Becoming Jewish

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  • #5915

    Stanley
    Member

    How does one become Jewish? My (estranged) grandmother is, but my Mum isn’t, and they won’t let me into temple. I want to learn more about Judaism. What can I do?

    User Detail :  

    Name : Stanley, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Age : 23, City : Brisbane, State : NA Country : Australia, Education level : 4 Years of College, 
    #22732

    c.t.
    Participant

    I am assuming you are talking about your paternal grandmother and are thus not matrilineally Jewish, which only would make you fair dinkum Jewish. 😉 As it is, you are not considered Jewish, despite your grandmother. You can convert to Judaism, yet conversion is traditionally not encouraged; in fact, some orthodox communities will refuse to acknowledge conversions done by other (e.g. reform) communities. The reasons for this are that converts in the past were often triggerering persecution of local communities by Christians (you might want to read up on the history of converts to Judaism, a great many of whom where burnt at the stake). The most widely acknowledged form of conversion is to join a course in Israel. These take up to half a year, and then you get acknowledged by the local authorities (certified). Be aware that ultraorthodox communities may not accept that, either. As to learning about Judaism, you don’t have to go to temple to do that; there is a multitude of literature available, and there are many Jewish sites on the web (such as virtual jerusalem.com) that will give you an insight into Jewish life. I recommend Israel meir lau, shaul meislisch (ed.), _Jewish life_ (1988) as a good starting point. That may be difficult to obtain in English, though a good Judaica store should have it or offer a similar compendium.

    User Detail :  

    Name : c.t., Sexual Orientation : Straight, Religion : Atheist, Age : 32, City : Munich, State : NA Country : Germany, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, 
    #35793

    Mark K.
    Member

    You might be considered Jewish by the Reform Jewish Movement, who indeed take BOTH patrilineal as well as matrilineal considerations. I have a question for you: You have finished University and still listen to your mum? What did you learn there? Respecting one’s elders is admirable, but as an educated woman you shouldn’t let that stand in the way of your self betterment. Involve yourself in learning and you will find your own path. What matters is what’s in your heart. PS: Maybe it’s time to contact your gram?

    User Detail :  

    Name : Mark K., Gender : M, Religion : Jewish, City : San Francisco Bay Area, State : CA Country : United States, 
    #47427

    leslie22883
    Participant

    I cannot imagine a Reform Jewish Synagogue not welcoming you with open arms if you are interested in learning about the religion. In fact, any Synagogue or Temple here in New Orleans would. All of them hold classes on regular basis. I would contact the various Synagogues in Brisbane for more information.

    User Detail :  

    Name : leslie22883, City : Jefferson, State : LA Country : United States, 
    #20241

    Lucy Kline
    Member

    I believe the answer given to the question was correct but not full enough. In Orthodox and Conservative Judaism, the person’s Judaism IS based on the maternal line. Reform Judaism has also accepted paternal lineage. As for learning about Judaism, borrow books from a library or ask a Rabbi for suggestions of books to learn, as a beginning. As for converting regardless of lineage, all denominations of Judaism follow the tradition of ‘turning down the person 3 times’ although it’s not always done in just those words. The reason is since we also don’t proselytize, we discourage conversion wanting to make sure a person is completely sincere.I’ve never heard that a Synagogue won’t let a non-Jew in and even the Hassidic (I am Reform) in our area welcome all people. Perhaps some Orthodox don’t. If you are interested in converting, contact several Rabbis in your area and find one you are comfortable talking to. Don’t be surprised at the ‘discouragement’ but pursue it if you are sincere.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Lucy Kline, Gender : F, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Jewish, Age : 68, City : Cocoa, State : FL Country : United States, Occupation : Housewife, Education level : High School Diploma, Social class : Middle class, 
    #19325

    EJ
    Member

    The tradition is that your descent is through your mother (because you will know who that is – whereas sometimes you may not know who your father is.) So if your maternal grandmother is Jewish, you are too not matter what your mom practiced. Then you just need to learn about what being a Jew entails. However, if you are not Jewish and want to convert, yes, you will be discourages, but if you persist, they will teach you. The process actually takes about three years, and not a half a year in Israel, and you can convert as long as it is with an orthodox teacher anywhere in the world who is allowed to convert you. Consult your local Rabbi. Not ‘letting’ you into temple sounds weird as many of my non-Jewish friends have been in a temple once or twice. There are tons of books out there to read, but make sure it written by a good ‘halachik’ authority. If you don’t know what that means, find someone who does – then you will be assured to be reading the right stuff.

    User Detail :  

    Name : EJ, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Jewish, Age : 28, City : New York, State : NY Country : United States, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, 
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