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August 29, 2014 / 3 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘conversion’

From Feet To Amot: A New Jewish Units App

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

During my yearly visits to Australia to visit my wife’s family, I must endure the brutal calculations involved in switching from the imperfect Imperial system to the maligned-by-Americans (but clearly more efficient) Metric system. Pounds become kilos, Fahrenheit becomes Celsius, and feet become meters. Calculations are involved every day – and I don’t have a mind for numbers. Similarly, when I learn Gemara, I often come across ancient and archaic measurements that need conversion into modern numbers. This ensures that today’s average learner and I can better understand the amounts being dealt with. ArtScroll usually provides a formula, or tells us the conversion in the simplest terms. But now, thanks to Crowded Road CEO Adam Korbl and Rabbi Ronnie Figdor, there’s an app that helps us do just that.

The new Jewish Units app conveniently converts all Talmudic measurements (volume, length, time, area, weight, and currency) into their modern-day counterparts. And I literally mean all measurements. As someone who proudly learns an average of an amud of Gemara a day, I was flabbergasted to learn about how many types of measurements there are in Judaism. I had heard of a p’ras, a parsah and a perutah, but a pesiah, a pim and a pundeyon? And that’s just those beginning with the letter “P”!

All in all there are nearly 200 units of measure that can be converted. Perhaps that’s why I always had a hard time remembering the conversion amounts for biblical measurements. I remember thinking that a mil was about equal in length to a mile. But it turns out to be closer to a half mile (or 0.5666 to be exact). I recall the notion that a shekel (not to be confused with a New Israeli Shekel) was about equal to $1 – but it’s really about $18. And was I off regarding a kikar. One of those equals $54,119. And a kikar can be used for weight as well. So if your wife of 150 pounds thinks she’s putting on weight, you can simply say, “Honey, you’re not even 3 kikars.” (One hundred fifty pounds equals 2.668 kikars.)

If you don’t have a currency converter on your smart-device, the Jewish Units app also does basic currency conversions (e.g. dollars to euros). But the best aspect of the app, aside from its prime function, is its essential glossary that permits less learned people like me know that a pesiah is a regular footstep (about an amah) in length, or that a pundeyon was an ancient Roman currency. And if you’re wondering, one pim – a unit of measure in Sefer Shmuel – equals 80 pounds. My in-laws will also be happy to know that the app works in the metric system as well.

I showed the app to the people who will likely use it the most: kollel and yeshiva guys. It was as if I walked into a 7th-grade classroom with a (yet to be invented) Playstation 5. The app appeared to be the perfect combination of convenience and coolness. One boy who had recently completed a half marathon proudly noted that he had run 45,880 amot, about which one of his friends said: “Yeah, but that’s only 5.73 parsahs.”

In the near future Crowded Road will be offering the Jewish Units technology as part of their popular iTalmud and iMishna. “The ability to tap on a phrase in the Talmud or Mishnah that includes a halachic unit, such as daled amos, and instantly receive an explanation and modern-day conversion according to a rabbinic authority of choice should be a very powerful proposition,” says Korbl, the CEO of Crowded Road.

Perhaps the only negative aspect to the app that might dissuade some downloaders is its current $4.99 price tag. But that’s only 0.14 sela – a real bargain.

Why A Jew?

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

Different people in my life have different reactions to me becoming a Jew.

The secularists and atheists in my life don’t know enough about Judaism to know how big of deal this is, so they tend to look at my journey as a mildly exotic lifestyle choice – like a phase Madonna might go through – before they focus on the real issue at hand: circumcision.

Hardcore evangelicals (whom I love dearly) tend to love Jews and Israel more than just about anyone (there are more Christian Zionists in America than there are Jews in the entire world). They view my pending conversion with a great deal of respect and admiration. The way one might view a friend who has decided to become a full-time priest or pastor.

The Jews in my life?  From them, I get one reaction only:

“Don’t you have enough trouble already?”

In my book, there is no such thing as “enough trouble.” Picking fights with the world’s bad people is my business, and business is good. But I am not becoming a Jew to bring more trouble into my life. If more trouble comes, I’ll face it. But I’m not a masochist.  I’m an ethical monotheist.

After my Jewish friends are done trying to talk me out of their tribe, they admit, “you’re pretty much a Jew already,” or “you’re more Jewish than most Jews I know.” They’re right in one sense. They’re talking about Jewish values and ethics. And, if ethics and values were all it took to become a Jew, I could put on a kippah, walk into the end-zone, and join God’s chosen people right now.

Jewish values and ethics are what brought me here. Flipping through Rabbi Joseph Telushkin’s Book of Jewish Values or his Code of Jewish Ethics, for me, is like a kid flipping through a friend’s baseball cards in a playground – “got it, got it, need it, got it” – with a whole lot more “got its” than “need its.”

The hard part for me is learning the Hebrew and rituals, mainly because I have a hard time memorizing. So that’s what I’m focusing on now. A friend of mine, who converted to Judaism, said that I’ll always feel like I’m struggling to catch up to the Jews who grew up immersed in Hebrew and rituals.

Which is fine by me. Because, even though I came to the Torah with more “got its” than “need its,” I still feel like a child who has a world of learning ahead of me. Like a wall that gets bigger the closer you get to it. Even should I live to 120 (God willing) I’ll never reach the end of this journey.

Which is a good reason to start this journey now.

http://notajew-jew.com/?p=58

Conversions – The Supreme Court Decides?

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

One of the sadder chapters to be written about the State of Israel will be what is happening with regard to conversions.

To review the situation that led to this, the mass influx of Jews from Russia into Israel over the last few decades contained many people who were not Halachicly Jewish, even though they had been completely raised to think so. The reason for that is that they were products of an intermarriage where the mother was not Jewish, or products of a mother who was not converted according to Halacha.

There were so many of them coming into Israel and integrating with the country in every way including army service, that it was threatening to create a huge imbalance between Jews and non Jews. This presented a demographic challenge in maintaining Israel’s identity as a Jewish state.

The solution by the government was to set up special conversion courts to expedite conversions of Jews with this kind of problem. Rabbi Chaim Druckman was put in charge of this court and used various leniencies in converting thousands of these people.

The problem arose when the Charedi dominated Chief Rabbinate headed by Rabbi Avraham Sherman determined that all of Rabbi Druckman’s conversions were invalid because of insufficient observance of Halacha.

The debate still lives and involves one of the key components of conversion. And sides are being taken. The Charedi point of view is that the conversions were invalid because the requirement that a potential convert must accept Halacha as binding and promise to keep it.

They further hold that since most of the converts did not keep some of the basics showed that there was never any serious intent by these converts to follow Halacha. Hence the conversions were all invalid. And therefore the Dayan responsible for all of that, Rabbi Druckman loses his validity as a Dayan and thus invalidating all the conversion he was ever responsible for. Even if the convert the followed Halacha diligently!

The Religious Zionist perspective was that Halacha was followed in every single conversion albeit with leniencies not normally used because of the urgent nature of this issue that would affect the very nature of Israel as a Jewish state. What the leniencies were is irrelevant. The point is that both sides believed that they were L’Shma – doing the right thing in the eyes of God.

The problem of course is that if one side considers these converts Jewish and the other side does not, the converts remain in limbo. With the numbers being so great and multiplying via their offspring means that from the Charedi point of view it will require a Yichus registry.

It will therefore be almost impossible to get married a few generations from now without a thorough background check of Yichus. This is already happening. People making Aliyah that are not Orthodox are finding out that their Judaism is not being taken for granted. They now have to prove that they have Jewish lineage going back several generations! Something that is often impossible to do.

The new immigrants are now going to suffer even while many of their sons who ebleive they are fiully Jewish if not 100% observant are willing to die for their country putting themselves in harm’s way by joining the army. After several generations of suffering persecution for being Jews at the hands of the former Soviet Union, they now are suffering new indignities by their very own people.

The Israeli Supreme court has stepped in and ruled in favor of the Rabbi Druckman’s converts. The consider all of them fully Jewish and will be registered as such. There will be no discrimination between any of those converts and any other Jewish Israeli. Marriages will be performed in Israel for them will be fully recognized.

Rabbi Seth Farber who is Orthodox but not Charedi and who petitioned the courts on behalf of these converts was very gratified:

“We are pleased to see that the Supreme Court has upheld the petition we submitted and we hope this judgment will be a boost to all those who are in the midst of a conversion process, and those debating whether to enter it.” “It is hoped that the verdict will uproot the phenomenon of non-recognition of conversions, and end the ongoing injustice converts are faced with”

I’m pretty sure that was not the reaction of the Charedi side. They are L’Shma. They believe they are absolutely right and will continue to believe that The State of Israel just declared a bunch of non Jews – Jewish, despite the fact that they are not.

Even though its heart is in the right place – the Supreme Court is not a Halachic body and in my view has no business deciding issues of Halacha. So I’m not sure what was accomplished other than to further divide Charedim from Religious Zionists. Their actual status of these converts as Jews thus remains unchanged in the sense that the right still believes they are not Jews while the left believes they are.

Furthermore it gives these people a false sense of security in thinking that a secular court in Israel can declare them Jewish – end of story. They will find that they will not be accepted into the Charedi world as Jews at all.

One might retort, “So what?!” “Who cares what a bunch of religious fanatics think?!” “We know the truth and that is all that matters.”

Not so simple. Charedim are growing in numbers and in influence. And – right or wrong – the simple fact is that a huge portion of Klal Yisroel will reject these converts as Jews, and reject their sponsors as having no Halachic validity on this issue.

While they gain recognition by the secular state with all the rights and privileges that entails, they will not gain the peace of mind that would come with recognition by all. They will still therefore remain with an unsettling feeling.

In my view the answer lies in some sort of compromise. The idea of a wholesale invalidation is disgusting in my view – that should have never happened. Nor should Rabbi Druckman have been so dishonored! I would much rather see a unified response to this where no one gets anything shoved down their throats by either side – or even by the Supreme Court.

This article first appeared on the Emes v’Emunah blog.

Closing Our Eyes To The New Haman (Part II)

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Last week I described some prophecies concerning the wakeup calls that would come to our people when the arrival of Mashiach was near. Unfortunately, we have yet to attune ourselves to the sound of those footsteps.

Had you heard the prophecies of which I wrote when they were first uttered centuries ago, you might have laughed and scoffed. Even if you had read them as recently as 1970, you would have been hard put to believe it, for of all the Muslim countries, the Shah’s Iran was probably the friendliest to Israel and the U.S. But today the impossible has become possible, and events are unfolding so rapidly that we have difficulty absorbing their impact. So how are we to understand it all?

Before I answer that question, I must ask my readers’ forbearance. I am going to repeat some of the things I wrote on this subject a few months ago because I believe it is so absolutely crucial for our people to finally wipe the slumber from their eyes and realize what is going on.

The Yalkut compares our suffering to birth pangs. But birth pangs are deceptive; when the contractions begin, it’s easy to ignore them since they are mild and occur at long intervals. As birth becomes imminent, however, the contractions become more frequent, the pain more intense. And just when it appears the woman can no longer endure the pain, the baby is born and new life enters the world.

Labor pains are what we are now seeing in terms of world events. How long will the pains last? It’s anyone’s guess, but one thing is certain: please G-d, the birth is sure to take place. In the interim, however, we may ask whether it’s possible to ease the suffering and to protect ourselves from these painful contractions.

Every woman in labor needs help to ease her pain and speed the birth of her child. So too we need help to lessen our pain and hasten the coming of Mashiach. We have been blessed by our sages, who have the perfect formula to assure us an easy and painless birth. “Let he who wishes to be spared the birth pangs of Messiah occupy himself with Torah and gemilas chasadim (acts of loving-kindness) and let him be scrupulous about Seudah Shlishis – the third Sabbath meal.”

The first two recommendations – Torah and gemilas Chasidim – are self-explanatory and do not require much elaboration, for he who is committed to Torah and mitzvos and to reaching out with loving-kindness, must, of necessity, become a better, more spiritual person.

But eating a third Sabbath meal is not as readily comprehensible. We are enjoined to have three seudos on the Sabbath: Sabbath eve (Friday night), Sabbath noon (following prayer in the synagogue) and the third seudah in the late afternoon as the Sabbath Queen prepares to depart. Through these three meals, we honor the three Patriarchs, the three sections of our Holy Writ (Torah, Prophets, and the Writings), and we also recall the three Sabbath meals of manna G-d provided us during our sojourn in the wilderness (Exodus 16:25).

The final Sabbath seudah is called Shalosh Seudos, which translated literally means “three meals” rather than Seudah Shlishis – the third meal. Our sages explain that the reason for this is that all three Sabbath seudos are embodied in this one.

This third meal presents a most auspicious time for prayer. And to this day, when I close my eyes, I can hear the sweet voices of my revered father and beloved husband of blessed memory leading their congregations in singing Psalm 23, the psalm that is traditionally chanted at Shalosh Seudos: Hashem is my Shepherd, I shall not want…”

The task of the shepherd is a lowly and lonely one. Day in and day out he is destined to wander from place to place seeking pasture for his flock; and yet David did not hesitate to refer to G-d as a shepherd, for he perceived that G-d’s love is so total, so encompassing, that when it comes to caring for His children, nothing is beneath Him.

What a magnificent and fortifying thought – for no matter where life takes us, even if we have to walk in the treacherous valley overshadowed by death, we need not fear, for G-d, our Shepherd, will always be there to lead us to greener pastures, even if at first we do not realize the pastures will be greener.

Still, it is difficult to comprehend how the mere eating of a third meal, singing Psalm 23, and discussing words of Torah could have such awesome power that they can actually protect us from the suffering that will accompany the birth pangs. But there is a profound lesson at the root of this teaching.

The first two Sabbath seudos are eaten when we are hungry, but after a festive noontime seudah, we are hardly in the mood for yet another meal. So it is not to satiate our hunger that we gather around the Shalosh Seudos table. Rather, it is to celebrate the Sabbath and sing her praises, and that is why the Third Meal encompasses them all. The Third Meal is symbolic of the conversion of the physical to the spiritual and, ultimately, that is our purpose – to become spiritual beings and to free ourselves from the shackles of materialism – and that is something that our generation, obsessed with materialism and the pursuit of pleasure, has yet to learn.

Oliver Stone’s Son Becomes a Muslim? Could be worse…

Saturday, February 18th, 2012

According to the Iranian Students News Agency, Sean Stone, son of Oscar winning film director Oliver Stone, hopes his conversion to Islam will help Americans understand more about the faith. The 27-year-old documentary maker became a Muslim on Tuesday during a ceremony in the Iranian city of Isfahan, adopting the Islamic name Ali.

Oliver Stone’s father was Jewish and his mother was a French-born Catholic. Sean Stone told AFP that he has not abandoned either Judaism or Christianity, the religions of his father and mother, respectively. Not sure how that’s done, but there you have it.

Ben Shapiro, of Big Hollywood, writes that “the 27-year-old Sean has long been a backer of genocidal anti-Semite Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. ‘Iran is ruled by law,’ explained Stone the Younger. ‘People don’t like Ahmadinejad, but that doesn’t warrant a war or an uprising.’

Shapiro continues that “it’s not surprising that the son of a virulently anti-American father would turn to Islam. But it just goes to show that the values espoused by Hollywood parents infect their children.”

But Oliver Stone’s kid doesn’t strike me as particularly infected, and I, personally, find it difficult to decide which spiritual tradition is more toxic, Islam or “Natural Born Killers.”

Stone Jr. came to Iran to produce a film about Rumi, the 13th century mystic Persian poet, and has plans to work with Iranian film producers.

“It’s a mistake to believe that Islam is antagonistic towards Judaism and Christianity,’ he told ISNA. “What we need is to understand each other’s beliefs and to establish dialogue.”

Believing his conversion to Islam would have little effect on his life back home, the new Muslim celebrity said he prays it would allow Americans better understanding of Islam.

“The most important thing is I hope I can help Americans to understand the true nature of Islam,” he said. “I feel good when I enter a mosque. I believe there is only one God and with this view it is not important whether you are Muslim, Christian or Jewish.”

Stone said the best Iran could do with regard to the tensions surrounding the country over its controversial nuclear program was not to look to the West.

“Pay attention to the east, and work with its partners like China.” he said. “Try to industrialize the country and bring life to its economy.”

OK, so the kid is no genius when it comes to international politics. But I applaud his decision to embrace monotheism, and I, for one, think you can’t have too many movies about 13th century Persian poets.

Opposition To Conversion Bill Is Hypocritical – And Hurts Israel

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

I find quite puzzling the vehement opposition of the American Conservative and Reform movements and Jewish Federations of North America to the conversion bill proposed by Knesset member David Rotem.

Within the framework of halacha, or Jewish law, the Rotem bill expands the scope of conversion, prevents application of stringencies unjustified by halacha, and provides greater convenience, leniency and flexibility in the administration of Israeli conversion courts. It addresses many issues raised by Orthodox rabbis considered liberal by the Israeli media and has their strong support. It is strongly supported by Yisrael Beiteinu, the secular party that represents Russian Israelis.

Nevertheless, a segment of the leadership of Jewish Federations of North American and the American Conservative and Reform movements unleashed an artificial firestorm of opposition, soliciting e-mails from members and letters from the U.S. Congress, and successfully delaying passage of the bill.

Opponents of the Rotem bill claim it radically changes the status quo, placing power for state-recognized conversion in Israel in the hands of the Chief Rabbinate. This is untrue. Government-recognized conversions to Judaism performed in Israel have been under the control of the Chief Rabbinate since the founding of the state in 1948. The bill merely confirms longstanding practice in response to court cases seeking to challenge the status quo. Advertisement

Why did leaders of these American Jewish groups take action they knew would hurt many Russian Israelis?

They hoped to leverage their political power in the United States to force Israel to accede to their parochial agenda – namely, granting Reform and Conservative conversions the official recognition accorded to Orthodox conversions.

This request might appear to be reasonable to an American Jew. It is not. The context of Jewish life in the United States is very different from Jewish life in Israel. Rampant intermarriage in the U.S. explains in large part, though in no way justifies, the push for relaxed conversion standards and the Reform movement’s acceptance of patrilineal descent.

Intermarriage is thankfully far less of a problem in the Jewish state. Moreover, despite strenuous efforts, the Reform and Conservative movements themselves have not taken root in Israel. They arose in reaction to post-Enlightenment pressure on Diaspora Jews. These pressures do not exist in Israel.

Non-Orthodox Israeli Jews may be more or less observant (“masorti“) or even totally secular (“chiloni“), but they do not need the crutch of identification with non-halachic movements to sustain their Jewish national identities. They speak Hebrew, the language of the Jewish people, celebrate Jewish holidays and are closely bound to the collective fate of the Jewish people, courageously serving in Israel’s army.

Very few non-Jewish Russian Israelis are interested in a Reform or Conservative conversion, regarding them as inauthentic. They are Diaspora transplants that have withered in Israel’s Jewish soil and failed in Israel’s free marketplace of ideas.

Principles are not a suit of clothes to be donned and shed at convenience. It is inconsistent for Conservative leaders to insist that Israel recognize Reform conversions performed without immersion in a mikveh or circumcision when they do not recognize such conversions performed in the United States. The Reform movement, which argues for the absolute separation of religion and state in the United States, inconsistently insists upon official recognition of their spiritual leaders by the government of Israel.

Even more puzzling is the position of the Jewish Federations of North America. How can its leaders justify spending funds raised for charitable purposes on an ideological issue, particularly when it is so controversial? Moreover, when they have not significantly consulted the American Orthodox movements or their own Orthodox contributors, how can they purport to be representing the entire spectrum of American Jewry?

A Reform Jewish leader was quoted as bemoaning the fact that the controversy has “even reached the U.S. Congress, causing dismay to all who love the Jewish state.”

What an extraordinary statement! The bill did not simply drift into the Capitol like a feather borne by a random breeze. The Rotem bill came to the attention of Congress because of the determined lobbying efforts of its opponents – the same people who now claim they are distressed by the damage to U.S.-Israeli relations. U.S. congressmen do not spontaneously take an interest in internal Israeli religious issues that do not affect their constituents.

‘Pretty Worth It In The End’: An Interview With Dominican-American Convert Aliza Hausman

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Have you read the blog Jewminicana? If you have, you are already familiar with Aliza Hausman, a recently converted Dominican-American blogger. She blogs about her childhood, upbringing, conversion, and a wide range of other topics. She and her husband, a semichah student at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, also speak about life as a religious interracial couple.

Hausman’s conversion process began five years ago. She first became interested in Judaism when she was in junior high school. A Holocaust survivor spoke to the students in her school, and the idea of survivorhood resonated with her. The Jewish Press interviewed her about her decision to convert and about her blog (www.alizahausman.net), which has allowed her to help other people of color who are looking to convert to Judaism.

The Jewish Press: What was it about the survivor’s story that piqued your interest in Judaism?

Hausman: I think by the time I was 13 years old I was pretty sure I was not going to make it to my 18th birthday. Either my mother was going to kill me or I was going to kill myself. I came to school with bruises every other day that I had to hide. And this woman came in and told us that she had survived the unimaginable – unimaginable to most of my friends.

How did you relate to her?

To me it was like this is one person who I think would understand what I’ve been going through my whole life, which is basically being tortured every day by my mother. I thought, “You know, if she can survive, I can survive.” My initial thought was Jews can survive anything, and if I became Jewish, I’d probably survive too. It gave me hope.

What do you see as the main message of Judaism?

When I was Catholic, it seemed that we were focused on striving toward heaven. Everything on earth was sinful and dirty and bad. In Judaism I’m trying to bring heaven to earth. Trying to bring spirituality and godliness to everything I do.

Why did you start blogging?

I started the conversion process; I was 25 years old. Every Shabbat meal, someone would ask me, “Why are you in the conversion process?” One of my friends, Drew Kaplan, was a rabbinical student at the time and a blogger, and he said it’d be easier if I just wrote a blog. After Shabbos I could send people to the blog, and it would explain everything . A mission of my blog is to make people more sensitive. The first thing you say is “Hi and welcome,” not “Are you Jewish?”

Do you ever worry that being so frank in a public sphere could harm your husband’s odds of getting a pulpit?

I worry about that every day. You know, it’s been interesting. My mother-in-law’s friends read my blog. My husband applied for an internship and the rabbi read the blog. I guess I’m kind of lucky they liked the blog. It’s not always the case. I get hate mail. Everything from “You’re not being Orthodox” to “You’re not being Dominican.”

What do you gain from the experience?

I keep doing it because you get these letters from all over the world, and people are like, “Thank you for sharing that little bit of yourself with me,” because people can relate – from child abuse, converts, multiple identities; that’s why I keep doing it.

What topics do you cover during your speaking engagements?

The more I come into contact with other converts of color, [I find] a lot of them have had racist experiences. Jews have been blatantly racist to them or they’ve gone to a synagogue event and people have assumed that they’re the help or the janitor. My husband and I use sources, but [also] just telling people how difficult it is, coming in from a different religion, different planet, or how converts cope. We tell one story where a convert’s mother called her to her deathbed and asked that she convert back to Christianity. I don’t think people really understand that – how hard some converts have it.

In what ways do you see your Judaism benefiting from Dominican culture?

Food! I have chulent every Shabbos, but I also have rice and beans every Shabbos, a staple of Dominican culture, and plantains. I go out of my way to meet Jewish Latinos and find people that speak Spanish, because speaking and understanding Spanish is very important to me. I’ve been told by Jews who converted, “That was important, but shouldn’t be anymore. Hebrew is.” As if a person can’t speak more than two languages! Music. We played a lot of Hebrew music at my wedding, and I asked for salsa or merengue. A kosher caterer made Dominican food for our wedding.

Do you help converts find rabbis to work with?

It’s something I got into in the last couple of months. In the last year the RCA has reformatted how they do conversions. It’s interesting, and one of the hardest things is finding a rabbi. I talk to Rabbi Zilberman at the RCA and get as much info as I can, and go to him and ask him where this person from here with this situation can find someone to sponsor them and help them.

A lot of rabbis are turning people away and no longer want to be involved with conversion. I think I have way more contacts than they do, so I try to help them find rabbis, find people in different communities that they can connect to; other converts. I actually do that a lot.

How do you advise someone who is in the process of converting but struggling with aspects of halacha or the rabbi’s expectations of her?

I’ve been asked by converts how you reconcile women’s issues and feminism with Orthodoxy, how you reconcile homosexuality with Judaism. I’m very clear. I do believe there are things that can’t be reconciled. I don’t believe that you’re not going to struggle with things. The other day a convert asked, “How did you feel about giving up Jesus?” Very easy; I never took it up. I tell people to take it slow.

I got one convert who was like, “I want to convert; I’m not quite sure which movement.” I told him to look at what each stands for and the ideology. He decides first he wants to be Conservative. He has a fianc? – not Jewish, doesn’t want to convert. The Conservative rabbi says, “You have to promise to raise the kids Jewish.” Convert comes back and says, “How can I, if they won’t be because my wife’s not Jewish?” Next time he decided he was going to be Orthodox. How will that work, exactly?

What message do you give to people who are converting?

I don’t think I have a message. It’s very different dealing with someone who is a baal teshuvah and starting to learn, and this need to bring them in. But a convert is just running toward Judaism like a speeding train. I try to explain that it’s going to be hard, not always pretty, there will be issues usually with family and friends. But I think it’s pretty worth it in the end.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/interviews-and-profiles/pretty-worth-it-in-the-end-an-interview-with-dominican-american-convert-aliza-hausman/2010/03/24/

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