celebrities · Jews/Jewish/Judaism/Orthodox Judaism · news

Conversion is not a joke (especially when it’s not funny)

Yes, Ivanka Trump is Jewish, now please get over it. I mean, I’m all for Perez Hilton and the mass media wishing her a “Mazel tov” but I am sick of hearing about how you wish she’d cover her elbows, stop touching her fiance and well, in so many words wondering if she’s really Jewish. What Ivanka Trump is doing is bringing out the biases people already have against converts.

And now, oy vey, we get to Britney converting to Judaism. The New Yorker decided to mock her and her possible conversion in a piece called “Britney’s Conversion Diary.” Did anyone find this funny?

15 thoughts on “Conversion is not a joke (especially when it’s not funny)

  1. Sorry if I sound skeptical… my Dad converted too… with a reform rabbi and then divorced my mother and goes to church with his lutheran wife.

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  2. Yeah that was far from being funny. That was straight Heeb magazine material right there. Because everyone knows that making fun of converts is just sooo hilarious {rolls eyes}

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  3. Did Britney convert to Judaism? I do not believe it. Is her boyfriend Jewish BTW? If so, that's the best news I've heard in a while. However, if they (Britney and trump's daughter) start playing with Judaism, they will give converts a bad name, thus, rabbis will make it even much harder for others to convert to this beautiful way of life. If a female O convert married to a O Jew and does not cover her elbow, hair or is not shomer negiah, then we have a problem. Why female frum from birth jews have to do all this (follow all the rules)and not converts? What makes converts so special as to not follow the minhagim also? When one converts to Judaism, one has accept the whole package (halacha and the community minhagim), if not why convert? That's why most rabbis make it impossible for someone who wants to fully accept mitzvot and minhagim to convert to Judaism nowdays. Gerim have more responsabilities than born Jews, they have to represent klal yisroel in general and all converts as well. If these two celebrities are serious about converting and want to follow halacha and minhagim, welcome and the best for you and your future Jewish children.

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  4. Expecting a convert to be kabbalat ol ha mitzvot is not bias.

    Believing in the stipulations that the Halacha lays out for a conversion to be valid is not being racist or prejudice. The Torah says a lot of things which offend modern/liberal sensibilities, but our allegiance must be to its teachings.

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  5. The baseline beliefs for a convert are quite simple. I heard an Orthodox conversion rabbi put it this way:

    First, assume in the following story that you live in biblical times.

    A woman and her young cute children save your life. You even befriend them. You all become best buddies. Then, you find out without a doubt that they are Amalekites. Are you prepared to do what it takes to have them all killed? If you're in a position where you are the only one capable of killing them, are you prepared to do so?

    If a convert (or prospective convert) answers no to this, then we have serious problems.

    The Torah's sensibilities are not ours. They may appear to be “hard core”, but that's what it means to be an Orthodox Jew.

    A married convert woman not covering hair and wearing pants are things that may be negotiable in the spirit of personal growth. Not buying into all of the Torah's basic values of morality, even the ones that challenge contempory (distorted values), for example, its stance on homosexuality, is quite different.

    It should be no wonder why there has been a progressive crack-down on Orthodox converts.

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  6. Wake up!, boy am I glad that you're not on a beis din right now? I mean, yeah, G-d forbid someone thinks twice before killing a mother and her cute children. Yeah, we wouldn't want them in the Jewish people. We want people with as little free will as possible. In case you missed it that was sarcasm.

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  7. Aliza,

    Thanks for the sarcasm.

    It seems that you misconstrue the concept of free choice of whether to actually commit an aveira or mitzvah with the obligation (and obedience) to adhere to the laws of the Torah.

    You're statement of “thinking twice” gives the impression that you wouldn't follow through with that Torah obligation. That's troubling.

    Even if someone is conflicted with their “free will”, what ultimately matters is the actual choice — the choice to adhere to false human ideals or obey the G-d given ideals of the Torah.

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  8. YOu're entitled to your opinion, but so are the other giyorot I've heard voice those complaints, wondering where the frum patrol is that dogged their asses before.

    –Grey

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  9. Wake up!,

    The amazing thing I've found is that the more Judaism I learned, the more tolerant I became. The Czarist government held the Talmud perniciously made Jews intolerant, but somehow, I cannot help but suspect that only lack of Talmudic learning could make one intolerant. Of course, the Czar didn't really actually care whether the Jews were intolerant or not; he just wanted them to wear crosses on their necks.

    Anyway, to offer two examples:

    — Rambam says that an Amalekite can convert to Judaism. The implication, according to a rabbis whose identity I can no longer remember, is that an Amalekite can indeed become a ben Noah or ger toshav or ger tzedek, and no longer subject to the law of Amalek. So if your Jew killed the woman Amalekite and her cute children, he'd be guilty of murder.

    — Regarding gentiles in halakhah in general, Rabbi Yehiel Yaakov Weinberg, easily among the greatest rabbis of his time, in early-to-mid 20th century Germany, said, “In my opinion, it is fitting to put an end to the hatred of the religions for each other. More than Christianity hates Judaism, Judaism hates Christianity. There is a dispute if stealing from Gentiles is forbidden from the Torah, everyone holds that deceiving a Gentile and canceling his debt is permitted, one is not to return a lost object to a Gentile, according to R. Tam intercourse with a Gentile does not render a woman forbidden to her husband, their issue is like the issue [of horses]… We must solemnly and formally declare that in our day this does not apply. Meiri wrote as such, but the teachers and ramim whisper in the ears of the students that all this was written because of the censor.” Rabbi Weinberg, easily the gadol ha-dor of his time, had no difficulty declaring that the Torah's laws in these areas profoundly troubled him as being unjust and racist.

    — Rabbi Yosef Messas – a prominent Moroccan rav – and Rabbi Isaac S. Hurewitz – a staunch Orthodox rav who made ad hominem attacks on Louis Ginzburg's halakhic rulings, based only on Ginzburg's not being Orthodox – both have said a Jewish woman today has no obligation anymore to cover her hair.

    So the batei din who would annul the conversion of a person who refused to kill an Amalekite or cover her hair, these batei din are undoubtedly sinning. And I haven't even yet begun to discuss Rabbi Benzion Uziel's shita on giyur, a shita which was actually shared by almost the whole Sephardic and German Neo-Orthodox worlds.

    Fundamentalism is very easy when you don't know anything. But as soon as you start learning about Orthodox rabbis who questioned the justice of the Torah and permitted women to expose their hair, it's much more difficult to condemn even the non-Orthodox Reformers for the same.

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  10. I will not speak lashon hara against I. Trump. Only the convert and G-d know what is in the convert's heart. However, I will say the following about conversions performed by an Orthodox Bet Din (e.g., the RCA). The prospective convert must show an Orthodox Bet Din that the person is “willing” and “able” to live as an Orthodox Jew. The problem with many so called Orthodox conversions is that prospective converts often lack adequate knowledge at the time of conversion to live as an Orthodox Jew. Thus, neither the Bet Din nor the prospective convert can say with reasonable comfort that the convert will follow an observant life. Specifically, the convert can not demonstrate to the Bet Din that the convert's assertions regarding future observance are informed and supported by evidence of prior observance. Moreover, an Orthodox Bet Din serves as a gate keeper for those who are committed to an eternal way of life rather than some Kabalistic fad.

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  11. Rabbi Akiva Eiger actually held it was prohibited to teach a potential convert any Torah, due to the prohibition of teaching Torah to a gentile, period.

    I don't agree with Rabbi Eiger, but I think his view still illustrates a good point: you cannot question a conversion based on the amount the convert learned. If we start doing so, then we have to say Rabbi Eiger's conversions were unkosher.

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