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Converting can really be a gut wrenchingprocess

By Eclectric Trixie

I left town and spent the last days of Pesach with friends away from my community. I had a blast. I love Pesach. But as with all holidays, this one came with a twinge of sadness along with the sweet because my conversion still isnt finished yet.

Holidays in general are pretty rough. Its hard being alone and not yet Jewish. No spouse or boyfriend, no extended Jewish family, adopted or otherwise.

While it was great to just be Sarah visiting from out of town and not Sarah who is converting, there were still reminders everyday of my status as non Jew.

Veggie Peeler

I helped cook on Sunday for a meal my friends were hosting during yom tov. To prep, a couple of us went to the grocer to pick up produce and restock on a few necessities like those chocolate covered marshmallows. While we were there we decided we needed a veggie peeler for some of the food stuffs we had chosen. We found one and I bought it. Once back in the car, I said lets go to the creek. We needed to tovel the peeler before we went home. Well technically we dont need to since you bought it. Ouch. I knew he was just joking and really had no intention of skipping out on the trip to the water, but still. He instantly realized what an ass he sounded like and apologized profusely.


There were several of us from out of town staying at this house. One of the guests arrived with a bottle of wine. Like all wine I come across with unfamiliar labels, I causally scoped out the back. There it was. Those dreaded words: non mevushal. I wanted to leave the room and cry. Yes, I felt a little overdramatic. But it really does break my heart that Im not Jewish and this was just one more in your face reminder that Im still not.


My hostess invited me to light candles with her for shabbos & yom tov. After lighting candles for the yom tov we went to Shul and then off to dinner. When we arrived at dinner I realized we hadnt lit a candle that would burn till tomorrow to light the second night. I quietly told her I would light a match for us the second night. My favorite thing about a yom tov is that unlike shabbos, Im allowed to keep it in its entirety. But it was more important to me that she not miss lighting than it was for me to not break any Halacha for the yom tov.

What it comes down to is that right now, no, Im not Jewish. But I want to be in a way thats impossible to describe. So in the meantime, while I continue through this process, I will be as close to Jewish as I am halachically allowed.

I will continue to light my candles on Friday night. I will continue to keep kosher. I will continue davening every morning. I will continue to wait.

I find it very informative, heart breaking and interesting to read this kind of stuff. It really helps me understand the pain and commitment that converts have to go through to finally make it and I feel that sharing these type of posts will help all us non-converts realize that every little thing we say or do may be really hurting someone’s feelings.

{ 85 comments… add one }
  • dorot May 10, 2011, 6:01 PM

    forgive me for the naive question (from a fellow convert) – but non mevushal means that you can’t touch it because it won’t stay kosher? i thought this was only in the case of idolators who touch it. as a not-yet-Jew, this means you are an idolator? this makes no sense. or am I not getting something?

    • Anonymous May 10, 2011, 6:42 PM

      if your not shomer shabbos (which in this case not allowed to be- a gentile who is-is chayav misah) then the wine isnt yayin nesech, its just stam yaynom-which is also assur

      • Avrumy May 11, 2011, 5:10 AM

        The “kosher” wine laws are among the most nasty, ridiculous, out-dated concepts that Orthodoxy still clings to. To believe that if a non-frum person merely touches (or chas v’sholom opens) a bottle of kosher wine it is rendered unkosher is simply intellectually ABSURD. Thanks to the writer for sharing her story. I know I could never make such a dedicated life choice as she is. I was just born into it and do my best, including ranting at the stupidity we endure.

        • Yankel May 11, 2011, 1:03 PM

          I think you have an issue with the concept of Chazal, and not the datedness of things.

        • Anonymous May 11, 2011, 2:44 PM

          i will never, ever, buy non meshuval wine. but i agree with you. it’s retarded to think that if my father touches my wine then it’s treyf, but if my mother touches it (even though she’s a convert to catholicism) it’s fine.

          • ish_elokim May 11, 2011, 5:20 PM

            sorry, but you’re wrong. if your mother isn’t shomer shabbos and she touches the non-mevushal wine then its also considered stam yaiynom.

            goes to show how much you know on this subject (i have already written this under the pseudonym of anonymous

            but good for you that you still buy mevushal wine. smart move.

        • ish_elokim May 11, 2011, 5:32 PM

          yankel i totally agree with you. Avrumy, just because you don’t understand a certain halacha, you shouldn’t just go ahead and criticize it. first read up on the why, and then maybe then you’ll understand as to why chazal felt that it was necessary establish such a law.

          take luck and good care

  • Steven May 10, 2011, 6:06 PM

    Eclectric Trixie,

    Like Heshy, I find your posts extremely enlightening but also heart breaking. I’m also converting to Judaism, and while you are much further along the the process I’ve come across certain limitations that really make me sad (for example, I am not allowed to wear tefillin.) It’s great to know there are others out there going through the same process and having many of the same feelings.

    Stay strong,

  • ish_elokim May 10, 2011, 6:44 PM

    lots of luck to you all, i didnt sign in (different computer). anonymus here is me

  • Batya May 10, 2011, 7:03 PM

    Lovely post, very thought provoking, good luck.

  • Dan May 10, 2011, 9:08 PM

    Since this is the internet, and we are anonymous, I will be blunt.

    What part of these anecdotes bothers you?

    The vegetable peeler. You don’ t have to tovel it, because you are not Jewish. Just what is hurtful about that?

    The wine. Why is it hurtful?

    I am not trying to be mean, I really just don’t get it.

    • Bluntess May 10, 2011, 9:28 PM

      since we are anonymous, I hope you won’t mind how I can’t imagine that you don’t see your bluntness as being more hurtful.

      Electric Trixie wants to be Jewish, in fact she is considered so (just not in orthodox) so these facts that she is writing about are traumatizing for her.

      I don’t know if you were born into this religion or you chose to convert, but I am thinking you were born into it, so since you never had something denied of you, you can’t imagine how these comments and actions could be hurtful to someone.

      I also believe you “don’t get it” because you believe you are superior and think that anyone who is not like you is beneath you.

      Have you ever wanted anything so much, but couldn’t have it?
      Have you ever wanted to belong to something so much, but had to wait?
      Have you ever been denied a gesture that you believed in?

      If you can answer any of those questions with a “yes” then ask yourself your questions again after reading her story again.

      • Dan May 10, 2011, 9:46 PM

        So your response is that I cannot possibly understand.

        Well, if it is something I cannot understand, I can hardly be faulted for not understanding.

        “Have you ever wanted anything so much, but couldnt have it?
        Have you ever wanted to belong to something so much, but had to wait?
        Have you ever been denied a gesture that you believed in?”

        These questions are very general and vague.

        • Bluntess May 10, 2011, 10:04 PM

          you are right.
          never mind, you are just not smart.

        • Jakes May 11, 2011, 6:54 AM

          If I may, I think you (and most people) should be able to understand on an emotional level. Halakhically, she may not be Jewish (yet), but you should be able to understand that she very much wants to be and feels it. So being reminded that she isn’t is probably very hurtful.

          You don’t need to be a convert, or even a Jew, to understand this on an emotional level.

          • EclecticTrixie May 11, 2011, 7:20 AM

            Exactly. Thank you.

          • Bluntess May 11, 2011, 8:23 AM

            thanks Jakes, you said what I wanted to, but didn’t know how. I was too emotional myself and just wanted to support Trixie, but you were able to put the emotions into the appropriate words.
            Thanks again.

        • FrunGer May 11, 2011, 10:32 AM

          Dan the Pisher,
          by not understanding you are commiting an averia.. nag the Ger and see where that leads you. Read your Torah! to make a point you violate a Mitzveh?!

          You cant understand the level of depression this person is going through- the level of self loathing every little thing reminds you that you have forsaken old identity and yet have not been able to embrace your new one. how would you like to be an orphan and there are reminders that the family that has taken you in still treats you like an outsider on some level? you cant understand that?
          Eclectic trixie-
          as a Ger I will tell you that this is what all gerim experience and it is part of the process. the depression and self hate are part of what you have to go through. HaShem has his ways of doing things and I will tell you as unjewish as you feel you will feel more jewish than anyone born Ben/Bas yisroel you will expireince a level of yiddishkiet they could not possible achieve. the only close thing is Becoming Baal teshuvah- Lots of people bust on BT’s being silly and naive – but really BT’s are just excited and happy- they have joy. They have chavanah and theyre not jaded. Dont worry because the world has balance and as bad as you feel right now you will feel the converse when you finish it- climbing everest sucks but its pretty cool to post that on your Facebook.

          • Dan May 11, 2011, 11:10 AM

            “Dan the Pisher,”

          • ish_elokim May 11, 2011, 5:53 PM

            well said (at least for the first paragraph).

            though i beg to differ about bt’s. im not saying that those people who bust on them are right (not at all). its just that if everyone would realize what they say,
            three times a day,
            in shmoneh esray

            there is one thing we ask of hakadosh baruch hu.

            hashiveinu avinu litorasecha….

            so in essence we are all balei teshuva. so when/if you hear someone make fun of bts, you can tell them that they are also bts. Otherwise why do they still say hashiveinu in shmoneh esrai?

            actually, i think it was a bt who told me this

  • BK May 10, 2011, 10:10 PM

    I also don’t get why the non-mevushal wine is hurtful.

    I was born Jewish, and have been observant for the past 10 years or so. I’m quite familiar with the concept of mevushal/non-mevushal wine. Essentially, non-mevushal wine that has been handled by non-jews is not acceptable for kiddush or other bracha-related things (i.e. seder). Its a derogatory concept in it’s entirety. The concept seems to lie on the assumption that non-jews are inherently “dirtier” (physically or spritually) than jews.

    As I see it, the fact that they bought non-mevushal wine shouldn’t be a painful reminder about how you’re not jewish, rather, that Judaism has some painful, hurtful concepts within it. Mevushal, Ohr LaGoyim, Pas Yisroel…these are all essentially halachot which come about because halacha is inherently weary of non-jews. Mevushal is a concept that makes me angry, yes. But not at those observing it. Rather, at the religion itself.

    I commend you for realizing all this and still wanting to convert, and for being able to see the beauty of judaism despite it’s shortcomings. kol hakavod, and good luck on your journey.

    • Avrumy May 11, 2011, 5:31 AM

      I basically agree with your points. Jewish rules can be hard to explain or justify or rationalize or observe.
      Also, I think you meant that halacha is “wary” of non-Jews, though your spelling has nuanced meaning as well.

      • ish_elokim May 11, 2011, 5:57 PM


        • ish_elokim May 11, 2011, 8:14 PM

          oops…my caps lock was stuck.

          • Avrumy May 11, 2011, 8:45 PM

            Are you supposed to ask people if they are shomer Shabbos before you let them near your wine cellar? What if they lie? Do I have to bring a korban?

            • ish_elokim May 11, 2011, 9:31 PM

              bifarhesya- they break (-for the moment at loss for a better word) shabbos in public. for ex: treating shabbos as any other day

              secondly, why on earth would they lie? and “if” they do you can easily find out

              another thing “you of all people should know, is thatif you don’t know hilchos shabbos (by heart) then you never kept a shabbos in your life (its a klal). even i am still working on that (though im not up to there yet-i like learning everything to the T, and im learning siman#32+36 in the first volume of mishna berurah. and yes i know how to write safrus [a.k.a. jewish calligraphy-for writing stam], and one day will hopefully get a ksav kabbalah on it- a rarely studied part of Judaism)

              though my father told me that when he was in telz there was a 13yr old bochor who came to learn there who knew the whole chelek gimmel of mishnah berurah by heart. when they asked him why, he told them that before he came barmizva he wanted to make sure that he knew all hilchos shabbos by heart, so as not to be oiver on anything.

            • ish_elokim May 11, 2011, 9:38 PM

              and a way to get around them pouring themselves a glass of nonmevushal wine, is to have someone go around and filling up everyones glassesa.k.a. a shamash. i once ate by a friend/rabbi (in E”Y-he would daven at the kosel and invite colge students and yeshiva bochorim to enjoy a friday night meal in his beautiful appt in arzei habira) and he took this precaution. its a good idea if you have a need for it (you have nonmevushal wine).

              • Avrumy May 12, 2011, 1:07 PM

                Luckily, I never have this problem. The only wines I like are Moscato d’Asti and Malvasia. Yumm.
                I am just totally against these rules on wine, on principle. (Lot of good it does me.)
                I say that unless there is some unkosher ingredient used in the production of the wine, it cannot be unkosher!!! But no one listens to me. 🙁

                • Yankel May 13, 2011, 3:12 AM

                  So according to you, if 100% kosher wine is used as a libation to the wtvr gd in India, you will then drink it without hesitation?

                  • Avrumy May 13, 2011, 6:50 AM

                    If a bottle of delicious Rashi wine is used in a temple service in India, what does it matter to me? If it is from a clean unopened bottle, why not enjoy it? Did it get cooties from being near a statue of Krishna? If you think the wine is tainted by another religion, it seems to me you think there is something real about that other religion. However, would I use that wine for Kiddush? Maybe not. It would not necessarily be kavod Shabbos to use wine used for an avoda zara.
                    I am in no way saying I drink unkosher or mishandled wine. I keep kosher, for better or worse. I am saying these rules are ridiculous and should be repealed and debunked as xenophobic mishegas. Unless the waiter has treif on his hands or on the corkscrew, you cannot make a kosher wine unkosher, even if he is thinking of naked virgin sacrifices as he pops open the bottle. But as I also said, I do not like wine enough to let this affect my life. Rashi and Bartenura are fine for me. If I were an oenophile, I might feel differently.

                  • ish_elokim May 13, 2011, 9:44 AM

                    again, there are two different types of wine (problems). one is yayin nesech=poured for avodah zara-which is totally assur behanah. the second is stam yainom=which was not poured for avodah zara (just someone whos not shomer shabbos-which includes a gentile picks up a unsealed bottle…etc), but is nevertheless also assur.

                • Dan May 13, 2011, 6:21 AM

                  Interesting. Which other d’rabanans do you not hold of?
                  Are you a D’Oraisah jew? I’ve never heard of that before.

                  • Avrumy May 13, 2011, 6:56 AM

                    If a bottle of delicious Rashi wine is used in a temple service in India, what does it matter to me? If it is from a clean unopened bottle, why not enjoy it? Did it get cooties from being near a statue of Krishna? If you think the wine is tainted by another religion, it seems to me you think there is something real about that other religion. However, would I use that wine for Kiddush? Maybe not. It would not necessarily be kavod Shabbos to use wine blessed from an avoda zara.

                    I am in no way saying I drink unkosher or mishandled wine. I keep kosher, for better or worse. I am saying these rules are ridiculous and should be repealed and debunked as xenophobic mishegas. Unless the waiter has treif on his hands or on the corkscrew, you cannot make a kosher wine unkosher, even if he is thinking of screwing Buddha as he pops open the bottle. But as I also said, I do not like wine enough to let this affect my life. Rashi and Bartenura are fine for me. If I were an oenophile, I might feel differently.

                    • Dan May 13, 2011, 7:10 AM

                      I don’t think I understand your angle.

                      What makes milk bad by being mixed with meat? Was the meat clean? Was the milk clean? So what cooties are created by mixing them together?

                      Exactly what don’t you like? If you don’t feel bound by the actual d’oraisoh’s of the torah, what is left? And why do you care to discuss it at all?

  • dan May 10, 2011, 11:17 PM

    please dont conver you are making a huge mistake.

    judaism is a religion full of heartbreak, and hypocrisy.
    – I am sure you can find the community like feeling you desire elsewhere.

    -If i could change places with you i would. i hate being jewish

    • Avrumy May 11, 2011, 6:43 AM

      Judaism as a religion is a fine one, based on family, respect, education and (many) holidays. [Consider the options: elephant gods, fanatic prophets, divine bachelors, thetans, voodoo?] It is the dogmatic mishegas that has been tacked on over the ages that ruins it for the majority of us and turned todays Orthodox Judaism into something of a mindless cult of chumras and self-abnegation. Don’t hate being Jewish. Hate what “they” have done to our religion.

    • Abandoning Eden May 11, 2011, 10:55 AM

      you know if you hate being Jewish, there is always the option of not following the religion. Avrumy gives a false choice, saying your other options are “elephant gods, fanatic prophets, divine bachelors, thetans, voodoo.” But there is also the choice to not follow any religion. I don’t. I grew up orthodox and hated following the religion, and then I stopped following it and left the Jewish community. I don’t follow any religion. I’m SO much happier in my life now compared to then.

      • Aliza T. May 11, 2011, 11:32 AM

        Same here got the hell out as soon as i realized that i had a choice, kinda sucked for a year till i went off to college

        • Guest May 12, 2011, 9:11 AM

          That’s right Dan, you can act like “Abandoning Eden” and be a passive aggressive piece of crap to your folks, while simultaneously setting up Christmas trees, and gushing about how you love Christmas on some lame blog.

          Strange behavior for an atheist, but many of you OTD types love covering up your emotional problems with a veneer of normalcy.

        • dan May 12, 2011, 11:34 PM

          it totally sucks now.

          I was abandoned by my life long friends for not being religious. what bs.

          And for someone who grew up orthodox, its hard to adapt and assimilate into the non-jewish social world.

    • ish_elokim May 11, 2011, 6:33 PM

      i would like to share a parable that comes to mind. i heard this parable a long time age from a rebbe of mine. I’m not sure if im saying it right, or if im missing anything. So here goes:

      there once was a man who lived near a very tall mountain. every day he’d gaze upon the mountain and say to himself “one day im going to climb that mountain, and see whats on top of it. the one day comes and he pulls himself together. he starts to climb the mountain. up, up, and up the man climbs. the mountain seems forever to go upwards, with no tip in sight. after days turning into weeks, weeks into months, months into years, and still the mountain looms upwards, towering above the clouds. finally after many years of climbing, he reaches the top of the mountain. the air there was fresh and invigorating . he sees small children there, playing together. surprised, he thinks to himself “how did these children get here?”
      he decides to ask one of them how they came to be at the top of this mountian. the child answers “we were born here”.

      this parable was told to us in cheder to instill in us the chashivus of yiddishkeit.
      another point to be taken is not to climb down from the mountian. it is a long way back up.

      • ish_elokim May 11, 2011, 8:15 PM

        sorry about the spelling mistakes. i was in a hurry.

        just thought it to be an interesting insight

      • ish_elokim May 11, 2011, 9:10 PM

        and for all those going through the process of climbing the mountain, good for you!!! (im not saying this in a missionary form at all-only talking to those for whom it applies), hatzlacha rabba, and don’t look back down-lest you fall.

  • Yosef May 11, 2011, 12:46 AM

    It’s not a mevushal/non-mevushal, to tovel or not issue. It’s about being in no-man’s land. Not Jewish but not non-Jewish. Being rejected by those you grew up with and not accepted by those that you are joining. You can’t go back because it is a life without meaning. And you can’t go forward because there is some “law” that is put in place to see if we are sincere, hence the long journey through ‘no-man’s land’ till the mikvah.

    • JZ May 11, 2011, 5:55 AM

      Very well put, Yosef. When you become religious, you lose friends. I was part of a large close-knit group of friends in college, and yet not a single college friend invited me to their wedding. Incidentally, after conversion, it’s not even all better because you might really like some guy and then discover that he’s Syrian, for example.

      • The Man May 12, 2011, 9:41 AM

        I have to say I find the Syrian thing in this day and age to be BS–Syrians (particularly in America) are no more likely to have trouble with converts, due to some objective problem with the behavior of the convert, than any other group within orthodoxy.

        In general Orthodox Jews are very traditional, and balk at changing established traditions, no matter how recent. I realize that some things cannot be changed, without abandoning the halachic system altogether (or reconstituting a universally accepted Sanhedrin).

        But local halachic rulings of recent vintage that are in response to isolated problems of a particular age, or socially counterproductive customs/chumrahs, etc, should be reevaluated, and jettisoned if necessary.

  • anon May 11, 2011, 1:28 AM

    I understand that on account of the writer’s longing to be Jewish the experiences she writes about are painful to her, but she is not in limbo as suggested, but in a process, moving towards her goal.

    Also, what she is experiencing (I don’t mean the insensitive comments) but rather the halachic limitations are a part of being a Torah Jew, accepting that Hashem knows better than us. If , chalila (Gd forbid) after becoming Jewish she falls in love with a Cohen she will not be able to marry him. If her husband disappears or refuses to give a get, chalila, she would then be left in limbo. If she is a talented singer, she will not be able to perform in front of a mixed public. And so on.

    Part of being a Torah Jew is accepting halachic limitations with emuna, even though it may be hard. Of course none of this excuses the insensitivity of other Jews.

    Also, the holidays are “rough” for born Jews who are single, and especially BT. My pre-rosh hashana and pre-pesach angst starts more than a month before each as I dread their arrival.

    Having said all of this, best of luck to you, ET.

    • JZ May 11, 2011, 5:57 AM

      Totally different. The restrictions that you note are suffered by a large number of people, even the Cohen restriction shared by many women who had non-Jewish partners prior to becoming religious. While converting, you are utterly and completely alone with these restrictions.

      • anon May 11, 2011, 6:22 AM

        The halacha regarding agunot applies to every married woman, but only those actually going through it are suffering from it, which statistically is probably not that high a number. She is not “utterly and completely alone” with these restrictions. They apply to all who are are in the process of converting.

  • JM May 11, 2011, 4:03 AM

    Perhaps Hashem is only trying to refine you away from this anger, sense of entitlement, and negative perception? Or perhaps, B”H, death was following in your footsteps and the rejection was a blessing in disquise which saved your life by allowing you to starve and keep your merit versus to partake and the merit be theirs’?

    However, everything is for the best- both blessing{good} and curse{bad} or soul corrections. The secret is prayer. Not just times, but personal heartfelt introspection and thanksgiving for all of the miracles and deficencies. Ask for help. Everything else is hard work. May Hashem advance the desire of your soul.

  • zach May 11, 2011, 5:09 AM

    “The concept seems to lie on the assumption that non-jews are inherently dirtier (physically or spritually) than jews. ”

    I can’t agree with this vis a vis wine. The whole intent was to preserve Jewish identity by preventing social intercourse with Gentiles. It did not have anything to do with spiritual inferiority of the latter. (We’re talking stam yanim, not yayin nesech.)

    Now tevilat keilim – THAT is another matter altogether!

    • Avrumy May 11, 2011, 5:23 AM

      And the only way to avoid that is by not sharing certain wines? Sitting at a bar sipping martinis is OK? Why not avoid eating ice cream with gentiles? The wine thing is just narishkeit made up by nervous people centuries ago, hopefully with good intentions, or maybe just in the kosher wine business, but the reasons are no longer justified or applicable. If they ever really were.

      • Frumsatire Fan May 11, 2011, 5:40 AM

        I agree. You put something milchig on a fleishig plate and now you have to throw it away because it can’t be kashered? Ok, it takes a little stretch of the imagination, but I have no problem with that. BUT, you can’t drink this wine because so-and-so has touched the bottle? I mean, rrrreally? Sounds like playing tag.

        • Yosef May 11, 2011, 7:09 AM

          Consider this as a chuk. Something that is takes much effort to understand like the red heifer. Wine is unique as it comes from the grape which itself is unique. Torah has much to say about wine and it affects our relationship with Hashem, especially on Shabbat and Yomim Tovim. That’s why we have to be sooo careful with our wine.

          • tesyaa May 11, 2011, 9:01 AM

            Wine is unique as it comes from the grape which itself is unique.

            How is a grape more unique than an orange?

            • Ben May 11, 2011, 9:31 AM

              Different bracha – Pri Hagafen vs Pri Ha-etz?

              Hagafen comes earlier in the order of preference, second only to Mizonos.

              • tesyaa May 12, 2011, 7:08 AM

                You missed my point – the ritual treatment of a grape is different from an orange, but how does that make a grape(the fruit) more “unique” than an orange?

  • Jakes May 11, 2011, 7:00 AM

    How long does the conversion process take nowadays? How much time do you have left before the beit din? I understand it’s gotten pretty crazy. If you wanted, you could just follow what the Halakha actually mandates for conversion and be done with it sooner. Of course few would probably recognize it, sadly.

    Best of luck Trixie.

    • EclecticTrixie May 11, 2011, 7:29 AM

      It takes years. I know folks who have been in it for over five years, and no one seems to finish in less than 2. Most people I talk to finish in about 3 years. I had a previous conversion that took 2 years, shortly after realized it wasn’t going to fly so I started all over again studying with my community in 2009. I’m almost done 🙂

      • Jakes May 11, 2011, 9:24 AM

        It sickens me that it takes that long when the Halakha doesn’t mandate that.

        • Heshy Fried May 11, 2011, 11:46 AM

          The halacha doesn’t mandate a lot of things, but who wanted to become Jewish in the 1400’s when you had to deal with pogroms, attacks, blood libels, burning at the stake and forced conversions (which ironically took all of two minutes)

          • Jakes May 11, 2011, 2:57 PM

            You may be right, but it’s only in the last decade or so that conversion has become as inflexible as it is today.

            • Dan May 11, 2011, 3:07 PM

              I guess I would want to see empirical evidence to know if I thought conversion should be easier or harder.

              If there is a really low rate of recidivism, perhaps it should be easier. If we have a high rate, perhaps it should be harder.

              • anonymous 2.0 May 12, 2011, 10:49 AM

                I would agree but what standard would you use to detemine who had relapsed? If my rabbi catches me smoking in my backyard on shabbos would that count? Or would i have to start going to church regularly? If a ger’s conversion is revoked but he still identifies as a jew how do you count that?

                Also as a side note ive seen a sociology book on these kinds of issues in the Conservative movement. Its full of numbers and statistics about tgis sort of thing. Maybe there is an orthodox version somewhere.

                • Dan May 12, 2011, 11:37 AM

                  If someone smokes on shabbos, they cannot be considered observant. (See YD 2:5 someone who violates shabbos in public cannot slaughter kosher meat.

                  The question of whether the original conversion is null, is a question of what the intentions of the convert, and the witnesses were at that time.

                  This much is clear: If the stated public intention at the time was to continue smoking on shabbos, the conversion is null.

                  But, even if the intention at the time was to keep shabbos, if we find that converts have a high rate of not remaining observant, we should more closely screen them, since having converts who do not keep the mitzvos is a very bad thing- for them and for us. (See Tosfos Yevamos 47b kashim).

      • Someone May 11, 2011, 8:18 PM

        Do you know what really gets under my skin? When people don’t hold by my Conservative conversion because the rabbis who converted me hold differently on some things turn right around and commit aveiros that are far more damaging to Am Yisroel than counting women in a minyan or allowing somebody who lives 30 miles from shul drive. That’s what.

        • ish_elokim May 11, 2011, 9:14 PM

          what shaichos?

          please explain (if not loshon hora-no names).

  • Sammy May 11, 2011, 8:54 AM

    I went through conversion after I became observant and realized that based on a technicality I wasn’t actually Jewish. So I definitely know where you’re coming from. Though rest assured, once you finish the process, it will be fine. I think you can be a good role model to your friends who are Jewish by birth, because you chose to live your life this way. While you could continue living a life with much less restrictions, you are taking on a life of mitzvot. Very admirable.

  • Ariella Kadosh May 11, 2011, 9:09 AM

    As I once said to Ms. Trixie, she is a brave, brave soul. I never would have chosen such a lifestyle for myself…But I say Trixie- You go girl!

  • anon May 11, 2011, 10:34 AM
  • anon May 11, 2011, 10:36 AM

    One convert’s take:
    “At least one year to convert because one requirement is to experience all the Yom Tov (holidays). The longer the better because you will have easier to acclimating to Judaism. It took me six years to get to the conversion process and I don’t regret it. The Rabbi’s say run away from the other false religion and come slowly to Judaism. You will have a much better understanding and deeper connection to Judaism. ”

  • anonimo May 11, 2011, 2:22 PM

    Maybe I’m not understanding the halachic process correctly, but why can’t the Rabbis create a new halachic category of people: people who are in the process of converting to Judaism?

    Unlike other goyim, or even bnei Noach, they are trying to join the Jewish community, so laws like yayin nesech and bishul aku”m which were designed to prevent Jews from mixing with goyim shouldn’t apply to them.

    Especially now that the halacha for conversions is much more strict than in the Shulchan Aruch, keeping people in limbo for years and years is leading to broken hearts, bitterness, and ruined lives. Maybe the RCA and the Israeli Chief Rabbinate should take a cue from the SY community, and stop pretending to allow conversions by sane sincere people.

    • Yankel May 12, 2011, 1:04 AM

      What you’re not understanding is that Rabbis can’t “Create” anything. The function of a Rabbi for the last 1500 years has been to recognize what the Torah rules in any given situation.
      No creations.

    • Dan May 12, 2011, 7:00 AM

      How can you possibly complain that the “rabbis” are being mean to people who are choosing to do this process?

      Nobody is being forced to convert, if the process takes too long, just don’t do it.

      (Also, you are not understanding the halachic process. We are able to prohibit new things, but not to allow previously prohibited things.)

      • Avrumy May 12, 2011, 10:00 AM

        Your point of only allowing to prohibit, but not repeal old prohibitions reminds me of the nonsense of not eating fish with meat because some old time Chazal types thought it was dangerous. But because they set it into the books, it is irrevocable. Ridiculous. If we, the orthodox, really believe that these men can never be wrong, it is a shame on us, not them.

        • Dan May 12, 2011, 10:47 AM

          Maybe we don’t believe they can never be wrong.

          Maybe we just think they will be correct more often than we are, therefore, we are better off just doing what they said instead of trying to re-examine it.

  • ipitythefoo May 11, 2011, 10:11 PM

    Hesh, You have got to back away from the conversion posts.

    Agreed with some of the above, ET should see the beauty in the process of her conversion. She seems to lack an important recognition, being a Jew isn’t thinking a ccertain way or doing particular things – it is a status. She is not yet a Jew, but if she wants it bad enough and she feels it srongly, she can be.

    Really, this sappy conversion stuff is sickening, it misses the point of the whole process.

  • Anonymous May 12, 2011, 6:23 AM

    It’s an explanation of why conversion today is different than in the times of the shulchan aruch.

  • Anonymous May 12, 2011, 8:08 AM
  • Chris_B May 12, 2011, 4:18 PM

    Walk up to anyone on the street and ask them “who are you?” and you will get a quick answer. Almost everyone knows such a simple thing. Ask someone in the process of conversion and then things become complicated.

  • anon May 13, 2011, 6:34 AM

    Whilst there are many righteous converts there are also many people who convert for ulterior motives: marriage and other family reasons, Israeli citizenship and social benefits, missionaries, etc. This is part of the reason why it is much harder to convert today. A righteous convert told me that in her ulpan giur in Israel the vast majority of participants were fakes, and I have seen female converts who within weeks of converting are wearing tight jeans. The rabbis have to be sure that the convert’s motives are pure. I understand that the process is emotionally challenging for sincere converts, but they also have to understand just why converting to Judaism is so demanding. Judaism is hard to get into, but then so is Harvard.

    Also it is good for the convert that it takes some time. Once you’re in, you’re in, and liable for all the mitzvot. You can’t just change your mind. I knew someone who started converting and gave up as it wasn’t for him. It reminds me a bit of what Prince William said about his long relationship with Kate. He wanted to give her time to see exactly what she is letting herself in for, as there would be no going back, once she “I do’ed”.

    I would recommend to Trixie to read “In the Garden of Faith” by Rav Arush. It’s a great book to learn to see our challenges through the eyes of emuna. (It’s good for everyone for this purpose).

    My community in Israel hosts converts in the process from Spanish speaking countries and is very supportive of them. Each one has an adoptive family. If possible you (Trixie) may try to find a more supportive environemnt, including an adoptive family. Good luck.

  • Aviva May 15, 2011, 10:54 PM

    I saw a movie today (http://tjctv.com/movies/a-green-chariot/) that was utterly painful to watch. I could relate to the character even though the situation wasn’t exactly the same. He thought his mother was a Jew, felt Jewish, prayed as a Jew, lived as a Jew, observed mitzvot, went to Yeshiva… and suddenly his status as a Jew was taken from him and he felt like a “fake”. One of the saddest parts of the film (for me) was when he goes to pray after finding out that his mother wasn’t actually Jewish, and momentarily stops when he gets to “Shelo asani goi”… I felt so sad for him, and understood the pain/confusion very well.
    Being in the conversion process can feel pretty similar, especially if you’ve done a previous, non-Ortho conversion, were subsequently considered a Jew by the community you were a part of… and then changed your mind, decided you needed a halachic conversion… and once again you feel kinda like an outsider. It’s tough, but no one said becoming/even being a Jew was easy.
    I can definitely empathise with OP though. It really stings when people tell me I’m not Jewish according to halacha (even though I *know* this is the case)… but I do find comfort when Jews tell me I have a Jewish soul that’s finding it’s way home. Right now, I guess having a Jewish soul is “good enough”.
    But I still want to be “home”, officially. 🙂
    Hatzlecha rabba to Electric Trixie. You’re almost there!!!

  • sheyna May 17, 2011, 6:49 PM

    Do you really understand what a conversion process is about? It is a gift from Hashem. Like the conversion then will be a gift from Hashem. Remember Who is the Giver and understand what it means to be Jewish.

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