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usuario



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PostSubject: Kiruv educational programs (e.g. Aish, Chabad)   Wed Apr 18, 2012 1:40 pm

Anyone here participate in kiruv programs? These are programs run by Orthodox organizations aiming to educate secular Jews and get them interested in Orthodox Judaism.

I just finished a 10-week online program called JOU Max (Jerusalem Online University), which is sponsored by Aish HaTorah. It was a bunch of live online lectures open to people on college campuses. It was quite enlightening and I learned a lot about aspects and perspective to Jewish holidays and traditions I didn't know about. They talked a lot about the Jewish perspective on things like pleasure, time, and nationhood and not so much about halacha, which was refreshing coming from Orthodox rabbis. It was exciting being able to chat online live and actually see them answer your questions. Now I do hope they make good on the $200 stipend they're promising.

There are some other programs like Sinai Scholars run by Chabad and numerous paid retreats and even subsidized trips to Israel to learn and study with them. Has anyone else tried doing these programs?
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PostSubject: Re: Kiruv educational programs (e.g. Aish, Chabad)   Wed Apr 18, 2012 4:05 pm

I tried to sign up for one program with Aish--I think it was to have a Jewish study partner for Torah--but they wouldn't take me because I'm not yet converted.

I'm considering doing Daf Yomi when it starts this August. I asked my conversion friend at synagogue if he wanted to try it with me, but he said he thought that was too big a project for him to handle right now. So I'll have to see if some sort of study group or partner wanders into my life between now and then.
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: Kiruv educational programs (e.g. Aish, Chabad)   Wed Apr 18, 2012 4:17 pm

usuario wrote:
Anyone here participate in kiruv programs? These are programs run by Orthodox organizations aiming to educate secular Jews and get them interested in Orthodox Judaism.

I haven't. I have done some of the Jewish Pathways "classes". I have several more to finish. I got a little bored with them I think. I should get back to those and get them done.

usuario wrote:
There are some other programs like Sinai Scholars run by Chabad and numerous paid retreats and even subsidized trips to Israel to learn and study with them. Has anyone else tried doing these programs?

Because I didn't have an Orthodox conversion I wouldn't be comfortable putting myself in that situation. Of course, I have no plans to go off to study anyway since I wouldn't want to leave my husband for more than a week or two.

Quote :
I tried to sign up for one program with Aish--I think it was to have a Jewish study partner for Torah--but they wouldn't take me because I'm not yet converted.

As far as I've been able to determine there aren't any "official" Torah partner programs for non-Orthodox converts. But I'm sure you could find someone another way. Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Kiruv educational programs (e.g. Aish, Chabad)   Wed Apr 18, 2012 8:19 pm

Dena covered my response to this orthodox outreach too.. since they don't see non-Orthodox conversions as valid, I doubt they would be interested in 'reaching out' to what they see as non-Jews. Now, I have no idea how much, if any, paperwork they demand, so they would never even know that you converted through non-Orthodox routes, but I wouldn't be comfortable putting myself in that situation.
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tamar

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PostSubject: Re: Kiruv educational programs (e.g. Aish, Chabad)   Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:57 pm

I have no desire to study with orthodox outreach. I do occasionally go to the Chabad Torah study group but again I don't want my children to be connected even to Chabad because they won't view any of us as Jewish.

I study with Jewish groups who accept me as Jewish and I have no desire to put myself out there among groups that don't.

As to paperwork even Chabad askes on their application for their Hebrew school about any converts in a childs family. Neither the Conservative Reconstructionist or Reform synagogues in my area ask about conversion status of parents for membership or Hebrew school.
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FaustianSlip

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PostSubject: Re: Kiruv educational programs (e.g. Aish, Chabad)   Thu Apr 19, 2012 10:18 am

As someone with a Conservative conversion, I think it's a real shame that there are such limited study opportunities (online, at least) for non-Orthodox Jews in general and converts in particular. I mean, if the Conservative Yeshiva offered some kind of free classes online, I would absolutely sign on. Ditto Mechon Hadar (though they do put some stuff up as video podcasts, which are typically very good). I don't mind reading kiruv stuff by Orthodox sources, necessarily (I just mentally filter out the sexism in particular), but I think this is part of why both Conservative and Reform Judaism see people shift over to Orthodoxy; the resources there for people who want to learn are just much more numerous and freely available, even if you're not in a heavily Jewish area. I can't decide if they're aware of this and just don't care, don't have the time or resources to try and provide similar options or don't understand that for a lot of Jews, especially young ones, this is the kind of stuff that helps keep people in the fold, so to speak. It's very frustrating when even the USCJ website is a barren wasteland for learning compared to places like Aish and Chabad- and I don't agree with the overarching philosophy of either of those organizations. Honestly, I find it a bit embarrassing, and it really doesn't have to be that way.
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PostSubject: Re: Kiruv educational programs (e.g. Aish, Chabad)   Sun Apr 22, 2012 4:15 pm

FaustianSlip wrote:
I don't mind reading kiruv stuff by Orthodox sources, necessarily (I just mentally filter out the sexism in particular), but I think this is part of why both Conservative and Reform Judaism see people shift over to Orthodoxy; the resources there for people who want to learn are just much more numerous and freely available, even if you're not in a heavily Jewish area. I can't decide if they're aware of this and just don't care, don't have the time or resources to try and provide similar options or don't understand that for a lot of Jews, especially young ones, this is the kind of stuff that helps keep people in the fold, so to speak.

I agree. As for the why? Maybe it's lack of time, money and interest on the part of those who could actually put things together?
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maculated

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PostSubject: Re: Kiruv educational programs (e.g. Aish, Chabad)   Sun Apr 22, 2012 6:59 pm

Umm, the Conservative Yeshiva does (or at least one does): http://web.mac.com/aaaron12/Aaron_Alexander/Welcome.html

:)

In all honesty, I think limiting yourself to non-Orthodox is . . . limiting. I find a lot of good depth to Orthodox teachings and we're certainly able to distinguish what fits our belief system without having something confined to a label.

Also, remember that Orthodoxy is experience a resurgence thanks to the educational outreach they are doing - heck, I donate a bit of money monthly to the Chabad website because I think they're doing good work. This resurgence generates money. It's also teaching pretty much the same stuff Reform and Conservative would teach (maybe with a different slant) - it's the practice and interpretation that's different.
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FaustianSlip

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PostSubject: Re: Kiruv educational programs (e.g. Aish, Chabad)   Sun Apr 22, 2012 7:22 pm

Yeah, one of them (American Jewish University, not the Conservative Yeshiva) has an old, out-of-date website with a few podcasts. Woohoo! No, that's actually more than I would have expected, and I know Mechon Hadar occasionally has podcasts available (though they seem to take an eternity to download, don't know why), but the fact that a few podcasts is pretty much all that's out there for Conservative Jews still strikes me as pretty sad.

I read Aish and Chabad and the like plenty, but I only want to read about how, "Women don't do X," or "Women shouldn't do Y," so many times. I don't give money to either of those organizations, because I'm not interested in supporting groups whose leadership actively prevents women from being involved in ritual life and contributes to the increasing haredization of Israel, making it that much more difficult for people like me to either visit or make aliyah (and let's not even touch the question of the Western Wall or segregated buses). The fact that they have nice resources is great and all, but that doesn't mean they're who I'm going to funnel my money to (I did give money to my college Chabad house, but I feel like that's a different deal, since I know how they'll spend it- I have no idea where any money I give to the greater Chabad organization would go). The meschichist stuff also makes me uncomfortable giving money to Chabad.

The fact that all of this kiruv is leading to a resurgence in Orthodoxy is exactly why it saddens me that neither the Conservative nor the Reform movements seem willing to make it much of a priority. Everyone loves to bemoan the impending "death" of Conservative Judaism, and while I think that's exaggerated, there's also very little help coming from groups like USCJ in the form of online kiruv (let alone real life options). Your options are either quit your job and go to the Conservative Yeshiva, Mechon Hadar or rabbinical school, use Orthodox sources (often right-wing Orthodox sources, because neither Aish nor Chabad are what anyone would call "moderate") or... well, that's it, really.

I would also disagree that places like Chabad are necessarily teaching "pretty much the same stuff" the other, more liberal movements would teach. Maybe in some cases, but in a lot of others, there are minhagim and chumrot that get thrown in that aren't at all mainstream, even in Modern Orthodoxy. If the practice and interpretation of whatever is being taught are different, than it isn't really basically the same at all, IMHO. And while one only has to look at my bookshelf to see that I don't let denominational labels prevent me from buying Jewish texts and such (I mean, I'm working on Kitzur Shulchan Aruch right now), if you want your denomination to be dynamic and experience growth, this kind of stuff helps, and there's just not a lot out there in non-Orthodox circles.

And you know, when it boils down to it, emotionally, I don't love the idea of studying materials put out by people who don't believe I'm Jewish in the first place. Or that women should be studying them in the first place. Sure, I can, but I think it's a huge mistake for the Conservative movement to look around say, "Oh, well, these Ortho kiruv groups are doing our work for us, no need to bother," and just sit on their hands. This stuff is the kind of thing that will keep the movement going, not huge shul fees and the like. It makes me really question the priorities of groups like URJ and USCJ; they could be growing their movements, too, with even a little bit of outreach to people outside the U.S., but they really don't seem that interested, which strikes me as very bizarre.
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PostSubject: Re: Kiruv educational programs (e.g. Aish, Chabad)   Sun Apr 22, 2012 7:28 pm

maculated wrote:


In all honesty, I think limiting yourself to non-Orthodox is . . . limiting. I find a lot of good depth to Orthodox teachings and we're certainly able to distinguish what fits our belief system without having something confined to a label.

I don't know about anyone else but I don't limit myself. I do most (90%) of my learning from Orthodox sources. However, I am not going to go join a class or try to travel to Israel with an Orthodox organization. It would be both me and the organization in an unpleasant situation. Most likely I'd have to lie which I will not do.

That being said sometimes I want the Conservative perspective on something and I absolutely cannot find it. I look high and low and can't figure it out. That is when I really wish there was more information available. Chabad is a great resource but my theology and view of the world is vastly different so while I can glean a lot of things from their site, sometimes I need another source to make a complete picture.

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PostSubject: Re: Kiruv educational programs (e.g. Aish, Chabad)   Sun Apr 22, 2012 7:34 pm

What Dena said, pretty much. I read and use a lot of Orthodox sources. I used to buy Artscroll stuff all the time, until I got fed up with their ultra-Haredi perspective on everything and quit giving them my money. But there are denominational differences, major ones, between the movements, and sometimes, an Orthodox source isn't going to work for what I want to know. As Dena also mentioned, Orthodox sources work great for online reading, but there's no way I can call up Partners in Torah or whatever and try to have a one-on-one learning experience with them, because they don't think I'm "really" Jewish, for one, and I'm not sure what they'd give a woman to study, for another.

Expressing content with a lack of sources specific to your denomination does not mean that I categorically refuse to read any Orthodox sources or use an Orthodox answer when I can't find a Conservative one. In all honesty, I find that assumption a little condescending (especially since I think I did specifically say that I don't necessarily mind using Orthodox sources when necessary), especially because the simple fact of the matter is that often, Conservative and Orthodox opinions differ, and I like to know why. The only way for me to get those answers, at present, is to e-mail my rabbi, but he's a busy guy and doesn't always have time to answer. And if I just want to read freely, it's nice to read stuff written by someone who doesn't necessarily think that you should be locked away behind a mechitza during services, if you bother to come to services at all, which is the attitude I sometimes encounter in some Orthodox sources.
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usuario



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PostSubject: Re: Kiruv educational programs (e.g. Aish, Chabad)   Sun Apr 22, 2012 8:59 pm

You see Jews of all types and observances going to Chabad and Aish and their kiruv programs. These Jews may never see themselves going gung-ho BT and some are even avowed atheists, but they enjoy the company of being around other Jews and people who share their culture and traditions and thus have something to bond over. They do not limit themselves to Reform and Conservative-affiliated places, and I feel that if we as converts do, then we are walling ourselves off from the majority of people who are Jewishly involved.
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PostSubject: Re: Kiruv educational programs (e.g. Aish, Chabad)   Sun Apr 22, 2012 9:32 pm

Maybe not, and I'm not at all suggesting that non-Orthodox converts refrain from any/all involvement with Chabd, Aish or other Orthodox kiruv organizations (I certainly don't). I am, however, pointing out that whatever non-Orthodox Jews may choose to do with the knowledge they obtain from their involvement with these groups, and whether they become traditionally observant or not, the ultimate, very openly-stated goal of both Chabad and Aish is to pursuade each and every Jew to return to traditional observance as they define it. Period, end of sentence. Sure, it's great if a Reform Jew goes to Chabad and starts lighting Shabbos candles, but it's even better if she starts wearing skirts, attending an Orthodox synagogue and becomes frum. This isn't some big secret, and I don't think it's particularly politically incorrect to point this out. The same Litvish and Haredi rabbis who sit on the boards of these organizations are pushing for increased haredism in Israeli law and society, segregated buses, et cetera, et cetera, and I'm as hesitant to give money to groups that support those things as I would be to give money to a really nice soup kitchen that happened to be run by evangelical Christians. It doesn't mean they're not nice people or not doing good work, necessarily, but oftentimes, their goals are not my goals.

And bottom line, I don't like feeling as if I have to veil who I am, Jewishly speaking, in order to participate in community events, which is what I often feel that I'm doing at places like Chabad. I'm constantly on alert for someone trying to ferret out the nature of my connection to Judaism and the like, because the second my conversion becomes a topic of discussion, I'm no longer Jewish in that community, and I'm not going to have that debate at shul with a bunch of people I don't know. You yourself, Usuario, have expressed these same feelings before. That doesn't mean that I would never set foot in a Chabad house or anything (on the contrary, I spent most of my time at Chabad in college and immediately following), but I definitely feel warier and more out of place there than I do in a more liberal community, and I would love to see the liberal denominations pursue something comparable to what I see from Aish and Chabad, even on a smaller scale.

I find it kind of weird, actually, that coming out and stating that liberal Judaism isn't doing enough to reach out to disengaged and/or not centrally located Jews is getting as much pushback as it is here. What are we saying, exactly? That there's only room for a couple of frum kiruv organizations, and everyone else should back off, since Aish and Chabad have already staked out their territory? I definitely don't agree with that perspective.
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PostSubject: Re: Kiruv educational programs (e.g. Aish, Chabad)   Sun Apr 22, 2012 9:46 pm

usuario wrote:
You see Jews of all types and observances going to Chabad and Aish and their kiruv programs. These Jews may never see themselves going gung-ho BT and some are even avowed atheists, but they enjoy the company of being around other Jews and people who share their culture and traditions and thus have something to bond over. They do not limit themselves to Reform and Conservative-affiliated places, and I feel that if we as converts do, then we are walling ourselves off from the majority of people who are Jewishly involved.

If you go on a trip with them do they not ask if your mother was Jewish? If people ask me about myself, what do I say? It's obvious I didn't grow up religious. So..why didn't I? Who are my parents? Where are they from? I can't answer any of it without revealing I'm a convert. Where did I convert? GAME OVER. I actually know someone who had this happen to her son. He went to Israel and after he got there the group realized their family had a non-Orthodox conversion. They were not mean to him but they didn't want him to participate. He was a very serious student. She was trying to contact everyone she knew to find him another group to stay with for the rest of the time. I believe he did end up having a good trip.

There is a difference between an atheist man born to a Jewish mother and a non-Orthodox female convert. Whether I like it or not...there is a difference. So while I do learn from Chabad and Aish websites, I read books by Orthodox authors, I ask Orthodox Rabbis questions and I may attend events with the Orthodox community...I'm not going to go on a trip or attend a Chabad class. That just isn't going to happen.
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PostSubject: Re: Kiruv educational programs (e.g. Aish, Chabad)   Mon Apr 23, 2012 12:48 pm

I don't want to be a part of orthodox learning. I go to my local reform, conservative, and renewal communities for my learning. When I want to know something I ask my rabbi. The local Jewish organizations have many learning opportunities.

The local Chabad does not ask about ones Jewishness to take classes, but if you want to sign up your kids for Hebrew school they do. I have taken classes with them and sometimes go to their Torah study. But the reality is the orthodox do not and will not see me or my children as Jewish.

I will when my kids are older sit them down and explain this reality to them and if one day they want to be more observant there are ways for them to do that without being orthodox.

It really saddens me that there is this division within the Jewish people and I feel we are our own worst enemy. That the diversity that is Judaism is a good thing.

I converted with the rabbi I did and I attend the Temple I do because this is the Judaism I want to follow.

What the orthodox don't understand is that one can start out as non observant but become observant over time. When they shut the door on us they make the possibility of us moving towards orthodoxy non existent.

I know for me there is a whole Jewish world that does accept me and that is where I want to be.
Dena wrote:
usuario wrote:
You see Jews of all types and observances going to Chabad and Aish and their kiruv programs. These Jews may never see themselves going gung-ho BT and some are even avowed atheists, but they enjoy the company of being around other Jews and people who share their culture and traditions and thus have something to bond over. They do not limit themselves to Reform and Conservative-affiliated places, and I feel that if we as converts do, then we are walling ourselves off from the majority of people who are Jewishly involved.

If you go on a trip with them do they not ask if your mother was Jewish? If people ask me about myself, what do I say? It's obvious I didn't grow up religious. So..why didn't I? Who are my parents? Where are they from? I can't answer any of it without revealing I'm a convert. Where did I convert? GAME OVER. I actually know someone who had this happen to her son. He went to Israel and after he got there the group realized their family had a non-Orthodox conversion. They were not mean to him but they didn't want him to participate. He was a very serious student. She was trying to contact everyone she knew to find him another group to stay with for the rest of the time. I believe he did end up having a good trip.

There is a difference between an atheist man born to a Jewish mother and a non-Orthodox female convert. Whether I like it or not...there is a difference. So while I do learn from Chabad and Aish websites, I read books by Orthodox authors, I ask Orthodox Rabbis questions and I may attend events with the Orthodox community...I'm not going to go on a trip or attend a Chabad class. That just isn't going to happen.
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PostSubject: Re: Kiruv educational programs (e.g. Aish, Chabad)   Mon Apr 23, 2012 7:54 pm

tamar wrote:
I don't want to be a part of orthodox learning.

See, I actually do but I don't want to embarrass myself or anyone else. There are always questions. I volunteer at a Jewish hospital and every week I have people ask me things like "where do you go to services, where do you live, why would a Jew live over there, where did you grow up, which synagogue did you attend when you were young"? These all lead back to the same thing. Now, I don't tell them I am a convert but I think some of them pick up on it. Others probably just figure I didn't grow up religious.

tamar wrote:
The local Chabad does not ask about ones Jewishness to take classes, but if you want to sign up your kids for Hebrew school they do. I have taken classes with them and sometimes go to their Torah study. But the reality is the orthodox do not and will not see me or my children as Jewish.

I have an acquaintance who told me Chabad allows non-Jewish children to attend their schools. I'd never heard it and have no idea if it's true? She lives on the west coast so not anywhere near me.

tamar wrote:
What the orthodox don't understand is that one can start out as non observant but become more observant over time.

I think that might irrelevant to why they do not accept non-Orthodox conversions. I would say it's less about the convert and more about the Rabbis on the beit din. It's about what is asked of the person and what they accept. The assumptions would be that a Reform Rabbi would not require the convert to walk to services, keep perfectly kosher, observe the laws of family purity, etc. Yes they may do that in the future but at the time of the conversion that Rabbi didn't make it a requirement. The three Rabbis (or whoever) who sat in on the beit din were not Orthodox and therefore not good enough, so to speak.

tamar wrote:
When they shut the door on us they make the possibility of us moving towards orthodoxy non existent.

Eh, since there are many people who convert more than once I wouldn't say the door is shut. It might be a little more difficult. Anyone can go to Orthodox services.

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PostSubject: Re: Kiruv educational programs (e.g. Aish, Chabad)   Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:09 pm

It is absolutely silly to convert more then once just to satisfy another movement. I know folks who also converted more then once.

For me the issue is that one conversion ought to be enough. One can become more observant without having to undergo another conversion. I have Jewish by birth friends who have walked away from Judaism because the issues of who is a Jew. They have decided that is it so problematic in their view they have turned their backs altogether on Judaism.

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PostSubject: Re: Kiruv educational programs (e.g. Aish, Chabad)   Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:30 pm

tamar wrote:
It is absolutely silly to convert more then once just to satisfy another movement. I know folks who also converted more then once.

For me the issue is that one conversion ought to be enough. One can become more observant without having to undergo another conversion.

I don't think it's silly at all. Who are we to judge a person's desire to convert as "silly"? What was right for them at one time may not be right for them 5 years down the line. There are people who aren't in a position to convert through one particular movement because of finances or personal commitment. Ten years later they find themselves able to afford a move or they have divorced a spouse who wasn't committed to Jewish living. Now they feel ready and that's their prerogative. When we convert we don't always know exactly what we want for the rest of our lives. I'll include myself. Think of those who convert when they are in their early 20's. Can they be expected to know exactly which affiliation they want for the rest of their lives? Nope.

tamar wrote:
I have Jewish by birth friends who have walked away from Judaism because the issues of who is a Jew. They have decided that is it so problematic in their view they have turned their backs altogether on Judaism.

That's sad but it's a choice they made. Nobody forced them to walk away. There are a lot of issues in life. We can deal with them..or walk away. Maybe down the line they will change their mind and realize they shouldn't let that issue push them away.
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PostSubject: Re: Kiruv educational programs (e.g. Aish, Chabad)   Mon Apr 23, 2012 9:32 pm

tamar wrote:


What the orthodox don't understand is that one can start out as non observant but become observant over time. When they shut the door on us they make the possibility of us moving towards orthodoxy non existent.

The major obstacle IMO is that Jewishness is completely black and white to the Orthodox. To the Orthodox, you can be a hardcore atheist and hate Judaism, but if your mother is Jewish then you're as Jewish as R. Schneersohn (or R. Weinberg in the case of Aish), and we want to pay you $$$ to come to Israel and learn and marry another Jew! On the other hand, you can be completely observant but if your beit din was Conservative, then you're as Jewish as Barack Obama. Your touch makes wine treif and intermarriage with you is the second Holocaust. To the Orthodox, there is a kabbalistic difference between a non-Jew's soul and that of a Jew so until we are halachically Jewish to their standards, our behavior and attitudes toward Judaism do not matter, we are shkutzim and not welcome. I think this is an outrage and the definition of following the letter of the law blindly with no compassion and regard for human feelings.

What I've been doing so far is trying to make up a backstory for myself. Now, as Debbie B said, if you regularly hang out with Orthodox Jews this is a problem, but in terms of these kiruv programs where the organizer doesn't know you and it's not like you need to provide references from Orthodox rabbis, I just tell them that my dad is atheist but my mom is Jewish, and that I had a basic Hebrew Sunday school education that ended with a bar mitzvah but that's it. Being a Jew of Color, the dad being an atheist part is important, I would not be as credible if I had said that they were both Jewish. I believe I am Jewish and therefore I qualify for their kiruv program. I am only "lying" to bypass their intolerance and ignorance about non-Orthodox conversions. I refuse to let myself be seen as Jewish in terms of some people and non-Jewish in others, if I can avoid it!
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PostSubject: Re: Kiruv educational programs (e.g. Aish, Chabad)   Mon Apr 23, 2012 10:54 pm

Conversion to Judaism should not take several conversions. I am accepted by all except Orthodox. To convert Reform to Conservative to Orthodox is silly in my opinion when once you convert the first time you are Jewish.

That is my opinion.

I am judging that people are made to feel they have to convert to different movement to be accepted. That is absolutely wrong.


Dena wrote:
tamar wrote:
It is absolutely silly to convert more then once just to satisfy another movement. I know folks who also converted more then once.

For me the issue is that one conversion ought to be enough. One can become more observant without having to undergo another conversion.

I don't think it's silly at all. Who are we to judge a person's desire to convert as "silly"? What was right for them at one time may not be right for them 5 years down the line. There are people who aren't in a position to convert through one particular movement because of finances or personal commitment. Ten years later they find themselves able to afford a move or they have divorced a spouse who wasn't committed to Jewish living. Now they feel ready and that's their prerogative. When we convert we don't always know exactly what we want for the rest of our lives. I'll include myself. Think of those who convert when they are in their early 20's. Can they be expected to know exactly which affiliation they want for the rest of their lives? Nope.

tamar wrote:
I have Jewish by birth friends who have walked away from Judaism because the issues of who is a Jew. They have decided that is it so problematic in their view they have turned their backs altogether on Judaism.

That's sad but it's a choice they made. Nobody forced them to walk away. There are a lot of issues in life. We can deal with them..or walk away. Maybe down the line they will change their mind and realize they shouldn't let that issue push them away.
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PostSubject: Re: Kiruv educational programs (e.g. Aish, Chabad)   Tue Apr 24, 2012 12:01 am

usuario wrote:

What I've been doing so far is trying to make up a backstory for myself. Now, as Debbie B said, if you regularly hang out with Orthodox Jews this is a problem, but in terms of these kiruv programs where the organizer doesn't know you and it's not like you need to provide references from Orthodox rabbis, I just tell them that my dad is atheist but my mom is Jewish, and that I had a basic Hebrew Sunday school education that ended with a bar mitzvah but that's it. Being a Jew of Color, the dad being an atheist part is important, I would not be as credible if I had said that they were both Jewish. I believe I am Jewish and therefore I qualify for their kiruv program. I am only "lying" to bypass their intolerance and ignorance about non-Orthodox conversions. I refuse to let myself be seen as Jewish in terms of some people and non-Jewish in others, if I can avoid it!

Lying is lying, and if you get caught not only is it going to be embarrassing for you but it's going to make converts in general look bad. We could be seen as manipulative an deceitful. You know what I mean? I admit I am a little curious too as to why you don't just do an Orthodox conversion so you don't have to worry about it?

usuario wrote:
Your touch makes wine treif and intermarriage with you is the second Holocaust. To the Orthodox, there is a kabbalistic difference between a non-Jew's soul and that of a Jew so until we are halachically Jewish to their standards, our behavior and attitudes toward Judaism do not matter, we are shkutzim and not welcome. I think this is an outrage and the definition of following the letter of the law blindly with no compassion and regard for human feelings.

So may I ask why you are making up stories for yourself in order to study with these people if this is how you feel? I guess what I'm saying is I would not go through the trouble to be a part of a group that would feel that way about me if they knew the truth.



Last edited by Dena on Tue Apr 24, 2012 12:13 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Kiruv educational programs (e.g. Aish, Chabad)   Tue Apr 24, 2012 12:12 am

tamar wrote:
Conversion to Judaism should not take several conversions. I am accepted by all except Orthodox. To convert Reform to Conservative to Orthodox is silly in my opinion when once you convert the first time you are Jewish.

I totally understand the requirement to complete another conversion if one goes from Reform/Conservative to Orthodoxy. I honestly don't have an issue with it. It actually makes sense to me and no, I am not Orthodox. As for Reform to Conservative I'm not sure how many people feel pressured to do it? I know many people do it because that is what they want to do. It's where they belong. I imagine there are some who skipped one of the conversion steps (mikveh for example) and they are required to complete another conversion. There is a difference between the movements and by having a second conversion you affirm your agreement with the standards and your commitment to halacha from the Conservative perspective. That commitment is different from the Reform movement. One movement considers halacha binding and the other does not. To me that's a pretty significant difference. Though a convert can technically flow from one to the other I can see where another conversion would be preferable for some individuals.

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PostSubject: Re: Kiruv educational programs (e.g. Aish, Chabad)   Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:13 am

I had a halachic conversion. I am accepted by all except orthodox. I did not undergo a conversion under any of the movements. The Rabbis on my Beit Din were Reform, Conservative and unaffiliated.

I do not have to undergo another conversion to be a member of a conservative shul. There is not a requirement to undergo another conversion to attend another shul. Once you have undergone a halachic conversion you are Jewish.

Dena wrote:
tamar wrote:
Conversion to Judaism should not take several conversions. I am accepted by all except Orthodox. To convert Reform to Conservative to Orthodox is silly in my opinion when once you convert the first time you are Jewish. The Rabbi I worked with said that converts are to be accepted and to question them goes against Judaism. It is not ok to put converts in a position that they feel uncomfortable. Once we are Jewish we are part of the Jewish people.

I totally understand the requirement to complete another conversion if one goes from Reform/Conservative to Orthodoxy. I honestly don't have an issue with it. It actually makes sense to me and no, I am not Orthodox. As for Reform to Conservative I'm not sure how many people feel pressured to do it? I know many people do it because that is what they want to do. It's where they belong. I imagine there are some who skipped one of the conversion steps (mikveh for example) and they are required to complete another conversion. There is a difference between the movements and by having a second conversion you affirm your agreement with the standards and your commitment to halacha from the Conservative perspective. That commitment is different from the Reform movement. One movement considers halacha binding and the other does not. To me that's a pretty significant difference. Though a convert can technically flow from one to the other I can see where another conversion would be preferable for some individuals.

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PostSubject: Re: Kiruv educational programs (e.g. Aish, Chabad)   Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:51 am

tamar wrote:
I had a halachic conversion. I am accepted by all except orthodox. I did not undergo a conversion under any of the movements. The Rabbis on my Beit Din were Reform, Conservative and unaffiliated.

I do not have to undergo another conversion to be a member of a conservative shul. There is not a requirement to undergo another conversion to attend another shul. Once you have undergone a halachic conversion you are Jewish.

I feel like perhaps I am not being clear (wouldn't be the first time!) I didn't say your conversion was not halachic. I said that the Reform movement and the Conservative movement have a different perspective regarding halacha. The Reform movement holds that it is not binding. We can choose what is right for us and what is meaningful. The Conservative movement holds that halacha is binding. We may not observe every commandment but it is binding on us none the less. Big difference here. If a person converted without only a Reform Beit Din and then decided they wanted to be affiliated with the Conservative movement I can see why they might want another conversion. Of course it is not mandatory. I was not trying to insinuate that it's mandatory. I'm sorry if it sounded like it. That's not what I meant at all. There are also other reasons they may choose to go ahead and convert again. I can't list all of those reasons because I'm not aware of them. Maybe someone else here has a few ideas. I haven't known many people personally who went from Reform to Conservative with an actual conversion process.

There are of course people who have conversions like yours where they have Rabbis of different denominations on their beit din. There are also people who convert with Rabbis and a community that is unaffiliated.


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PostSubject: Re: Kiruv educational programs (e.g. Aish, Chabad)   Tue Apr 24, 2012 2:09 am

Conservative accept conversions of reform if the rituals of conversion are followed. More and more the reform are requiring the same rituals the conservative expect.

My conversion is accepted by the conservative movement because I studied, went before a Beit Din, into the mikvah and made promises as a Jew.

Conservatives accept reform conversions if they are halachic.




Dena wrote:
tamar wrote:
I had a halachic conversion. I am accepted by all except orthodox. I did not undergo a conversion under any of the movements. The Rabbis on my Beit Din were Reform, Conservative and unaffiliated.

I do not have to undergo another conversion to be a member of a conservative shul. There is not a requirement to undergo another conversion to attend another shul. Once you have undergone a halachic conversion you are Jewish.

I feel like perhaps I am not being clear (wouldn't be the first time!) I didn't say your conversion was not halachic. I said that the Reform movement and the Conservative movement have a different perspective regarding halacha. The Reform movement holds that it is not binding. We can choose what is right for us and what is meaningful. The Conservative movement holds that halacha is binding. We may not observe every commandment but it is binding on us none the less. Big difference here. If a person converted without only a Reform Beit Din and then decided they wanted to be affiliated with the Conservative movement I can see why they might want another conversion. Of course it is not mandatory. I was not trying to insinuate that it's mandatory. I'm sorry if it sounded like it. That's not what I meant at all. There are also other reasons they may choose to go ahead and convert again. I can't list all of those reasons because I'm not aware of them. Maybe someone else here has a few ideas. I haven't known many people personally who went from Reform to Conservative with an actual conversion process.

There are of course people who have conversions like yours where they have Rabbis of different denominations on their beit din. There are also people who convert with Rabbis and a community that is unaffiliated.


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