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 First Conversion...then Other Changes?

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Posts : 678
Join date : 2011-09-05
Age : 35

PostSubject: First Conversion...then Other Changes?   Fri May 03, 2013 2:39 am

I'm not sure if "doubt" is the right word to use but I will get to my point here shortly..well, hopefully. Most of us probably are aware that Jewish life can wax and wane. Sometimes our Jewishness is upfront and center and at other times it seems to take a back seat, so to speak. I've watched people convert and then a few years go on to become atheists (though still identify as Jews), I've seen them convert and shortly thereafter act like nothing changed. I've witnessed an Orthodox convert give up pretty much everything while documenting it all on facebook.

Anyway, I guess I'm just curious if your life has gone the way you thought it would after conversion? Are you less religious than you expected? More religious than you expected? Why do you think some of us put all of ourselves into conversion and then shortly after, seem to go through another drastic change?
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Posts : 101
Join date : 2011-09-06
Location : NC

PostSubject: Re: First Conversion...then Other Changes?   Fri May 03, 2013 6:50 am

I've found that I'm more religious as time goes on, and that really surprises me.

I've never been a really religious person; I believed but basically just went through the motions. But moving to Judaism has changed that. I try my best to pray 3 times a day, and I am regular and core member of our minyan. I've also found myself favoring more orthodox stances on a lot of things.

As for why, I think it's because for most of us conversion is just the beginning. We continue to learn and incorporate Judaism into our lives as we go, and we gradually grow into the Jew are meant to be. It doesn't happen the instant we come out of the mikvah.
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Posts : 166
Join date : 2012-12-29
Age : 30
Location : Wales, UK

PostSubject: Re: First Conversion...then Other Changes?   Sun May 05, 2013 4:09 pm

James, that is great to read - that you've really found your home in Judaism.
I'd be interested to read more experiences, from the other side of the treshold :)
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Posts : 104
Join date : 2011-09-08
Age : 47
Location : Chicago, IL

PostSubject: Re: First Conversion...then Other Changes?   Mon May 06, 2013 1:15 am

I'll pop my head in here because I just passed my the 2nd Hebrew anniversary of my conversion and I've been thinking about this very thing. Judaism truly is a living process, and my experience definitely has waxed, waned, and morphed in unexpected ways, just like Anita Diamant's book on conversion suggested it would.

Two years ago I was eager to participate in the communal and committee life of my synagogue and couldn't imagine being in stark disagreement with the powers that be there. Two years later, I've given up all my committee responsibilities, am not going to our annual retreat (which was canceled last year, so I haven't been in two years), and attend Shabbat services more out of convenience (we live up the block) than anything else.

My Judaism has not necessarily deepened or become more strident. I've always "swum in the deep end of the mitzvah pool" for a Reform Jew. But I've realized that I do have limits--some of them halachic, some of them not--that together put me at odds with the way my synagogue is run, and especially with the way services are run. So while I feel far more comfortable with my Judaism than I did two years ago, there's also a sadness in a community sense. My takeaway from that is that Judaism isn't supposed to be easy, and at least I know I'm a thoughtful Jew who takes his Judaism seriously.

Over the weekend, I finally took the plunge and applied to rabbinic school. Part of my sadness is that I just don't feel an urge to share that with "my" rabbi. I thought my synagogue was an endpoint. I suppose now I know it's just a stop on the journey.
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Posts : 277
Join date : 2011-09-23
Location : Tennessee

PostSubject: Re: First Conversion...then Other Changes?   Tue May 14, 2013 12:43 pm

Congrats, Michael, on the application!

I just had my conversion yesterday, but I can already say there is definitely a waxing and a waning. I was very gung-ho to start with, but as I got used to the idea of being a Jew (I thought of myself as a Jew long before I got into the mikveh), and I had all the basics of study covered, the enthusiasm dampened.

This is a natural cycle for EVERYTHING. Even love works like this. For Judaism, I've moved out of the heady romance stage, when every love song is deep and meaningful and the world is rose-colored, to that stage where you're married and in a comfortable relationship with a friend and world-moving sex is not nearly as frequent as it used to be.

Karen Kingston is a feng shui expert that I like to read, and she mentions in one of her books that sometimes we collect things because our souls need them. She once did a consultation for a woman who had hundreds of dog statues, pictures, etc. in her house, but not a real dog. The woman, it turned out, had had a beloved dog as a child and it had died, and she had never gotten over it. The doggy decor was her subconscious (or soul) asking for that grief to be addressed. Karen herself admitted that when she was working on some personal growth projects, almost all of her clothing was purple (a color associated with the highest levels of thought and spiritual development). She didn't buy all of it on purpose; she just gravitated towards it subconsciously because that was what she was focused on. Then, when she was finished with that part of her life, she let most of the pieces go and integrated a range of other colors back into her wardrobe.

I kind of look at my Judaism as the same way. At first, I needed to eat, breathe, and live Judaism because that was necessary for my soul. But now that I've filled up that hole in my soul, I'm ready to tone things down and move into a more normal level of integration.

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