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Running on Jewish Time

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

So You Want to be a Jew

It happened, as was almost inetivable.

I meet a friendly, relaxed Jewish Studies major and was midstream of a interesting discussion when a ice berg loomed out of the mist of midrashic interpretation, and shattered the conversation.

How does one respond to an individual who wants to convert? Moreover when her boyfriend is Jewish and she is more interested in Judaism than he is.

With full consciousness that some reading this blog may in fact be Non-Jewish, I will restate what I said.

Orthodox Judaism doesn't recognize Reform conversions and does not encourage conversion.

The attitude is very different from the warmth and affection that a lost sibling of ba'al teshuva receives, or the quiet acknowledgement and admiration that the new born soul of full-fledged convert is given.

It's reserved, severe, and brutally honest. All the details of the laws are displayed, the strictures, the boundaries, the never ending, ever more exacting demands. Jewish guilt, in its all-encompassing glory. The constant state of striving, the continual confrontation with perfection.

All the things that we are supposed to be and have yet to attain. The harsh crackling of the burning Temple in background of any generation who does not see it built.

How very easy it is to be a Non-Jew and 'a good person.'
How very hard it is to be a good Jew.

I don't know if she'll show up again. If what is drawing her becomes more powerful than all the comfortable qualities of her current life. If its merely the persistent curiosity of a scholar for a long and powerful tradition or if it is a Jewish soul trying to go home.

If it is, welcome home.

3 Comments:

  • I mean this nicely, but very few Reform Jews give a s*** that Orthodox doesn't recognize them. It's about as irrelevant as whether Islam recognizes our converts. It's only the Orthodox who seem to think that Reform care and that saying that they don't recognize our converts will make a potential R convert think twice. Big whoops, the R converts want to convert to marry R's, not O's. If their children decide to marry O's (or C's), they'll deal with it then.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:02 PM, March 30, 2006  

  • So I mean this with equal niceness.

    The Orthodox do recognize the Reform as Jews. Otherwise they wouldn't, as you so aptly put it, care.

    I find more than a little strange that the open and welcoming Reform should consider Orthodoxy a religon as foreign as Islam and the straight laced Orthodox are adamently inclusive of the Reform as Jews.

    This is what we call honesty in advertising. or full disclosure.

    By Blogger Masmida, at 9:26 PM, March 30, 2006  

  • I'm a little confused. In youer original post you said "Orthodox Judaism doesn't recognize Reform conversions and does not encourage conversion."

    But then in reply to anonymous' comment you said "The Orthodox do recognize the Reform as Jews...Orthodox are adamently inclusive of the Reform as Jews"

    By Anonymous Ella, at 4:48 AM, December 27, 2007  

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