.)

So Michelle, although your view is reasonable from a personal perspective (and that view is one of the reasons that I don’t get too upset that some Jews do not consider myself or my children to be Jewish because our conversions were not Orthodox), you cannot expect that many Jews will ever see conversion to Judaism as mainly between a person and God.

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