No one told me that becoming a Jew, an Orthodox Jew, meant that I had to snub my nose at Jews who didn’t live the same lifestyle. In fact, I’ve heard more non-Orthodox Jews snub their noses at Orthodox Jews than I’ve heard it the other way around.
As someone who became an Orthodox Jew and knew exactly how hard it was to get from point A to point B, I find that I am quite vividly aware of how hard it is to live this kind of lifestyle. I really don’t think it’s for everyone, I just know that it’s right for me. And I’m ready and willing to help anyone who thinks it is right for them, too.
I converted to Judaism because I loved Judaism and I loved Jews. It isn’t always so easy to love Jews but I keep trying my best to do it. I love short Jews and tall Jews. I love Orthodox Jews and Reform Jews and Conservative Jews, all kinds of Jews, even the ones who think the way I live my life is crazy as long as they don’t disrespect me. I love even the Jews who other people don’t think are Jews because I respect all converts.
A friend of mine who converted Conservative was telling me how deeply troubled he was by a recent decision in Madrid that a 13-year-old Columbian boy, a Conservative convert, could not be buried in a Jewish cemetery in Spain. (He was buried eventually in a section of the sanctuary for people whose Jewish status is in question.) Even though we were talking online, I could feel my friend shaking his fists at “the Orthodox” as he called them.
Nobody tells you that as a convert, you and your children might be massacred emotionally (or otherwise) every time the lines are drawn and redrawn in the Jewish community so that you end up on the outside of it. No one tells you, no one really sits you down and explains what it means when you convert one way and not the other. No one explains that the people who really bear the brunt of the ongoing “Who is a Jew?” wars and an ever fracturing Jewish community are converts and their families in perpetuity no matter which movement they convert through.