Jews/Jewish/Judaism/Orthodox Judaism · rabbi

Reacting to the RCA and current climate surrounding Orthodox conversion

Yitz Jordan as photographed by Avital Aronowitz for my “Funny You Don’t Look Jewish” article in Presentense Magazine

An article of mine, related to a previous blog on the current events related to Orthodox conversion to Judaism was published in a local paper, The Jewish Planet:

So far, response to the editorial has been positive. My favorite response was from a convert-in-training who said that my article had been passed around her conversion class, in a show of solidarity, by another convert-in-training.
One poignant response to all the latest negative news surrounding Orthodox conversion came from a convert-in-training who feared becoming a Jewish convert if it meant that she would always be considered a second-class citizen.

And so now, one wonders if the new conversion standard in the Orthodox Judaism of some is that non-Jews convert even when the Jewish community may never accept them as true Jews?

4 thoughts on “Reacting to the RCA and current climate surrounding Orthodox conversion

  1. I’m glad you appreciated my comment. I’m not in training yet, as I don’t live in a very Jewish community. My local rabbi says I should wait to convert in until I am in a Jewish community large enough to sustain itself. That would definitely not be here with all the churches here. Anyway, I am glad that you liked it enough for me to leave a comment in your blog. The second class citizen issue particularly bothers me because my grandfather was Jewish and I resent the idea of returning to Judaism only to be somehow lower than low. My Charedi friend tells me not to worry about this crap, he said he thinks they’ve all gone mad…and he’s CHAREDI. His father was a rabbi so I guess that’s where he gets his sanity from.


  2. The only thing I’m confused about I guess are, what’s so bad about the actual standards? I’m not playing devil’s advocate, I just want to know.One of my close friends converted orthodox in the last year and I’m close with a couple going through conversion. I went to the RCA website and read this thing about their standards.What’s so ridiculous about having to live in a community etc. etc.?I’m coming here just to have my questions answered since I’ve never gone through the process myself.


  3. Elishevers, one thing that the new standards do is that they make things more “professional” and less individualistic. For one, the rabbi that learns with the convert is now “the sponsoring rabbi” and he’s not supposed to be on the beit din. On top of that, it’s also mandatory to put your kids into an Orthodox day school, something that might not be a possibility for parents whose children have disabilities. Also, a convert has to be formally accepted to convert and meet the beit din early on before they’re very knowledgeable about the conversion process at all. I think that’s very daunting for a Jewish newbie. I would have worn pants and been fairly fidgety. What if I had said the wrong thing? I would have been turned away despite the fact that farther into the process, I would have been able to show how commited I was. If you read my op-ed piece for the Jewish planet, there are some other issues I mentioned.


  4. Hmm. I mean thats how it worked with my friends. Our Rabbi was their sponsor and they went to a separate Bais Din. Then again Chabad doesn’t do conversions….. I guess I’m only going off of what I’ve seen my friends go through. Our Rabbi didn’t even bring them to a Bais Din until he felt they were fully ready to convert.


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