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John S

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Posts : 16
Join date : 2013-02-08
Age : 54
Location : Alabama

PostSubject: Shalom, Y'all !   Fri Feb 08, 2013 10:00 pm

Hi everyone- presenting myself as a not-Jewish-yet-but-looking-into-conversion-visitor, taking time to read up on everyone's progress and see what gems of wisdom I can glean from the experiences of others in the conversion process and how life goes as a JBC once it's all said and done.

A little about myself: I'm dangerously close to 50, married, and have 2 children ages 5 and 9. I grew up in the Southern Baptist and later Methodist churches, but fell out of that- hard- during my time in the military ('81-'92, Marines and Army). I tried to return to Christianity through the Catholic church, but that just brought up the same old questions I had before and I was left adrift. A few years ago I thought I finally had it all figured out and became Muslim (yes, I know- what was I thinking!) but the more I learned the less I was convinced I was on the right track. So, here I am, with a strict monotheistic view of G-d and a yearning to 'return to where it all began'- and, the more I read about Judaism, the more it makes sense and the more I 'feel at home'.

I already know I will not be able to pursue an Orthodox conversion as my wife is Christian (albeit non-involved/non-practicing), but as she been very supportive of my choice to explore Judaism (and her having gone to extraordinary lengths to put up with my involvement with Islam- although she was not happy with that whole episode) I feel that, although an inter-faith home isn't the ideal situation, we can and will make it work. I've been Mister Mom for a few weeks during her recovery from knee surgery, and as soon as she's mobile and back in action I will be visiting the Reform and Conservative Rabbis here in town to see what my options are. (According to some of our very good Jewish friends, a Reform conversion is a definite possibility while a Conservative one might be pushing it right now.)

About a year ago I started taking an online 'religion test' to see what faith my beliefs really matched up with versus what I might have been practicing and every time I've taken it (every few months to make sure I'm not influenced by anything that would skew my answers) my results have come up with Orthodox Judaism at 95% or better, with Islam scoring somewhat lower- and the Christian denominations way down the scale. Leave it to me to have jumped the wrong way when Judaism was always there, right in line with what I believe.) Of course, my choice to explore Judaism is not only as a result of this 'test', but it is an interesting side note to an otherwise exhausting journey to find where I need to be.

In any case, as I said, I'm visiting here to get a feel for the lay of the land and see how others have fared in this most important of choices.

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James

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Join date : 2011-09-06
Location : NC

PostSubject: Re: Shalom, Y'all !   Sat Feb 09, 2013 9:01 pm

Well to the board, John.

As a Conservative convert, I'd say that it's fairly rare to find a Conservative rabbi that will knowing create a mixed marriage through conversion. It can happen (my own wife is not Jewish, but she also does not practice any other religion and we keep a fully Jewish home), but, given the situation you describe, the Reform movement might be your best bet.

Either way, feel free to ask questions. All of us have had our own experiences through the different streams and we'll help out where we can.
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Dena

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Join date : 2011-09-05
Age : 34

PostSubject: Re: Shalom, Y'all !   Sat Feb 09, 2013 9:13 pm

Hello John, nice to see you here. Did you come over from the Hebrew Cafe? I'm thinking it must be you. I answered a few of your questions over there so I don't want to be obnoxious and repeat myself here. Wink and Smile
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Salvia



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Join date : 2012-12-29
Age : 29
Location : Wales, UK

PostSubject: Re: Shalom, Y'all !   Sun Feb 10, 2013 8:33 am

Hello John!

Welcome from the former newest member ;)

Your story looks interesting - you seem to have studied quite some religions, I'd be delighted to discuss with you! I recognise your feeling of not fitting in with Christianity and sticking to the essential - monotheism. I am also curious about your journey through Islam, although maybe you wouldn't want to discuss that - it's up to you.

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Sarit

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Join date : 2012-03-14
Age : 34
Location : Belgrade, Serbia

PostSubject: Re: Shalom, Y'all !   Sun Feb 10, 2013 2:15 pm

Welcome, John! Feel free to research the forum; everybody has a different personal story here and different opinions on different topics, so I'm sure you'll find many interesting things and thoughts that could inspire you and invite you for a discussion. :)
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Debbie B.

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Join date : 2011-09-05
Location : Chicagoland

PostSubject: Re: Shalom, Y'all !   Sun Feb 10, 2013 7:55 pm

John S wrote:

I already know I will not be able to pursue an Orthodox conversion as my wife is Christian (albeit non-involved/non-practicing), but as she been very supportive of my choice to explore Judaism (and her having gone to extraordinary lengths to put up with my involvement with Islam- although she was not happy with that whole episode) I feel that, although an inter-faith home isn't the ideal situation, we can and will make it work. I've been Mister Mom for a few weeks during her recovery from knee surgery, and as soon as she's mobile and back in action I will be visiting the Reform and Conservative Rabbis here in town to see what my options are. (According to some of our very good Jewish friends, a Reform conversion is a definite possibility while a Conservative one might be pushing it right now.)
See my recent post on official Conservative opinions on conversion with a non-Jewish spouse:
http://www.jewishbychoice.org/t306-conversion-to-judaism-if-spouse-is-not-jewish#2869
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aharon

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Join date : 2012-10-22

PostSubject: Re: Shalom, Y'all !   Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:56 am

Hey! Yet another newbie.

Hi there John and welcome to the forum. I hope you find this site an informative place that also gives you much food for thought on your journey.
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John S

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Join date : 2013-02-08
Age : 54
Location : Alabama

PostSubject: Re: Shalom, Y'all !   Mon Feb 11, 2013 4:30 pm

Thank you all for your replies; and yes, I've posted on other boards as well, Hebrew Cafe being one of those.

I understand I'm not the 'ideal' candidate for conversion, and it may indeed be out of my reach in the end; as I'm still dealing with my wife's post-op knee surgery (not healing well at all now) I have yet to talk to any of the Rabbis here in town. But, once I do, I'll have a clear idea of what options I have and go from there!

As it stands now, I'm reading and getting a better handle on Jewish theology (which I'm finding is not different at all from what I've always believed re: monotheism), and trying to learn some of the seemingly unending supply of terms and names for things.
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Debbie B.

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PostSubject: Re: Shalom, Y'all !   Mon Feb 11, 2013 5:00 pm

John S wrote:

As it stands now, I'm reading and getting a better handle on Jewish theology (which I'm finding is not different at all from what I've always believed re: monotheism), and trying to learn some of the seemingly unending supply of terms and names for things.
Monotheism is only one of many essential aspects of Jewish theology. It may be the most salient aspect from the point of view of Christianity, but I think many Christians mistakenly think that it is the most important difference between Judaism and Christianity.

The "unending supply of terms and names for things" represents the huge amount of concepts, rituals, etc that are important in Judaism. I highly recommend a book that my own sponsoring rabbi suggested that I read when I was studying with him for conversion:
Jewish Literacy
It is a very good basic overview of all aspects of Judaism. It devotes only a few pages to each of many short sections, but it is still over 800 pages. The author, an Orthodox rabbi, gives a fair treatment to non-Orthodox movements and his sometimes humorous personal anecdotes give the book a human touch.

I personally think you would be better off to start your investigation of Judaism by reading up on it first before you meet with any rabbis. Then you can ask more informed questions and you'll have a better context for your discussion. In fact, a lot of rabbis will start by recommending that you read certain books and then come back to talk with them. If you don't like studying with texts, then Judaism is probably not the right religion for you.
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John S

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Posts : 16
Join date : 2013-02-08
Age : 54
Location : Alabama

PostSubject: Re: Shalom, Y'all !   Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:10 pm

Thank you all for your replies- and yes, I have been known to post on other forums here and there, with Hebrew Cafe being one of them. (I did see your replies, Dena- thank you!- and I very much see the points that are being made over there.)

And thank you, Debbie, for the book suggestion; I'll be looking for a copy very soon, I am sure. Having been immersed in Islamic literature for the past couple of years, I am no stranger to 'book knowledge' and I agree that having a good understanding of the basics of Judaism is a very good plan prior to any meeting with a Rabbi.



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Debbie B.

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PostSubject: Re: Shalom, Y'all !   Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:32 pm

You can also get a lot of good information online, although some sources are to my mind "biased". Check out My Jewish Learning. It has many articles with more added all the time on all different aspects of Judaism. You could have fun just randomly browsing and reading the articles with titles that sound interesting and then checking related links.

[Full disclosure: a now-adult "child" from my minyan is an editor for MJL. She's awesomely knowledgeable about Judaism with a K-12 Jewish day school education, including Orthodox high school. Her parents were founders of my minyan over 30 years ago. They have been important Jewish role models for me.]
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