friends · Jews/Jewish/Judaism/Orthodox Judaism · rabbi

Between Church and Friendship

How Church Came Between My Friendship…

When I was converting to Judaism, I asked a rabbi if I could walk into a church again. I wasn’t planning on returning for services but I had my sights on visiting the Sistine Chapel someday. It was also a question that bothered many of my Christian friends, particularly my friend, Cynthia.

You can read the rest here: “Leaving the Church, and Cynthia, Behind”

What do you think: Is our friendship is salvageable?

7 thoughts on “Between Church and Friendship

  1. I go to churches. Not going to churches was not even an option after examining my conscious. I couldn’t not watch my prima-hermanas baptize their babies, cousins marry, etc, the way they have attended synagogue service, my rabbi officiated wedding, etc. I cannot imagine that causing the cousins I was raised with that sort of pain to be acceptable. Mass has always made me squirm. I ran from Catholicism in grade school. But my relationships with those I love mean that they sit through Shabbat, and seders, which are foreign and strange to them, and I can bear some discomfort. I can sit quietly, and not participate. And so do they. And yes, sometimes, I go in, simply for the art (but I check the mass schedule first. Why torture myself). Never setting foot in a church means not taking part in the wonderful interfaith thanksgiving service that takes place every year year, that all of the houses of worship take turns hosting every year. I understand why the rabbi takes the position that he does, but personally, I’d weigh a cost benefit analysis.

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  2. I am really lucky on a number of counts. My close relatives aren’t Christian. I don’t have to worry about lifecycle events being held in church. Same goes for most of my friends (except obviously, Cynthia). As for the relatives who have invited me to baptisms and such, I’ve passed. They know I’ve passed doing so because of religious conflicts. I end up passing on most of the Jewish lifecycle events because of my health. Maybe if I wasn’t in the running to be a rabbi’s wife, I would bend the rules but I was never one to bend the rules. I’d to into mosque because I know the rules say I can but a church is a no go. Honestly, I’m closer to my rabbi than my the family and friends I’d be worried about offending so what does that say about me?My converted friends go to Christmas meals with family and bring their own food. They go to baptisms and such and feel hurt when they’re not invited. To each her own. G-d didn’t give me a close-knit family that worries when I don’t attend family functions. They’re shocked if anyone from my side shows up at all. I know where my place is as the little black sheep.

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  3. Aliza,I understand the rabbi, but I think you should have gone to the wedding. You could have missed the service in the church and attended the reception with kosher nibbles in tow. One of the difficult things new converts or BT have to learn is how to balance being Jewish with family/friend commitments. My rabbi has regular conversations with my Christian father about how my increased level of observance will affect the family. Did you explain the nature of the friendship to your rav? I’m glad you like him, and I think he’s probably a wonderful person, but you had a longer relationship with your friend.

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  4. My husband is so strict, he doesn’t even like us to go into conservative/reform synagogues, especially not the sanctuary part. At weddings, he will stand in the back.

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  5. It is not easy for converts. I’m Conservative, so going inside a church was something my rabbi did not approve generally, but after learning a bit about my family (all fair to middlin’ Catholics)he said that if was important to my family I be there, than I should. Otherwise, I would not have been able to attend my parents’ funerals, both held in churches (mainly I sat, fidgity as a kid). Your friend Cynthia should have understood that it was not an option for you at the time. I would reach out to her again, if no response, then move on.

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