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Old 02-15-2014, 03:33 PM
 
61 posts, read 56,663 times
Reputation: 28

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tikva View Post
You didn't know how to lay Tefillin or read the Shema as a Reform Jew?
No, never at my Judaism-lite temple. We didn't even wear kippahs and tallit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tikva View Post
-Jewlite convert who lays Tefillin every morning and reads the Shema twice a day.
I'm happy to see you're on you way to converting to Judaism! Going to a Reform temple is a wonderful start! It's great that you know how to wear tefillin, say the blessings, and the Shema! I'm very fortunate to be born Jewish so I don't have to go through a messy conversion process as what you're going through right now. Now is a good time to complete your conversion by reaching out to a modern orthodox or chassidic Rabbi and fulfilling your destiny!
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Old 02-15-2014, 05:36 PM
 
Location: Lake Worth, FL
388 posts, read 316,213 times
Reputation: 264
Not interested in Orthodoxy in any way, personally. I have nothing against it, it just does not work for me. I'm very happy that you've found the stream that aligns to your beliefs though. Mazel tov.

For me, the conversion is a mere formality. My father is Jewish and I have always thought of myself as a Jew since I was probably 6-7 years of age. I would've been raised Jewish if my Grandfather had lived longer (he was Conservadox, died when I was 4 years old). My father is secular though and was not willing to commit to going to shul.

I would never, everrrrr be able to belong to a shul that didn't make wearing tallitot, kippot, and chanting/davening in hebrew a major priority. Also, my shul is more conservative than some of the Reform temples I have heard about and been to. Luckily I have a wonderful Rabbi that I can really explore and experience traditional rituals with whilst still being more modern in my beliefs.

All in all, the conversion has been a very rewarding process.

Last edited by Tikva; 02-15-2014 at 05:44 PM..
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Old 02-15-2014, 06:29 PM
 
61 posts, read 56,663 times
Reputation: 28
^Tiv, you are aware that a large portion of the Jewish community considers you non-Jewish because your mother was a gentile and that you haven't had a proper orthodox conversion, correct?

What will you do if you want to do Aliyah?
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Old 02-15-2014, 07:34 PM
 
Location: Lake Worth, FL
388 posts, read 316,213 times
Reputation: 264
Yes, I am very aware of Orthodox opinion on the subject. I am very aware that Orthodoxy will not recognize my conversion, but I'd rather convert to a denomination of Judaism that I actually believe in rather than going through the motions and not being sincere. I actually find it disingenuous at best when a conversion candidate will undertake the studying to become an Orthodox convert and then immediately leave the denomination when the process is done.

On the subject of the Law of Return, Conservative and Reform converts can do Aliyah. I plan on it later in life after I retire. The Israeli Supreme Court declared that all conversions are recognized by the government for purposes of making aliyah. Now if you are a non-orthodox convert, you won't be able to register with the Chief Rabbinate for the purpose of life cycle events (marriage, burial, etc). Did you know that Gentiles with at least ONE Jewish grandparent or parent are eligible for Law of Return (since 1970)?

But just so you know as well, most US Orthodox converts are questioned and examined very closely by the Chief Rabbinate in Israel. My Rabbi actually made a joke that US Orthodox conversions are almost always in peril when it comes to the Chief Rabbinate. It seems like every week another non-Israeli Rabbi's conversions are called into question by the CR (and sometimes even declared null).

Now, the only thing that ever mattered to me was that I would be able to be a Jew in the eyes of a Reform congregation and be accepted as a member of a Conservative shul (in case I moved to an area with a less than stellar reform shul). Through my conversion with mikveh, beit din, and hatafat dam brit, I will be accepted by both denominations (I have not only consulted by Rabbi, but I have consulted several Conservative Rabbis in my area).

p.s. a large part of the Jewish community? In 1990, National Jewish Population Survey asked 4.5 million American-Jews to identify their denomination: 38% Reform, 35% Conservative, 10% Other Unidentified Denomination, 10% Culturally Jewish, 6% Orthodox, and 1% Reconstructionist.

So as of that study, only 270,000 are Torah observant VERSUS 1.71 million being Reform and 1.58 being Conservative.

Last edited by Tikva; 02-15-2014 at 07:46 PM..
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Old 02-15-2014, 07:47 PM
 
Location: Sitting beside Walden Pond
4,609 posts, read 4,112,066 times
Reputation: 1399
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobo1234 View Post
I thought I should discuss why I left this movement.
Bobo, how long were you relatively happy being a Reform Jew?

What was the main thing that you were missing in life being a Reform Jew? Why was their belief system eventually unsatisfying for you?
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Old 02-15-2014, 08:06 PM
 
61 posts, read 56,663 times
Reputation: 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tikva View Post
...On the subject of the Law of Return, Conservative and Reform converts can do Aliyah. I plan on it later in life after I retire. The Israeli Supreme Court declared that all conversions are recognized by the government for purposes of making aliyah. Now if you are a non-orthodox convert, you won't be able to register with the Chief Rabbinate for the purpose of life cycle events (marriage, burial, etc). Did you know that Gentiles with at least ONE Jewish grandparent or parent are eligible for Law of Return (since 1970)?
I did not know this. Thanks for the information!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tikva View Post
p.s. a large part of the Jewish community? In 1990, National Jewish Population Survey asked 4.5 million American-Jews to identify their denomination: 38% Reform, 35% Conservative, 10% Other Unidentified Denomination, 10% Culturally Jewish, 6% Orthodox, and 1% Reconstructionist.

So as of that study, only 270,000 are Torah observant VERSUS 1.71 million being Reform and 1.58 being Conservative.
The 2000 report says orthodox shot up to 22%. See Page 7. Remember, orthodox have more babies! Reform/Conservative usually only have 2 per married couple. The Jewish Federations didn't have the money to do a 2010 survey, just imagine how many more orthodox there is now!

Also, you won't be considered Jewish by the 6 million Jews in Israel when you make aliyah. So more than half of Jews in the world wouldn't consider you Jewish.
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Old 02-15-2014, 08:27 PM
 
Location: Lake Worth, FL
388 posts, read 316,213 times
Reputation: 264
As of 2014, there are 6 million Jews in Israel, and 42% are self-considered "secular". It seems as though only 33% of those 5.9 million actually identify as Torah observant from the information I have found. Furthermore, 10% are Haredim, 12% Orthodox, 13% Partially observant of Halakha (I guess this can include Conservative and Reform?).

Let's say that the Partially Observant get lumped into the Orthodoxy section, it still only equals out to about 2 million Orthodox Jews. Far cry from stating that 6 million don't consider you a Jew.

Last edited by Tikva; 02-15-2014 at 08:43 PM..
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Old 02-15-2014, 09:25 PM
 
Location: OC/LA
3,831 posts, read 3,698,340 times
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Tikva, why did your rabbi make you undergo the whole conversion process? My understanding is even if only your father is Jewish, so long as you are raised in a Jewish home (celebrate the holidays, life events, etc) you don't have to convert for Reform. Was that not the case at your synagogue?

Also, Bobo, you seems quite confused at to what the "majority" of Jews in the world think. As Tikva has very kindly pointed out, orthodox is not the majority.
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Old 02-15-2014, 09:42 PM
 
Location: Lake Worth, FL
388 posts, read 316,213 times
Reputation: 264
Also, there are two conflicting reports on the Jewish Federations website for 2000-1. One supposedly says 22% for Orthodox (I didn't actually read that one), where the other one says 9%. Makes me kinda wonder...

Hyp, my mother is Catholic and demanded I get some sort of religious education as a child. I seriously told my mom "I want to be a Jew" at 6 years old and she made my father take me to Shul. Sad part was that he refused to go back after that initial service. As a result of my father being secular, I was subjugated to Catholic sacraments as a child (honor thy mother, I guess).

Even so, I'm so very glad in the path that HaShem has laid for me. In someways, I believe that I'm luckier than some people that are born as Jews in the way that I'm not forced to go to services, observe Mitzvot or Hebrew school, etc. I openly choose to observe Shabbat and go to Shul Friday and Saturday night, participate in Torah study, learn Hebrew, etc. There is no better feeling than doing something you want to do rather than being forced to do. I was truly born with a Jewish neshama and am loving the path I am on.

Other report by the way: http://www.jewishfederations.org/loc...loads/7579.pdf
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Old 02-15-2014, 09:49 PM
 
61 posts, read 56,663 times
Reputation: 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by hiker45 View Post
Bobo, how long were you relatively happy being a Reform Jew?

What was the main thing that you were missing in life being a Reform Jew? Why was their belief system eventually unsatisfying for you?
I went through a roller coaster ride of spiritual awakening throughout my life. My parents forced me to go to Hebrew school all the way up until my bar mitzvah. After becoming a man, they gave me the choice of continuing Hebrew studies or ending it. I chose the later since it bored me. Around the end of high school, I started getting into Rinzai Zen Buddhism. Some of the prayers were in Japanese so I started learning the language and before you know it, I was in Japan for two years studying the language. While I was there, I got bored of the Rinzai sect and started exploring Shinto. When I came back to the states a few years later; I was apathetic to most religions except the eastern ones.

2 years ago, a friend introduced me to Zionism and for some reason it fascinated me because I thought it was cool that there was a country filled with a majority of Jews. I also remember thinking on how awesome it was to live in a country, like Japan, where Christian holidays aren't celebrated. At this time, I was in grad school and I noticed a bunch of new student groups calling Israel an apartheid state and calling for my university to boycott, divest, and sanction the Jewish state. I saw students in the socialist/workers club and food not bombs, Social Justice for Palestine club, even some liberal-reform Jews from Hillel come together and bash Israel. Later, I found out that these liberal-reform jews were working with Jewish Voice for Peace and helping organize Israeli Apartheid Week. When I confronted these jews and told them they're selling out their people, they told me they were just trying to prevent another holocaust and they were fighting neo-colonialism.

Anyway, I'm getting sick of typing all this out so I'm going to condense the rest...

Some of my Jewish and Christian Zionist friends started quoting me passages from the Hebrew bible about how G-d made a covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and gave them the land of Israel. From 12:3 in genesis it states that G-d will bless those who bless Israel and curse those who curse Israel. From here, I got more interested in the tanakh and started reading through it and noticed that Israel is CENTRAL to Judaism, and this made me want to learn more about it.

okay....I'm really going to shorten this now...I'm getting tired of typing...

At the end, I noticed (that of the Jews) it was mostly reform jews participating or giving a helping hand to the anti-Israel movement and this is the main reason why I left. Reform is too far left for me and I feel like it doesn't care on keeping its Jewish traditions. I look at it now and see that since it is open to absolutely everything it really doesn't stand for anything anymore.
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