Going Through Conversion

Have you recently discovered that Christianity is a lie?  Are you wondering what to do next?  If you are considering an Orthodox conversion to Judaism, there are many things you must consider before you proceed.  

There are so many people leaving the church because there is something happening in the world right now that the church cannot see.  They realize their numbers are dwindling but they don’t know the reason.  I read an article about it and the author tried to come up with various reasons for the mass exodus.  They cited that some think it’s too boring. In response to this problem, churches which are considered traditional have taken to bringing in praise and worship music to liven things up. Apparently, some do like it.  But the inevitable result will be the same. The church is on its way out. They can try all the programs they wish but, for them, it is over. Their reign of fear mongering is coming to an end.

Many people who are leaving the church are naturally drawn to Judaism. These people don’t stop believing in G-d.  They just stop believing in who the church calls G-d.  But Judaism is nothing like Christianity.  There are many who will try to say it is.  These people have no knowledge of Judaism.  The messianic movement falls into this group.  The messianic movement was started in the 1970’s by the southern baptists as a means to convert Jews to Christianity. Their plan has backfired on them.  Many people who leave the church spend some time as messianic before going on to go through an Orthodox conversion.

Becoming Jewish takes a great deal of dedication.  There is so much to learn and unlearn.  My family and I spent about a year outside of the church before starting the conversion process. I think this time helped us get ready for what we were facing. The biggest thing to know when considering conversion is that it cannot be undone.  There is no going back.  Once you are Jewish, it’s final.  For this reason, the process takes a considerable amount of time to complete.  If during this time, you want to stop, that’s fine.  Many try to convert only to find there is more to it than they thought.  Those in this position can still live a righteous life as a Ben Noach and merit a place in the world to come.  One does not need to become Jewish in order to be “saved”.  That’s a Christian concept and has no place in Judaism.

Becoming Jewish changes every aspect of your life.  That is not an exaggeration.  Much of what you do in your everyday life becomes different.  It starts from the minute you wake up in the morning before you get out of bed.  There are blessings to be said upon awakening; after you wash your hands, which is no obligatory; after using the restroom; you are also not permitted to eat prior to saying the rest of the morning prayers.  Women have other obligations as well.  Married women must keep their hair covered, dress modestly, and have a myriad of other obligations concerning personal matters.  If you are not willing to take on these changes, which are some of the simple ones, you cannot convert to Judaism.

Converting also means changing what you eat.  There is more to it than simply refraining from eating pork.  You are not permitted to mix meat and dairy under any circumstances, even if it is being prepared for someone else.  You can’t cook a dairy product in a pan in which you have cooked meat.  Plates are no exception.  In fact, if you get dairy on a meat plate, it is rendered unusable.  Washing it makes no difference.  The laws of kashrus are extreme but necessary.  One cannot fully study Torah without eating a completely kosher diet.  Yes, there is a connection. Concepts like this may seem strange for a non-Jew, but they are common in Judaism.  There are connections like this, which no one else but the Jews know about.  If this seems odd to you, consider this.  The Jews have been far more advanced than the rest of the world all along. The modern ideas of string theory were written about two-thousand years ago in the Zohar.

The spiritual aspects of Judaism are also different.  A Jew is in contact with HaShem throughout the day.  Jewish men are expected to pray three times a day with a minyan.  A minyan is a group of at leat ten other men. In addition to these structured prayers, a Jew should endeavor to follow the example of King David who turned to HaShem at all times.  For many people coming out of Christianity, this seems like a lot of praying.  It is.  Christians typically pray at meal times, bed time, and sometimes through the day when something is wrong or bothering them.  There are of course some Christians who pray more and I don’t mean to discount them.  But many don’t even pray at all.

The Torah teaches us that all things come from HaShem.  The church teaches that just the good things come from G-d and all the bad things in our lives come from the devil.  There is no devil in Judaism.  HaShem gives us trials in our lives to lead us to repentance.  That is what He wants from us; to continually be connecting to Him.  We connect to Him by learning His ways and keeping His commandments.  Moses said, “let me know your ways so that I may know you.”(Shemot/Exodus 33:13)  The church teaches that there is nothing you can do to connect with G-d except to believe.  So you see, Christians never really connect with HaShem.   The Charismatic churches make the claim of being “spirit-filled”.  But what they call a spiritual encounter is, in reality, nothing more than an emotional experience.  They use music and charismatic speakers to induce these experiences.  This is not connecting to the G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

If you are truly considering converting to Judaism, I hope I have shed some light on the subject for you.  There are many things to consider.  You might lose family and friends.  You could have to change jobs in order to keep Shabbat and holidays so there might be financial struggles.  If you are married, your spouse will have to convert also.  They will not let you through if you are married to a non-Jew.  You will also have to move into a Jewish community.  There is no other way to do it.

Conversion to Judaism means changing every aspect of your life. Think about it long and hard.  There is no better way to live, but are you willing to give up everything you currently call life in order to do it?  If the answer is “no” or “I’m not sure” you should not continue.  It won’t be right for you. However, if you can answer yes to this question, I suggest talking to some Orthodox rabbis who specialize in conversion. Not all rabbis are familiar with conversions.  Some are not interested in it at all.  You will also have to go through a Beis Din, which is a religious court in order to complete the conversion.

On the subject of the Beis Din (also written Beit Din, or Beth Din), not every one is recognized by the Chief Rabbinate in Israel as kosher for conversions.  Converts who wish to move to Israel after conversion might have problems later if their Beis Din is not recognized.  It is not currently advised to move to Israel and go through conversion there.  In the US there are only about forty that are recognized in Israel, so you have to check.  Don’t ever assume anything.  That goes for every aspect of the conversion.  You have to work with a rabbi whom you trust and are comfortable discussing some awkward subjects.

If you have decided to go through conversion, I wish you good fortune (mazal tov) and please take a moment to leave a comment.  It is a great experience and a joy to go through.

Copyright 2017 by:

William Bouker

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