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5 years ago  ::  Oct 02, 2009 - 6:12PM #1
Rabidwriter
Posts: 96

Does anyone have any perspective to offer a 38 year old lifelong athiest and/or agnostic about converting to Reform Judaism?  My husband is a confirmed athiest and we have no children and do not want children, so I'm on my own on this.  I've been doing lots of studying on my own (actually, I've been studying Judaism since I was about 11; this seems like the next inevitable step).  Any thoughts or guidance?

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5 years ago  ::  Oct 02, 2009 - 11:48PM #2
Pam34
Posts: 2,649

It depends on which rabbi you talk to - but if you are both a 'determined' (shall we say) atheist and interested in Judaism, there is Secular Judaism, and other groups - perhaps a bit less organized! that might be a good 'fit'. Contrary to some people's opinions, Reform Jews are not invariably atheists - or even very often.


 


Conversion - to whatever stream, community, group or movement - begins with finding a rabbi who will work with you.

Blessed are You, HaShem, Who blesses the years.
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5 years ago  ::  Oct 03, 2009 - 6:57AM #3
Rabidwriter
Posts: 96

Forgive my previous post; I had just woken up and my spelling was terrible.  What I meant to say was that I no longer consider myself an athiest and am planning on conracting the Reform Rabbi in town (I live in Little Rock so the options are not wide).  Does this sound like a plan?

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5 years ago  ::  Oct 03, 2009 - 7:02AM #4
Rabidwriter
Posts: 96

And Pam34, thank you very much for your helpful and thoughtful reply.  Now if I could only wake up.


Elise

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5 years ago  ::  Oct 12, 2009 - 11:40AM #5
baybah
Posts: 2

You have already taken the first step,  you want to find out more. I am a Christian , I know tht it may seem odd to be on a Jewish site. But although my main allegence is to Jesus and my chosen church, I can learn from this site and this sight has gotten me out of depression more than once (yea you can be a Christian and be depressed - I lean  more heavily of Jesus when I'm down) Find someone to talk to. Please don't turn back. Some people say 'what if there isn't a heaven or hell", well I say 'WHAT if there is?'  Plus God in your life is a rock to hold on to, someone to sing praises to, someone who makes this world make a little more sense. And God has a great sense of humor, That is always a plus. As for the boyfriend, I think I would  do my research a while before telling him. He may be discouraging to something you really need in your soul. Good luck. find answers, have fun with it. The last 33 years have been the best for me......Kathy

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5 years ago  ::  Oct 12, 2009 - 1:35PM #6
rabbijonathan
Posts: 3

Dear Elise,


Judaism, agnosticism, and even atheism are totally compatible - Judaism does not prescribe a personal theological belief system.


Feel free to contact me with any questions - I would be honored to advise you along your journey, as I hope many other rabbis would be as well.


Good luck, and good seeking,


Jonathan


Rabbi Jonathan Freirich
rabbijonathan@yahoo.com
Temple Bat Yam
www.tbytahoe.org


 

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5 years ago  ::  Oct 12, 2009 - 1:41PM #7
dl_2000
Posts: 2

I think you are to be commended for continuing your search and for seeking further knowledge.  The world could certainly use more people like you.  I also think you are correct in that your best next step is to talk to the local Rabbi about what you have been studying, about where you are and where do you go from here.  I have found that Rabbi's will be welcoming, warm, and he/she will tell you the truth - whether you particularly want to hear it or like what you hear.  The Rabbi may also list the reasons not to become Jewish.  You are considering labeling yourself as a Jew.  Are you prepared for the hurts as well as the blessings? 


I am a convert.  I think becoming a Jew is the best spritual move I ever made.  As a Reform Jew, you (or any Reform Jew) have the options of being/practising your Judaism in a myraid of ways that remain faithful to Judaism.  There are many options for continuing your studies - from the Torah (5 Books of Moses), to the Prophets, Mishnah, Talmud, Women's Studies, History of Judaism.  There are many constructive outlets for the expression of Judaism outside of "just religion" - Social Action work in the community, such as helping teach immigrants how to read/apply for a job/get a Social Security card, organizing voter registration drives, helping the elderly/disabled/sick to get access to various services, Meals on Wheels, helping the poor and disadvanted in your community and ..........  


Also, you will have the option to participate and lead small groups of Jewish families (many with non-Jewish spouses and/or children) called Havarah that build friendships and help each person grow in Judaism in their own way and in directions that are healthy, constructive and help each other from a Jewish perspective in your own neighborhood.


However, I think your first thought is the best one.  Make an appointment with your local Rabbi and have a frank, open and honest discussion about what Judaism is, who you are, where you want to be and how do I get there.  Whatever your decision - Good luck.  May G-d bless and keep you, your husband and all who hold dear always.

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5 years ago  ::  Oct 12, 2009 - 4:11PM #8
ESTABIZ
Posts: 88

Dear Rabidwriter,


Just because you have been studying since you were 11, in itself it not a reason to convert.  If you wish to convert you need to feel spiritually that it will be like coming home - where you spiritually belong.


I have some concerns, which I would like to express.  I am concerned that your husband is not on board with you on this and this conversion could place stresses on your marriage.


So you do you own thing on Shabbat (Friday evening to Saturday evening).  He goes off and does whatever and you go to Synagogue, pray, visits friends, perhaps have lunch with the Rabbi.  The problem here it could result on you and your husband leading seperate lives and cause a dividion within the marriage. 


Judiasism is a very demanding religion to keep on a daily bases.  I am should you are aware that the are 613 Laws to keep - lucky, some only apply if you are living in Israel, some to men only, some to women only. 


Also if you convert to Reform, be aware that as far as the State of Israel is concerned - YOU ARE NOT A JEW.  Israel only recognizes Orthodox conversation.


 


All the best


ESTHER ABIZDRIS

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5 years ago  ::  Oct 12, 2009 - 4:19PM #9
Rabidwriter
Posts: 96

It has nothing to do with what I was doing when I was 11; this is a spiritual calling that I feel in my everyday actions and words.


You do make an excellent point about my husband; this is some thing that will definitely hve to be worked on. 


Thank you for your wisdom.


 


Oct 12, 2009 -- 4:11PM, ESTABIZ wrote:


Dear Rabidwriter,


Just because you have been studying since you were 11, in itself it not a reason to convert.  If you wish to convert you need to feel spiritually that it will be like coming home - where you spiritually belong.


I have some concerns, which I would like to express.  I am concerned that your husband is not on board with you on this and this conversion could place stresses on your marriage.


So you do you own thing on Shabbat (Friday evening to Saturday evening).  He goes off and does whatever and you go to Synagogue, pray, visits friends, perhaps have lunch with the Rabbi.  The problem here it could result on you and your husband leading seperate lives and cause a dividion within the marriage. 


Judiasism is a very demanding religion to keep on a daily bases.  I am should you are aware that the are 613 Laws to keep - lucky, some only apply if you are living in Israel, some to men only, some to women only. 


Also if you convert to Reform, be aware that as far as the State of Israel is concerned - YOU ARE NOT A JEW.  Israel only recognizes Orthodox conversation.


 


All the best


ESTHER ABIZDRIS



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5 years ago  ::  Oct 12, 2009 - 4:22PM #10
rabbijonathan
Posts: 3

A brief clarification.


Reform conversions are accepted for the Right of Return to Israel.


Non-orthodox conversions are not considered valid when done in Israel, since the orthodox rabbinate controls civic identity in the State itself.


Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist, and Renewal rabbis all perform conversions outside of Israel that qualify one as Jewish in the eyes of Israeli citizenship.

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