Nothing Is An Accident

As a young man in England, I became interested in converting to Judaism. My experience is described in fictional fashion, a my book, Nothing Is An Accident - available on Amazon.com.

After 40+ years of living as a Jew, I find it no easier today than it was then. The problems come from both sides. If I attend a shule, I can expect not to be invited to oleh Torah, because of my obvious non-Jewish name.

If I tell non-Jewish people that I meet, that I am Jewish, I feel their discomfort.

The attitude toward converts to Judaism is perhaps better understood in the contxt of how people consider one who converts to Islam today - deep suspicion.

That said, I have found spiritual comfort, and continue to revere the tenets of Judaism, and find it a living religion.

A born Jew, such as my son, doesn't have to do anything to be Jewish, he simply is. A convert must be a religious Jew,and that is something most born Jews would find hard or impossible to do.  

peretz peretz
61-65, M
4 Responses May 10, 2007

I guess in my case, I was actually the one being suspicious. I didn't question my intentions nor did I question my sincerity. But I was so nervous ahead of attend a Shabbat service for the very first time. It was far worse than the kind of feeling you might expect just before your final exams. I was so nervous about how people would react, what they would say, if they could tell I was new to all this and so on and so forth.<br />
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In fact, nothing of this ever happened. I was welcomed in a way that I've hardly ever experienced anywhere. Nobody ever asks if I'm Jewish. I'm not quite sure why I thought people might do that. After all, I was never asked whether I was Catholic when I was going to church. Anyway, I've only started my own journey a few weeks ago, so it might seem a little weird when I say that I feel a tiny bit Jewish already. But I do. I guess I should mention that I've wanted to do this for years. So I have been interested in Judaism for a while. Maybe that's what makes the difference. I don't know.

I'm glad you started this topic, I'm going through the early processes of deciding how Jewish I really am.

I have received only positives from the jewish community so far in my decision to convert. My partner's family are as excited as I am, they provide so much love and support. It's actually my family that opposes my decision! Even though my physical appearance already identifies my non-jewish heritage ( blond, blue eyes), most jews forget the fact that I am not jewish yet. I believe that converts should be held in a higher esteem as they've chosen to be a chosen one. Judaism to converts has to be achieved with absolute patience and faith they are much more religious that born-jews.

I agree with you that a convert can't become Jewish without accessing Judaism through religion. Even though some born Jews might find it difficult to be observant, I don't think it's really "difficult" so much as a choice they don't take.<br />
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I'm sorry that your experiences haven't been that positive on both sides.