| Chabad - learning about Judaism - conversion?

Chabad - learning about Judaism - conversion?

Parrot Eyes asked:

I want to learn more about Judaism. I went to Pesach at Chabad this week. Where I grew up there were few Jews but where I live now there is a large & vibrant Jewish population. The more I am around Jewish culture the more I want to learn and participate. I am worried about not knowing Hebrew, being ignorant, or making a mistake. Lately, on Jewish holidays I feel I am being left out of something special, and although I want to ask my Jewish friends questions I fear I will offend them. I consider that after some time and study I might begin the process to convert. Does anyone have experience with Chabad, with conversion, and does anyone have any advice for me? I was raised Methodist but don’t attend church now, and my great-great grandmother was Jewish. My husband is not interested, for himself, but he’s supportive of my interest. I would raise my kids Jewish if I did convert. Am I being realistic about my desire to become part of this world? What does it involve and who can I talk to?
To answer the lineage question, my Jewish ancestor was my mother’s mother’s mother’s mother.
To answer What’s Cookin’s question, I actually had not considered whether affiliation with Orthodox, Conservative or Reform is right for me. (Wow!)There is a lot more I will need to understand before I could even properly address that issue — or indeed, given my level of BASIC understanding, the issue of conversion in any case. As some of you pointed out, it has to be carefully considered, patiently learned and sincerely desired. I believe this is true, and I think some time and study will help me make that decision. You are all being very generous with your insights and the resources you are offering - thank you.

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7 Responses to “Chabad - learning about Judaism - conversion?”

  1. zeevafor on June 23rd, 2009 11:20 am

    I am the last of my dynasty of Orthodox Rabbis (Haredi) and the first to come to Catholicism. Consider Y’hashua’s practice in celebrating all that was Judaic at the time (”Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill. “). Christianity incorporates Judaism and does not exclude the celebration of Jewish holidays. Hebrew, as such, is not necessary in your learning and understanding Judaic customs, and is within your grasp. Artscroll produces transliterated Seders and Machzors. You can raise your children in the fullness of Christ intended without annihilating part of yourself.

  2. L'Chaim on June 24th, 2009 5:26 pm

    I converted to Reform Judaism a few years ago and was surprised to find that most of the born Jews felt intimidated because I learned so much more about their religion than they had ever known. I don’t have any experience with Chabad, but I’d suggest starting out in a Reform congregation and working up to the more Orthodox branches later — if that’s what you want.

    There’s actually no reason at all to convert. You are welcome to attend services and to study with us without obligation.

    The only thing I regret is that it took me so long to inquire about Judaism. I would love to have raised our children as Jews!

  3. יששכר on June 28th, 2009 3:14 am

    Chabad are not known for doing conversions, but they will usually point you in the right direction.. There are so many good points in here already, I will not repeat them again… Oh, there is one thing, someone said they think you should start Reform, and then, if you are comfortable, work your way up, but from many people I know who did this, they were rather offended that the Reform conversion process is not recognized by Orthodox, and even some Conservative Jews… So look into everything before you begin… Good luck, and have a nice rest of Passover…

  4. Just me on June 29th, 2009 9:42 pm

    Chabad does do conversions but if you are going to a chabad center then they likely won’t do a conversion since the centers are mainly focused on giving non practicing Jews an oppurtunity to experience Judaism. Best place to seek conversion is at an Orthodox synagogue.

    Reason I say Orthodox is because 1. Technicly it is the only accepted conversion because it is done by the Torah, unlike the Reform and Conservatives who make up there own rules. Second there is little sense of jewishness in the reform and conservative moment, I have met Jews who converted to other faiths because there own experience with Judaism was reform and conservative which did not fufill any spiritual needs.

    You have one problem, your husband must be a Jew to convert. In all likelyhood a rabbi will tell you to follow the 7 laws G-d gave to Noah. if your husband decided to convert to Judaism also, then you can convert without a problem aslong as you study and take it seriously

  5. What's Cooking? on June 30th, 2009 5:05 am

    Good for you! This sounds like a path well worth exploring. I’m wondering why you’d want to convert Orthodox? The good thing about converting Orthodox is that you would be considered legitimately Jewish by all branches of Judaism - The bad thing is that if you ever don’t adhere by all of Orthodoxy’s incredibly strict laws (or, more accurately, all 613 of the mitzvot)… it is my understanding that the rabbis who approved your conversion can revoke your conversion, or at least make you defend it. I know people this has happened to. You should only convert Orthodox if you know for sure you will adhere strictly to Orthodox Jewish law (including “family purity” laws, kashrut, Shabbat, etc). Otherwise, if you want more flexibility in your observance you would want to consider Conservative, Renewal, Reform or Reconstructionist conversion (Conservative is the closest to Orthodox theology, it encourages adherence to halacha but is quite a bit more lenient).

  6. mo mosh on July 2nd, 2009 3:17 pm

    Not sure if you are a Jew or not…
    If you are not a Jew, don’t worry about converting. The Torah contains 7 universal laws for all mankind (the sheva mitzvot b’nei Noach).

    Either way, stick with the Chabad.

  7. !אני JEWISH! on July 3rd, 2009 7:08 pm

    ok, here are two VERY helpful sites which I’m sure will answer all of your question and which you will enjoy very very much:

    askmoses.com -known for it’s feature where you can talk to a rabbi LIVE on some days (try sundays) on certain hours. Also has a lot of info on Lubavitch/Chabbad Judaism.

    chabad.org -known for it’s many videos, downloads, and plenty of information on anything you need to know about Judaism, including events in your area, kabbala, laws, etc.