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 When did you tell your family?

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SaraK

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Age : 27

PostSubject: When did you tell your family?   Mon Feb 27, 2012 6:33 pm

I'm having a bit of an issue with my decision to convert, right now. I'm very close to my family (my mother in particular) and generally tell her about most of the big things that happen in my life. However, since I won't be beginning an actual conversion process until I move away from Edinburgh, I'm not sure I want to let her know about my decision to convert yet. I want to be part of a conversion process but also not lie to her.
So, I'm just wondering, how far along in your conversion process were you before you let your family/close friends know? Or did they know from the beginning?
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tamar

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PostSubject: Re: When did you tell your family?   Mon Feb 27, 2012 7:05 pm

My family knew from the very beginning. I was lucky to have a very supportive family. They did not see my journey as a rejection of what they believe but as their daughters journey towards a place that I would be home and the end point of my long search.

I also had children who were very excited in our celebrating new holidays and their beginning Hebrew school. That was another reason I was very open with my family. My children wanted to tell their grandparents about what they were doing and I did not want to tell my children that they could not talk to their grandparents about this.

I cannot imagine how it would have gone had they not been so open or had been hostile.



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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: When did you tell your family?   Mon Feb 27, 2012 7:48 pm

I told them about half way through. They are completely uninterested and not supportive. I don't even know if all of my family knows yet. I have a very large extended family. I just told my mother and a couple cousins. We don't discuss it so either people do not know or they don't want to bring up an awkward conversation. I know some of them believe I'm going to burn in hell forever. You don't just bring that up over Sunday brunch.

On my husband's side everyone knows (I think) and his parents/sister were fairly supportive. His parents came a ceremony and small party after I went to the mikveh. His mom really like the ceremony, she thought it was neat. His uncle who happens to be Muslims thinks it's awesome.

I personally think it's a good idea to wait until you have started the process. However, you know your mother best. If she's very open and won't mind then maybe you could tell her now. If you think she's going to be apprehensive or hurt then I would wait. When will you be moving?
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SaraK

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PostSubject: Re: When did you tell your family?   Mon Feb 27, 2012 7:50 pm

I'm leaning towards the second option. She's mentioned disdain for Judaism's "rules" in the past so I want to be comfortable observance wise when I tell her so I can prove the mitzvot are a good thing.

I'm moving after my uni course finishes so probably early June!
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: When did you tell your family?   Mon Feb 27, 2012 8:10 pm

SaraK wrote:
I'm leaning towards the second option. She's mentioned disdain for Judaism's "rules" in the past so I want to be comfortable observance wise when I tell her so I can prove the mitzvot are a good thing.

I'm not sure I understand what you mean when you say you want to prove to her the mitzvot are a good thing?

SaraK wrote:
I'm moving after my uni course finishes so probably early June!

Ah, well that's not too far from now.
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SaraK

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PostSubject: Re: When did you tell your family?   Mon Feb 27, 2012 8:15 pm

Dena wrote:
SaraK wrote:
I'm leaning towards the second option. She's mentioned disdain for Judaism's "rules" in the past so I want to be comfortable observance wise when I tell her so I can prove the mitzvot are a good thing.

I'm not sure I understand what you mean when you say you want to prove to her the mitzvot are a good thing?

SaraK wrote:
I'm moving after my uni course finishes so probably early June!

Ah, well that's not too far from now.

Well, she sees Judaism and Islam are rule-religions, whereas Christianity somehow isn't (not that's she's Christian either). I obviously have a different response to Judaism's commandments than she does, more along the line of seeing them as a positive guideline for life (very, very abbreviated version of my beliefs) but I kind of need to find my feet in this process to be able to show that to her? That's as good as I can explain it right now.
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James

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PostSubject: Re: When did you tell your family?   Mon Feb 27, 2012 9:40 pm

I told my family when I finally made the decision to convert.

My sisters were fine with, but my mom had some issues. I'm happy to say that she has come to terms with it, and even plans to attend the Shabbat ceremony.
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Debbie B.

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PostSubject: Re: When did you tell your family?   Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:23 pm

I did not tell my family until after my conversion was finalized. But since it was after nearly 22 years of being married to a Jew and they knew that we had raised our children as Jews, it was hardly a surprise. In fact, one of my sisters said "Well, it's about time, don't you think?" Laughing Members of my family had attended important Jewish ceremonies as well: my mother attended my son's traditional bris by an Orthodox mohel and a Pesach seder at our home only about a week after that, and several members of my family had attended my daughter's bat mitzvah. I realize now that the bat mitzvah was where my parents and the sister that was able to attend (the other sister was coming with her family, but her flight was cancelled due to weather) understood how involved I was in Judaism. They saw that I knew and sang along with the whole long all-Hebrew service and I davened with everyone else, even with the choreography of going up on the toes for Kedusha or bending the knees and bowing for Aleinu.

But I didn't tell any member of my family until after the fact. I consulted a couple in my minyan who are both converts and they agreed that it was probably best in my situation to wait until after the conversion was complete. I did not want my parents to feel that they ought to try to talk me out of it. I'm glad that I did wait until after my conversion was complete to tell people.

I didn't tell most members of my minyan for different reasons. (1) I wanted to minimize the possibility that somehow word would get to my family such as by a Facebook comment (I still suppressed all comments on my wall for a period of a few months before my conversion) (2) I did not want my minyan friends to be asking me about when it would be finalized. (As I told my rabbi, since it took me almost 10 years to finish a PhD, I had already dealt with people asking me "Are you finished yet?"
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Mychal

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PostSubject: Re: When did you tell your family?   Tue Feb 28, 2012 1:29 pm

After I made my decision to convert, I told my husband first, then a close friend. Then came co-workers, church friends, and other friends, my stepbrother (the Methodist minister), my dad and grandmother, then, very last, my mother.

I made the decision to convert December 2009. I didn't tell my mother I was converting until the end of September 2010. So you can see how long it took me to tell everyone and to work up the courage to tell my mother.

She started to cry over the phone, then said she had to go back to work. I happen to know she's asked my stepbrother's opinion on the matter, and he supported me, but since that time, it's not been mentioned by me or her.

Of course, if she keeps up with Facebook, she'll see that I've listed my religion as Judaism, and I sometimes make Jewish or Israeli-centric comments. So it's obvious--if she looks--that I haven't dropped my conversion. But if she doesn't want to talk about it, we don't have to talk about it. If I need to talk to anyone, I talk to my husband, my conversion friends at shul, or people here. Even before I decided to be a Jew, I didn't like to talk religion with my mother. She's the type that thinks what she believes is right and everyone else is wrong.
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: When did you tell your family?   Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:04 pm

I actually told my mother first (my husband knew before I did that I was going to convert). I didn't want it to get back to her through anyone else so I knew I needed to tell her before I told anyone else.
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Sarit

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PostSubject: Re: When did you tell your family?   Sat Jun 30, 2012 6:16 pm

I've told my partner first, although it seemed like he has already known that before I told him - he was just waiting for me to inform him. Very Happy We talk a lot, so he could easily see how much I've got involved with Judaism and how much it means to me.


I told my mother a couple of days ago. Well, she was sort of surprised and a little bit shocked, I suppose. She is a kind of religious, monotheistic, but not denominated (agnostic in that sense of the words - just monotheistic), but she doesn't have the experience of being a part of the community, or being seriously concerned with religion, or being observant. I think she is only scared a little bit of the unknown for her. Of course, she said something like "oh, wonderful, every religion is so beautiful, but I don't know, could it be that you are probably in some kind of Judaism-phase?"

I know that is her way of dealing with the surprise (not to say - with shock [although I honestly don't know what it is there to be so shocked or surprised about!?]) and that she probably needs more time to adjust to such a major "new" (as she sees it) narrative in my life, but I hope that she will deal with it gradually and that we will not have any tense situation about it. I sincerely believe that everything will be ok.

I haven't told my father yet. I'll let you know how that went. He was always very supportive with my decisions, so I hope for the best. :)
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