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Why stay??

Posted by on Aug. 25, 2008 at 9:46 PM
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Why not convert?  Why not just go all the way and convert to Judaism?  What is the benefit of remaining a Noachide, rather than converting?

 

As far as the kids go, would it be better to be part of a religion rather than just on the sideline appreciating that religion? 

 

What verses do you use to support remaining where you are rather than converting?

by on Aug. 25, 2008 at 9:46 PM
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Dvora
by Group Owner on Aug. 26, 2008 at 12:54 PM

I totally understand where you are coming from (from a Jewish perspective) I'm sure Pam can help give us more insight into why she decided not to convert.

I can put my 2 cents in if I may. The process of conversion is a very difficult one. The work and the time that you put into it can be very stressful. To learn everything (depending on each person) can take a couple of years. An average conversion takes about 2 years. But it doesn't start at the conversion. First you have to convince a beis din (a Jewish court that consists of 3 shomer shabbos rabbis) that you want to be Jewish. This process itself is quite stressful. if you do not already live in or near a Jewish community, you would be asked to move to one. Then once they accept that you want to do this, you can go forward with the conversion process. It is a lot of work and a lot of time like I said before.

Then after you convert, life of a Jew is not easy. You would have to get rid of most of the stuff in your kitchen considering it is not kosher. You would have to get rid of most of your wardrobe if it is not according to the laws of modesty. Your husband would be obligated in going to shul (synagogue) 3 times a day to daven (pray) with a minyan. He would also be obligated in putting on tefillin everyday. Your children would be expected to go to Jewish private schools which cost a fortune.

Basically, you would have to become completly different people. However, in saying all of this, if you want to do it, there is nothing else like it. The lifestyle is beautiful. The feeling of being a part of a community is very powerful. There is nothing to be gained monotarily or materialisticaly. But spiritually, it's amazing and worth all those changes I made above.

BUT, you can gain all of these spiritual goals as a noachide as well. You do not have to do all these things and have a high level of spirituality. Pam, can you explain to us your feelings on this? Thanks!

To be a leader, you have to care.
To be a GREAT leader, you have to care GREATLY - Rav Noach Weinberg

Please pray for HaRav Yisroal Noach Ben Hilda for a refuah shalaima

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Petie
by on Aug. 26, 2008 at 8:46 PM

OK, here is another question...

I know that conversions to Reform and Conservative are not accepted by the Orthodox.  But, if you convert to Reform, then aren't the restriction on schools and living places less?  I mean, there is a Reform synagogue in lower alabama and I don't think there is a Jewish community (as in, all living in one area) here.  So, just wondering if that is more accessible to some than becoming Orthodox, especially if the option to move just doesn't exist.  We are military and that would literally be impossible. 

Dvora
by Group Owner on Aug. 26, 2008 at 10:39 PM

If you wanted to do that, then why not just stay a Noachide?

To be a leader, you have to care.
To be a GREAT leader, you have to care GREATLY - Rav Noach Weinberg

Please pray for HaRav Yisroal Noach Ben Hilda for a refuah shalaima

aish.com the #1 Jewish web site!
Petie
by on Aug. 26, 2008 at 11:03 PM


Quoting Dvora:

If you wanted to do that, then why not just stay a Noachide?


So, in your opinion, reform judaism is not judaism?  I really don't get it.  I mean, if we converted to Reform Judaism, then we would be a part of the congregation, we would be a part of that family, not just outsiders.  We cannot move to a Jewish community because the option isn't available to us, I wish it was, but it isn't.  My husband is under a contract, he took an oath.  So we cannot move.  We are not rich enough to send our kids to a private school.  I just don't understand, so please explain.

Dvora
by Group Owner on Aug. 27, 2008 at 1:25 PM

This is a very sensitive subject and I am going to approach it as gently and as understanding to your situation as possible.

According to Jewish Law if you do any conversion other than a "kosher" one, you will not be considered a Jew. The reform and conservative movements obviously disagree. They have their own conversions that they do. It is quite clear in the Torah what a person needs to do in order to have a proper conversion to make that person Jewish.

I do not know what it takes exactly to go through a reform conversion, so I cannot speak about that. A person who converts to Judaism according to Jewish law is taking upon him/herself a huge responsibility. The person has decided to do all those things I have talked about no matter what the costs. We are not rich by any means either. Public school is not an option for our children. We have priorities in order to make it happen. It is a huge struggle, but because we see and understand the importance of our children getting a Jewish education we take whatever steps are necessary to get them that.

With regard to your situation and your husbands contract, I'm not sure how that works. I'm sure if you were definitely serious about going through a kosher conversion you could find a rabbi that would help you. There is a woman who I know here in my community who's husband is also in the Military and has been able to live her life as she has to as an orthodox family.  I would be very surprised at this time in our lives that the government would not be understanding if someone changes there religious views and changed their lives. Again, I do not know because I am not in that situation. I know that my friends husband often goes away to different army bases around the country during holidays to do services for the orthodox soldiers. I know for a fact that there are orthodox soldiers in the military.

Someone who decides to convert reform or conservative is missing the big picture. We don't do it because it feels right or because we don't want to be non-jews. We do in order to be a server to Hashem. Granted, this services to Him is not an easy thing to do. This is why orthodox rabbis are very weary of people who do want to convert. We just don't understand why someone would choose this lifestyle when you can be very righteous and live as a non-Jew.

I have a friend who became religious later on in life. She has a friend who is not Jewish, and she told her she was becoming more observant. Her friend told her, well if you are going to do it, do it orthodox, the right way. You know our friend (I forgot her name). Well she converted reform and she hasn't changed a bit. The only difference with her is that instead of going to church on Sunday, she goes to Temple on Friday night every once in a while.

There are many laws that a Noachide has to live by as well. A Noachide learns Torah, prays everyday and gets closer to Hashem with all the good deeds he/she does. A person is doing a bigger aveira (sin) by converting to Judaism when it goes against the Torah, then remaining a non-Jew and living life as a righteous gentile.

I know this is a sensitive subject. I hope I have not offended you. I feel like it is my place to teach you from the Torah's perspective so you are educated and understand why it is this way. If there is anything that I have said in this post to offend you, please forgive me, that is not my intent. My intent is to educate and I hope you can see that.

To be a leader, you have to care.
To be a GREAT leader, you have to care GREATLY - Rav Noach Weinberg

Please pray for HaRav Yisroal Noach Ben Hilda for a refuah shalaima

aish.com the #1 Jewish web site!
Dvora
by Group Owner on Aug. 27, 2008 at 2:34 PM

I want to add something to what I wrote. I believe we discussed this in the Jewish Moms group. It's easiest to understand what makes someone Jewish.

At Mt. Sinai the ancestors of the Jewish people accepted themselves all of the Torah to be emes (truth). The written and oral law. This acceptance was past down through the generations. So we come to people of today. How about the people who are not observing the laws? The fact that the ancestors at Mt. Sinai accepted the Torah as emes holds today as if a Jew today accepted it.

A convert obviously does not have this acceptance past down to them since their ancestors were not at Sinai. So in order for a non-Jew to become a Jew today that person also has to do what our ancestors did at Sinai and accept the entire Torah as emes and live by it's laws.

I hope I made this clear and helped you to understand.

To be a leader, you have to care.
To be a GREAT leader, you have to care GREATLY - Rav Noach Weinberg

Please pray for HaRav Yisroal Noach Ben Hilda for a refuah shalaima

aish.com the #1 Jewish web site!
Petie
by on Aug. 27, 2008 at 6:52 PM

You did not offend me.  I am just frustrated, because, at this time, there is no possible way for us to even visit an orthodox synagogue.  But, until the point that we are able to, we will be living as Noachides.  It is just a very frustrating situation for us, and that is probably what you felt when reading my previous post.

Dvora
by Group Owner on Aug. 27, 2008 at 8:10 PM

I totally understand why you are frustrated. Perhaps Pam can help you understand her perspective on why she remains a Noachide. Where do you live, if you don't mind me asking?

To be a leader, you have to care.
To be a GREAT leader, you have to care GREATLY - Rav Noach Weinberg

Please pray for HaRav Yisroal Noach Ben Hilda for a refuah shalaima

aish.com the #1 Jewish web site!
Petie
by on Aug. 27, 2008 at 10:58 PM

We live in Southern Alabama.  The closest synagogue is 30 minutes away, and after that, we have at least a 2 hour drive to any others. 

Dvora
by Group Owner on Aug. 27, 2008 at 11:17 PM

Are you near either one of these synagoges?

Chabad of Alabama, Beis Ariel Cultural Center
3040 Overton Road
Birmingham, AL 35223 
Tel: 205-970-0100
Fax: 205-970-0543
Email: chabadofalabama@aol.com
Website: http://www.chabadofalabama.com/
Rabbi Yossi Posner, Director
Rabbi Yossi Friedman, Program Director
Mrs. Fruma Posner, Co-Director
Updated: January 3, 2006
Please update us!

Knesseth Israel Congregation (Orthodox)
3225 Montevallo Road, Birmingham, AL 35223
Tel: 205-879-1664
Fax: 205-879-5774
Email: KICongreg@aol.com
Website: http://www.knessethisraelcongregation.org/ 
Avraham Shmidman, Rabbi
Please update us!

 

To be a leader, you have to care.
To be a GREAT leader, you have to care GREATLY - Rav Noach Weinberg

Please pray for HaRav Yisroal Noach Ben Hilda for a refuah shalaima

aish.com the #1 Jewish web site!
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