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Mychal

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PostSubject: Just Told My Mom   Fri Sep 30, 2011 6:13 pm

Didn't go well.

I've been avoiding this day for nearly a year. My mom (and her side of the family) were the last people I had to tell. I've been making excuses for why it's not the right time/insensitive to mention it now, and I've finally said, you know, it's a new year and it's time to come clean over past wrongs, and it's also probably the time when I need to come out of the Jewish closet.

So I was going to call my mother and tell her. In a few days. Okay, the last possible moment before Yom Kippur. Or maybe I would have found another excuse.

But lo, and behold, she called me at work this afternoon. And the opening I've been saying I was looking for presented itself in the conversation. And I said I went to synagogue yesterday. She asked if it was Rosh Hashanah. We made nice conversation about what happens at Rosh Hashanah and the blowing of the shofar. She said, "I just find all of that so fascinating. I just love it." (My mother has a fascination with Jewish things and she has friends who are Hebrew Christians.) And I said, "I love it so much, I'm going to convert."

Much silence. "What? Convert to what?"

"I'm going to become a Jew."

More silence. "But... you don't believe in Jesus?"

"Most Jews don't. At least, not as a Messiah. A lot believe he was a rabbi." (Me trying to put a good spin on it.)

"How can you not believe he's the Messiah?"

"Um, because he doesn't fulfill any of the Old Testament Messianic prophesy?"

"What!? There's all sorts of stuff in the Old Testament about Jesus!"

"Um, no, there isn't. The biggest sign of the coming of the Messiah will be world peace. And we don't have that."

"We won't have that until after Tribulation. Don't you read the New Testament?" (Using the New Testament to support the New Testament's opinions; argument invalid.)

More silence. Then she said she had to get back to work (she was calling me while she was on the road). She sounded like she was about to start crying (I'm sure she was). I said I loved her and hung that phone up like it was on fire.

That sounds really bad (springing it on a Friday afternoon before she was off work, and over the phone), but she's a pentacostal, fundamentalist, evangelical, speaks-in-tongues Church of God sometimes Sunday School teacher; there was never going to be a good time to say it.

I got so flustered, I forgot my best material, like "I can't help it; God's calling me to it" and "You had a mezzuzah and tallit before I did; what did you expect when YOU'RE halfway to being a Jew yourself?"

Erg, I wish I drank, because I'd get drunk tonight if I did.

Oh, and tomorrow's my birthday. We'll see what she has to say when she calls me tomorrow (if she calls me).

I think I need to go do damage control. I'm going to message my stepbrother, the Methodist minister. He also has a love of all things Jewish (he learned to read Hebrew while in seminary), and he was one of the first people I came out to.
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James

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PostSubject: Re: Just Told My Mom   Fri Sep 30, 2011 7:11 pm

I wish it gone better for you, Mychal. But at least it is out there and the two of you can hopefully work towards bridging the gap.

I had a similar experience with my mom who, oddly enough, wasn't the least bit religious.
But I think our parents have dreams about how we will end up, and when we deviate it can be a bit unsettling for them.

And happy birthday!

Shanah Tovah!
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Mychal

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PostSubject: Re: Just Told My Mom   Fri Sep 30, 2011 7:33 pm

The irony is how everyone in the family has an interest in Jewish things--me, my stepbrother, my mother and stepfather. And all of that happened after we emptied out of the house (it's not like our parents raised us on it; this is new interest for them too). I mean, looking at it from that angle, it's kind of freaky really. Like we've all been called, and I'm the only one that's answering (at the moment) with full commitment.

I'm so upset, I'm going to go shopping. I NEVER like to shop, but I want something to take my mind off of things. I just wish I had money to spend. It's window-shopping for me tonight.

Bookstore. Definitely need a bookstore before shul tonight.
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Bee

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PostSubject: Re: Just Told My Mom   Sat Oct 01, 2011 11:32 pm

Wow. Does it feel like the weight is off your shoulder? I keep trying to tell my forever friends and I just can't. It's like they know but don't. The words just come out, I admire your strength.
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Mychal

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PostSubject: Re: Just Told My Mom   Mon Oct 03, 2011 1:40 pm

I don't know if I would say it's a weight off my shoulders, although my mom was the last person I had to tell (I figure she'll tell the rest of her side of the family, which I'm not very close to... or maybe she won't. If she feels it's too explosive to even mention to them, then I'm not going to mention it either). But, still, there is some relief in knowing that I can finally be openly Jewish. I've had to be careful what I say on Facebook, because even though my mother doesn't check it often, she's still on there. But Saturday I changed my profile info to "Jewish," and that was pleasing.

As an update, my mom called me for my birthday and she was all chipper and everything was normal. I didn't mention Jewish anything, and neither did she. If she wants to be in denial, I'll let her. But I told my husband that I felt as if it was some sort of trick--something to lull me into a false sense of security before she starts telling me that I'm being led astray by the devil, or something.

A part of me hopes that if she tries arguing with me over Jesus, she'll do it by e-mail and with Scripture, at which point I'll be all over Rabbi Tovia Singer's website and I'll counter everything. I can do that (I am, after all, a paralegal by trade). It's having to talk on the phone or in person that's difficult, especially if she starts crying and laying on the guilt trip, which isn't fighting fair. I just wish I could cry when needed and out-drama her. But I'm very conflict and drama adverse.

Bee, depending on how long it's been since you made your decision, you might get away with just openly talking about Jewish things with your friends, and if they say anything like, "I didn't know you were Jewish," respond, "I'm converting. ...Didn't I tell you that already? I'm sorry! I thought you knew!" I did something similar when my husband decided, at the last minute, that he wanted to invite a couple more people to our wedding; I contacted them, acting like I was seeing if they wanted to RSVP... knowing they never got an invite. Must have been lost in the mail! Yes, it's lying, but it's done to keep people from having hurt feelings. Or, in your case, to avoid the awkward coming-out-of-the-Jewish closet conversation.
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Mychal

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PostSubject: Re: Just Told My Mom   Tue Oct 04, 2011 2:17 pm

Another update: my step-brother messaged me today; my mother called him. Apparently she wasn't happy with his support for my Judaism. I told him that he was probably almost as disappointing as me. He's a minister; he's supposed to be on her side. LOL.
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Bee

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PostSubject: Re: Just Told My Mom   Tue Oct 04, 2011 3:11 pm

Heheee, that's funny. It's out of love my friend, she has the fear you are loosing your salvation. Remember how that was an issue when you decided to let go of jc? I know i was scared and needed assurance of salvation when i let jc go, only to realize i was free from that fear and need. That is her worst fear for you, and I expect she will moat definitely try an intervention. My mom has told my brother who is big time in the service of his religion who in their mind can probably raise the dead, I changed my number without telling him and is trying to teleconference with me. It's a virtual intervention...gotta love family!! The good thing about your mom is she has been exposed to Judaism, its a matter of time. If I were you, I would be gentle and patient with her, like Tovia says..only use Torah when they come at you. She already knows its divine, only studying it together verus debating can get her home.
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Debbie B.

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PostSubject: Re: Just Told My Mom   Tue Oct 04, 2011 3:42 pm

A minyan friend grew up in the Dutch Reformed Church and even attended a Christian college. He converted to Judaism when he was in Law School (on his own and not for marriage). When he told his mother, she blurted out that it would have been easier for her to have heard that he was hit by a truck and killed because at least then she would not fear for his soul. He says that it took awhile, but that she eventually softened her view and came to some acceptance of his conversion. I know of other cases where parents took it badly at first, but I don't know personally know of any cases where they didn't eventually become more accepting even if in some cases it took many years.

If the person loves you, then if they can understand that being Jewish is who you are, they can come to accept that even if they don't like it, just as they would still love you if you became disabled even if they didn't "like" the disability.
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Mychal

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PostSubject: Re: Just Told My Mom   Tue Oct 04, 2011 3:53 pm

I never had a problem with salvation and conversion because I never believed Jesus was a necessary component to my salvation anyways (shows you what kind of Christian I was, huh?). I was a universalist even before I knew the term; I have always believed that all good people go to heaven, even people who aren't Christian. If you believe that, then obviously Jesus isn't a requirement. It certainly doesn't hurt anything to try to follow Jesus's teachings (that's certainly a way to be a good person), but it's not a requirement in my book and never has been.

I've also believed in reincarnation and have not believed in hell for some years. That takes away a lot of the worry about salvation as well. Rather than hell yawning before, there is only the idea of having to come back and do it again if I mess up.

I'm curious, Bee, how did you move from Christianity to Judaism?
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