HomeCalendarFAQSearchRegisterLog in

Share | 
 

 Feeling Pretty Much Unwanted

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
AuthorMessage
John S

avatar

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

PostSubject: Feeling Pretty Much Unwanted   Thu May 09, 2013 10:39 pm

Shalom, everyone ~

It's been a while since I've posted here; there's a reason for that: frustration.

In previous posts I noted some potential hurdles that I would need to overcome in pursuit of conversion- well, it seems I've got an even bigger issue than my marriage to overcome- and that's the local Rabbis themselves.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not disparaging them personally, but here's the lay of it: I already know I can't convert Orthodox, and the local Conservative Rabbi won't deal with intermarriages. Okay, I can handle that under the 'different strokes' rule. So, my route is/was/will be/? Reform, but after numerous e-mails and phone messages, and even a handwritten letter (who does THAT these days?) I can't get any response on anything- not an acknowledgment, not information on any classes, nothing. Now, either the local Reform Rabbi is being particularly 'Rabbinical' in testing my patience, or perhaps she simply doesn't want to be bothered with an older and not-so-ideal convert.

My faith in G-d hasn't wavered one bit, but at this point I'm rather disillusioned with the whole 'welcoming the converts' line, because from my experience, it "just ain't happening". And even with this, yes, I still want to convert- if only someone would give me a chance.

So what to do now? I've been told a few times to go through one of the online conversion programs- that's fine, except I can't afford the $600+ most often recommended one asks for. Self study, is of course always an option but that doesn't get me anywhere 'officially'.

To be honest, since the rabbinical powers-that-be don't seem to be too keen on taking me on (except for a hefty price I can't afford), I'm about ready to just self-profess as a Karaite (if one can even do that!) and be a congregation of one, as sad as that might sound.

I'm learning as best I can on my own, using resources from all over the internet and the library, and slowly but surely integrating all of this into my daily life- I "feel" Jewish- but where do I go from here? Do I just 'keep on keepin' on' hoping for a break in the apparent Wall of Silence from the Rabbi, or do I eschew the rabbinate altogether and more or less go it on my own as an "undocumented illegal Jew"?
Back to top Go down
Dena

avatar

Posts : 678
Join date : 2011-09-05
Age : 34

PostSubject: Re: Feeling Pretty Much Unwanted   Fri May 10, 2013 1:56 am

John, you say you've phone, written and emailed the Rabbi but have you been visiting her congregation in person?
Back to top Go down
mikedoyleblogger

avatar

Posts : 104
Join date : 2011-09-08
Age : 46
Location : Chicago, IL

PostSubject: Re: Feeling Pretty Much Unwanted   Fri May 10, 2013 3:29 pm

What Dena said. I would just go, check out the congregation, and meet her in person. If there are office hours, just show up and ask for an appointment with the rabbi. If there aren't, just show up at services and introduce yourself. Rabbis get an obscene number of emails and phone messages. It might simply be that you're attempts to contact her out of necessity keep ending up with other messages at the bottom of the heap. Happens all the time.
Back to top Go down
http://www.chicagocarless.com
John S

avatar

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

PostSubject: Re: Feeling Pretty Much Unwanted   Fri May 10, 2013 5:40 pm

I've been to two Saturday services lately, but both times she's been tied up afterwards- I suppose my next tactic is to camp out at her office and/or schmooze the secretary to get some face time arranged.

Rome didn't fall in a day- and it sure wasn't built in a day either; I guess it appears that patience isn't one of my shining virtues sometimes. I wrote that during a break at work, and- to my present embarrassment- some of my 'get it done now' attitude/frustration spilled over when it really shouldn't have.

Note to self: sit down, breathe deep, and think happy thoughts Very Happy I'll get there when it's the right time.
Back to top Go down
mikedoyleblogger

avatar

Posts : 104
Join date : 2011-09-08
Age : 46
Location : Chicago, IL

PostSubject: Re: Feeling Pretty Much Unwanted   Fri May 10, 2013 6:02 pm

Ok I think I get it. So when I was pre-conversion, a 90-year-old woman at my shul literally physically flung me out of the way to get to the oneg table one night after Friday services. She didn't apologize and she didn't flinch. So...welcome to your first stereotypical but really this is how it goes sometimes lesson in *pushy*. If you're in a room full of (your future fellow) Jews--especially if there's food or rabbi time involved--and you want said food or rabbi time, get your elbows ready and jump in.

I am so serious here :-)
Back to top Go down
http://www.chicagocarless.com
Dena

avatar

Posts : 678
Join date : 2011-09-05
Age : 34

PostSubject: Re: Feeling Pretty Much Unwanted   Fri May 10, 2013 8:10 pm

Yeah, getting one on one Rabbi time is like a fight sometimes. It seems you have to basically invade everyone's personal space until they back off.
Back to top Go down
John S

avatar

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

PostSubject: Re: Feeling Pretty Much Unwanted   Fri May 10, 2013 10:15 pm

Sadly, when I was growing up in the Baptist/Methodist world, the amount of one-on-one time you got with the preacher was mysteriously linked to how much you had pledged to the building fund or, to a similar degree for younger preachers, the attractiveness of your marriage-eligible daughter(s).

Back to top Go down
mikedoyleblogger

avatar

Posts : 104
Join date : 2011-09-08
Age : 46
Location : Chicago, IL

PostSubject: Re: Feeling Pretty Much Unwanted   Fri May 10, 2013 11:41 pm

John S wrote:
Sadly, when I was growing up in the Baptist/Methodist world, the amount of one-on-one time you got with the preacher was mysteriously linked to how much you had pledged to the building fund or, to a similar degree for younger preachers, the attractiveness of your marriage-eligible daughter(s).


Honestly, it works that way at my shul, too, unless you elbow your way in, metaphorically or literally.
Back to top Go down
http://www.chicagocarless.com
Dena

avatar

Posts : 678
Join date : 2011-09-05
Age : 34

PostSubject: Re: Feeling Pretty Much Unwanted   Sun May 12, 2013 1:55 pm

I don't know about my larger shul but my smaller one certainly does not work that way. It's more like the most obnoxious person gets attention or those who are involved in day to day activities.
Back to top Go down
Sarit

avatar

Posts : 128
Join date : 2012-03-14
Age : 34
Location : Belgrade, Serbia

PostSubject: Re: Feeling Pretty Much Unwanted   Tue May 14, 2013 8:16 am

Hey, John!

Just be patient and work, work, work towards your goal! You've got some great advice here - so just go there and be persistent. Try to show regularly on services and eventually someone will interact with you, if not the rabbi personally.

We have only one synagogue here in Belgrade (it's Modern Orthodox), the congregation is small and I can tell you that in the beginning it seemed that, paradoxically, nobody was noticing me and in the same time everyone was noticing me like a foreign element. It was a strange and a kind of unpleasant feeling. I was lucky to have a friend from the choir that was also regular on services so I was by her side all the time. Nevertheless, it just felt weird. I felt like I belonged there, yet nobody could see it. Even the rabbi.

I admit the part of my confusion arose from my expectation that the rabbi would come to me to have some talk, to see who I am (because it was obvious that I was new) but nothing had happened for a month or even two. I was still regular on services so I thought that I cannot bear this awkward situation anymore. I was too afraid to approach the rabbi directly and anyway, there were always a lot of people in front of him, pushing each other, so I decided to write him an e-mail explaining my story and situation. He replied immediately even if it was midnight at the time (perhaps I was lucky enough) with only three words: call me tomorrow, and he gave me his phone number. So I did it (of course I could not sleep well!). He just said "come on Shabbat morning so we'll talk after the service" and I said ok.

So I came, prepared for a lengthy conversation, the service was over and the rabbi was gone! I looked for him (of course he was in a middle of a large group of people) and I quietly said: "I'm the one who wrote you and called you yesterday" and he simply said "yes, I know". He told me to take my time and to come to services and community happenings freely and that was it.

Well, my feelings were mixed. I've expected him to give me some schedule, to offer me to work with me, anything. But he just said "take your time and be free to spend time with us". So I've decided to go with the flow, not to pressure him nor myself at the moment, and to do exactly as he said.

Now the additional two months have passed and one of these Shabbat mornings I'm going to ask him openly if there are some official Judaism classes for those who want to convert and what is the process (since we don't have Beit Din here etc), what he recommends and the rest.

What is interesting is that asking these questions seemed like a mountain climbing just a few months ago and now, as I imagine myself speaking of it, it seems so natural and almost easy. So perhaps giving myself a time and not pressuring anything was a good idea, after all.

What I'm trying to say is - just be persistent and take your time. Be patient and be firm. You know your way - just work slowly towards the goal. Have a confidence in yourself and in the path you are walking. Everything will be ok! sunny
Back to top Go down
Mychal

avatar

Posts : 277
Join date : 2011-09-23
Location : Tennessee

PostSubject: Re: Feeling Pretty Much Unwanted   Tue May 14, 2013 12:31 pm

I went every week to shul for a month + before I approached the rabbi about conversion. The first rabbi I went to said that they had fall classes which were almost over, so I'd have to wait until next year. I waited, but when the time came, they decided not to offer the classes and didn't have time to work with me personally. So I went to a different synagogue and started over again. Luckily, that rabbi was willing to work with me, and a little over a year later, I finally got converted.

I suppose you could say patience is a virtue, but I think the proper word is "stiff-necked" or tenacity.

Also, if my shul is any indication, the staff at synagogues turns over every few years, so you may look at finding a service and community that you like, then just stick with them until the rabbi changes. The Conservative movement's accepted position is to allow conversion which results in a mixed marriage (I have one, too), although individual rabbis can still refuse. But, I think they're in the minority, so you've got a good chance of outlasting the current rabbi and getting a new one that will work with you. (Also, if you're in the community for a while--and especially if you can talk your spouse into doing some things with you, even if s/he doesn't want to convert--you may win the rabbi over just because he'll get to the point where he 1) can't imagine the community without you and 2) he sees that your spouse is supportive.)
Back to top Go down
http://becomingjew.blog.com/
Sponsored content




PostSubject: Re: Feeling Pretty Much Unwanted   

Back to top Go down
 
Feeling Pretty Much Unwanted
View previous topic View next topic Back to top 
Page 1 of 1

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
 :: Jewish Fundamentals :: Conversion Discussion & Issues-
Jump to: