Coming out of the closet

I have to admit, I’m scared to do this. I have a bad feeling I’m about to lose a bunch of happy frum (observantly Jewish) readers and it’s a bit scary.

First off, the good news. We have been approved by the Jewish Agency to make aliyah. Not exactly a huge accomplishment.

You see, to move to Israel, you have to be Jewish.** And that’s a good jumping off point for my coming out day.

I am a convert to Judaism. So is my husband. All good, no?

(waiting for the other shoe to drop…)

Both of our conversions were done under Reform auspices.^^ (gasp)

Okay, so before you kill me in the comments, let me explain.

I started studying about Judaism when I was 13. Not going to tell the whole life story here, but I was ready to convert shortly after I graduated college. The hubby, who at the time was the boyfriend, and then the fiancee, kind of went along for the ride.

Our conversion, complete with mikvah, etc. was Oct. 25, 2002. That December we went to Israel on the Birthright Israel trip.

And that’s what changed everything. We were married six months later and have been studying for an orthodox conversion ever since. For the record, that’s more than four years now so we’ve really got things down quite well. And we’ve been planning out how to make aliyah since shortly before we were married.

So getting approval from JAFI that we are “Jewish enough” made me feel really good. For the record, we will still be doing the formal orthodox conversion in Israel, since we didn’t want to go through the potential hurdles of having it not be recognized.

You can all hate me and call me a liar and I won’t exactly deny it. But I had to come clean on it since I’m hoping that some of the friends inside the computer will eventually become friends outside the computer.

Back to the good news: we will be making communal aliyah in Modi’in. So anyone out there from Modi’in or the surrounding areas, please let me know again where you’re from so we can get together once we move. Assuming you’ll still want to talk to me.

Last big hurdle: Getting approved by Nefesh B Nefesh. Please God, and soon.

** Caveat emptor: There are lots of other ways to move there and I’m am drastically oversimplifying since I don’t think many of you will care. That said, if I’ve piqued your interest, let me know and I’ll post on it.

^^ For those of you who don’t quite understand this, it means that by the very laws (halakah) that shape my days, I am not considered to be Jewish. I am my own oxymoron. It’s something I’m hoping to remedy when we move to Israel, or at the latest, before we have children.

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7 responses to “Coming out of the closet

  1. Quite to the contrary my dear, couldn’t be more delighted to know that there are other Jews-by-choice out there! I finished my conversion over a year ago (in our Reform congregation)…I am quite interested to hear about how you’ve been received by the Orthodox community as a whole. I live in a large urban city with quite a spectrum of Jews and have yet to find someone who poo-poohed my path to Judaism. I’d love to read a post on your path to Orthodoxy, and keep writing about the process of aliyah! Mazel Tov on this exciting move!

  2. Rona Michelson

    Mazal tov on the approval for aliya. I hope the Nefesh B’Nefesh application works out well. Remember, a lot of us successfully made aliya before they came into existence. Make sure to be in touch when you get to Modi’in. You will be very welcome here. No one is standing around here judging others (and if you find someone who is, well, it’s really their problem, not yours). You can write me offline because I would like to give you my take on the conversion in Israel issue.

  3. I don’t know who you are encountering in everyday life that you think people commited to O. conversion would be shunned by the community or whatever. It sounds like you and your husband have had quite a journey, and that you are truly commited to Judaism, and deserve our respect only. Being in limbo must be so very hard.

    And, to be a slight devil’s advocate, living in a very small Jewish community, for not that long, I have already seen several potential converts come and go into and out of our community, and and it is sometimes hard for people, especially those that have lived here a long time, to completely trust that potential converts will stick around, till they “prove” themselves commited. So they don’t get attached till they know. And there is that whole “pushing away” thing. If you know what I mean. So if it has seemed that people are judging you, that might be what’s going on.

  4. I had a Conservative Conversion followed by an Orthodox Conversion a year later. You’re certainly not the only one out there. I can’t imagine why anyone would shun you for it… that’s utterly ridiculous.

  5. I’m also in Modi’in, like Rona (who I just call Eema). But, being an infertility graduate, I’m always surrounded by short people (one who’s not even so short anymore)…

    Like my mom said, anyone who has anything negative to say about your conversion – their problem.

  6. Mazel tov on your approval!

    And if anything- your “confession” has made me respect you so much- good for you for studying to make your conversion an orthodox one!

  7. You were waiting for someone to come down on you, but no one has. Isn’t that usually the case with secrets. It’s the build up not the actual admitting.
    On that note….I am confused about something. If you are preparing for a halachic conversion, why would you want to have a child prior to that? It could create ssssooooo many problems down the road.
    Hatzlocha Rabbah in all that you do.

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