Conversion for a married person with kids

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This topic has 2 voices, contains 2 replies, and was last updated by  Ed Herrera 590 days ago.

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January 21, 2013 at 1:59 pm #9362

Ed Herrera

Hi, for several years now I have been considering a conversion, I learned at a very young age that we had Portuguese jewish ancestry and before that I had always felt inclinations towards Judaism, leading me at the age of 11 or so to tell my parents about it, I grew up in a Catholic family but never really practiced it. I wanted to convert before I reached the age of thirteen but family opposition and the fact of me being just a kid didn’t make this possible.
I’m 33 yrs old now, I am married to a wonderful woman who’s a devoted christian and I have a 4 yr old son, my wife supports my decision as she’s always been aware of my true beliefs and disagreements with christianity in general, we respect each other and we both participate at church activities but as become older and realize what I truly want, it becomes harder to be a “member” of something that I am truly not.
I have talked to a rabbi about this, he was very welcoming but suggested that I go see the chief rabbi here in Geneva, Switzerland where I live. The rabbi I first talked to is the liberal israelite community rabbi, It seemed to me a more suited choice for me as I would want my family to be welcomed into the synagoge and community activities even if they’re not converted. There’s also our child, because we really want him to feel a part of this, but we do not want to impose anything to him…

What to do?

Is there anyone there with this kind of situation?

Thanks,

January 21, 2013 at 2:30 pm #9365

Benjamin Maron

Ed,

You might want to reach out to the people at D.A.CH, a local to you group in Switzerland. They might have an idea of which rabbis you can talk to, where you can find resources for conversion, and their experiences converting in Switzerland (not all of them have converted, but some have).

http://www.interfaithfamily.com/elgg/pg/groups/142598/interfaith-dach/

Good luck!
Benjamin

February 3, 2013 at 2:46 pm #9676

Ed Herrera

Thank you Benjamin for the info.
I actually went to talk to Geneva’s chief Rabbi, Dr. Ytzakh Dayan, we talked over an hour… to sum up, an orthodox conversion in this particular case is not possible. We discussed several topics like Shoah, Kashrut, family life, festivities, mitzvot, etc. I actually knew the answer before talking to him, it isn’t like I decided to become jewish just out of the blue or because I’m curious about it, and I actually understand his position, I really felt like he was disappointed about the whole thing, he said “with all the good intentions I or you might have, I can’t convert you knowing all the tensions an orthodox lifestyle will bring to your family. As a human being I couldn’t live with the idea of breaking up a family”.
He himself advise me to go and talk again to Rabbi Gara√Į, he told me not to give up and that it was wonderful thing and a great step that I was taking and that being a part of a liberal community would open up the doors for my wife and that who knows maybe with time things will change.
My wife want’s our kid to be raised as a jew because she wouldn’t want to take this away from him.
I’ll contact again rabbi Gara√Į this week. Rabbi Dayan said I was welcome to attend services and learn hebrew with them if I wanted. Over all, I’m sure this is what G-d has for me now and I am grateful.

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