Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Jewish Conversion through the only valid way - Orthodoxy


I want to put up a post about conversion through Jewish Orthodoxy which is the only valid way to be recognised as Jewish without being born to a Jewish mother. There are a lot of wild and woolly stories and information put out on the net by the Liberal, Conservative and Progressive movements which is only to delegitimize the stand that Orthodoxy has on it which is set out in Torah. They also want to validate their conversions which the Orthodox rabbinate will not recognise for the obvious reasons.
This is a very good link to conversion and what is involved.
I am not going to repeat it except to summarise what my research shows. There are a lot of misconceptions.
The only true converts are al pi halacha and through an Orthodox Beit Din. That means a potential convert has done at least two years of study and practiced what they learnt. At least. Then there are the requirements for conversion which are far more stringent than the progressive movements facile attempts to convert anyone and everyone with a dip in the ocean. They do not respect the Torah in that the Torah sets out certain relationships as forbidden and strictly so. Converts are not allowed to marry cohenim as much as the cohenim cannot marry divorcees or women of loose morals.  There are rules about modest behaviour for women and men. The Jewishness of a person is defined by the status of their mother except in the case of cohenim and levi'im where the father's status denotes who the sons or daughters will be and in the case of the cohenim they are restricted to who they can and can't marry.
I find myself continually offended by the casual way that some of the conservatives and liberals view their Judaism and Jewish practice. What attracted me to the orthodoxy was in fact the strict rules and conservative and correct lifestyle. I did marry someone once who was very 'liberal' in his outlook while pretending to be orthodox. It was very uncomfortable and I made a lot of compromises. You cannot do that.
My journey took me away from Orthodoxy for a while and I was a secular Jew with an orthodox secret inner life and it was hell. I also at one stage after my divorce married a non Jew because I really wanted kids and a family. It was a mistake and it was not. I have a son and for that I thank Hashem every day. It also has made me stronger. If I go down to my core essence as a human being, I am a Jew and proud of it.
It does not affect me when people tell me that 'you are not really Jewish because you converted'. I often feel like laughing in their faces because the people who tell me this are usually not so observant and the only thing they have in their lives to prove they are Jewish is the fact that they were born from a Jewish mother. When I have to tell an Israeli woman that she should not have a Xmas tree in her house, she should have channukka lights and let the non Jewish father of her children have the tree, but she should not and she then gets offended and tells me 'Why do you have a hunnukkiya? You should have an Xmas tree, you are not really Jewish?' I realise there is a lot of prejudice in the world and it is driven by ignorance.
I am proud to be a Jew and will be until the day I die.

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