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I have seen some articles on here about conversion but it seems to me like most of it has to do with the Orthodox movement, whereas I am concerned more with Reform as it seems to hold the same values/ideals I see as valid as important to them.

I am a Noahide who does pray daily and observes certain aspects of judaism (such as refraining from pork and taking some time out of each day for "religious reading"), however I am going through a lot in life right now however I am considering conversion once things settle down a bit. I want to convert because judaism holds many values such as ethical monotheism, charity, consistency, and community and is culturally similar in some ways to my own background (North Indian/Kashmiri).

I do have some reason to believe that it is possible that I have some distant Jewish roots from the Iraqi or Persian Jews or possibly other tribes that came into the areas my known ancestors are from, however, my basis for conversion to Judaism would lie in the fact that it is the religion that speaks to me the most and that being a Noahide leaves you a little bit lost and without identity/spiritual guidance. My parents are really supportive and despite everything happening I think they would definetly encourage me to do this if it is what I want.

I would like some opinions/answers on the following questions if anyone has the time:

Would this limit me to only marrying someone who is also Jewish? ( I don't have any issues with it at all but i am only 18 and still have college so its just a lot to think about now)

Would people question or look at me differently because I am a convert ( I could pass off as Persian mixed with some European)

Does it make sense to convert if many of the prayers have to do with ancestry, when it is currently understood that I do not have any Jewish ancestry?

Would I still be able to live life like I usually do and have religion be something I can adhere to and devote time to daily, without having to isolate or limit myself to the Jewish community? ( I want to be balanced and still be able to go out and do things with friends and family and have a somewhat flexible schedule much like the average American christian barring Shabbat restrictions)

I would like to spend time/live/ or possibly study in Israel, will being a reform convert affect any of that? (From what I understand the Orthodox movement would not consider me to be properly Jewish?)

Thank you for reading and hopefully giving your honest opinions/answers on this important aspect of my life, I wish you the best!

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Reform conversions are at best, questionable and at worst, non-halachic. But I'll answer these questions as if you were pursuing a halachic conversion. Yes. Maybe, depends on the person. Blood ancestry does not matter. See "Letter to Obadiah the Proselyte." No, you're going to have to make compromises. It's non-halachic and the Rabbinate probably won't accept it. –  rosenjcb Jul 29 at 17:42

1 Answer 1

This is a pretty broad question. If you want to drill into any of these issues I recommend splitting off a separate question about just that topic.

Would this limit me to only marrying someone who is also Jewish?

According to halacha (Jewish law), we are to marry other Jews and marriages with non-Jews are not recognized as valid. Intermarried couples nonetheless tend to be welcomed in Reform (and other liberal) communities, on the reasoning that it's better to keep channels open with the Jew than to exclude him (particularly if that Jew might produce children later).

However, as a convert you will be held to a higher standard: are you really throwing your lot with the Jewish people if you reject such a fundamental requirement? The rabbi you study with and the beit din (rabbinic court) that oversees your conversion might require you to pledge to marry Jewish.

Would people question or look at me differently because I am a convert

Probably not. First, we're not supposed to ask, and second, if people do know, within the Reform community their reaction is likely to be positive, not negative. I've seen a lot of converts in the ~15 years I've been part of my Reform congregation, and the reaction is, nearly universally, one of welcoming and happiness that the person finds value in Judaism.

Does it make sense to convert if many of the prayers have to do with ancestry, when it is currently understood that I do not have any Jewish ancestry?

The Rambam (Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, a.k.a. Maimonides) addresses your question (citation needed). A convert is the adopted child of Avraham and Sarah, fully part of the Jewish people, and even if you don't share bloodlines you now share lineage.

Would I still be able to live life like I usually do and have religion be something I can adhere to and devote time to daily, without having to isolate or limit myself to the Jewish community? ( I want to be balanced and still be able to go out and do things with friends and family and have a somewhat flexible schedule much like the average American christian barring Shabbat restrictions)

If you're asking "do I have to go live in a shtetl or study in yeshiva full-time and never see my friends", no. Jews, and liberal Jews in particular, live in the world, not separate from it. (The Chareidim you may read about are the exception, not the rule.) But you should convert with the intention of being a full-time Jew, with all that it entails -- Shabbat, holidays, how and what you eat, prayer, and more. You should expect your rabbi and the beit din to ask you about this, and they will also expect you to start living as a Jew before you convert. As above, the precise requirements of any given rabbi or beit din are beyond the scope of this answer. Talk with them. Conversion requires study over an extended period; you will have many conversations about matters like these with your rabbi.

I would like to spend time/live/ or possibly study in Israel, will being a reform convert affect any of that? (From what I understand the Orthodox movement would not consider me to be properly Jewish?)

The Orthodox movement will not consider you to be Jewish, nor will the Israeli rabbinate. This will carry some restrictions on you. You can still visit or live in Israel, and there are Reform communities there. You can also study at cross-denominational institutes like Pardes and Shalom Hartman.

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