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Shalom,

My wife and I are currently undergoing a local Reform/Conservative approved class and conversion. We have previously been through an Orthodox conversion class for nearly a year but were ultimately rejected because we could not move into an Eruv of an Ultra-Orthodox shul and participate there daily. I say this because where i live there is only ultra liberal Reform Jews and Ultra-Orthodox communities, no one i have found is what most people would say are more Modern Orthodox. The Rabbis after 6 months of communication flat out said we are not welcome in their community at their classes or in their shul. So we are taking the Reform/Conservative route because it is literally our only option. I have tried talking with neighboring Rabbinical councils and they say only one Rabbi can convert us and that is the one that told us not to come into their community.

We are not only currently Torah observant for over a year, but also have Jewish ancestry from Schoen Metz and Meier along the rhineland. Although i am very upset at what i have come across so far, i know i am in an ultra liberal part of the country. Can someone more connected to traditional Judaism help guide us in education for conversion because the classes we are taking now treat Torah very lightly and frankly it upsets me.

Thank you.

Shalom

  • Just to clarify: you don't see yourselves moving within walking distance of a synagogue in the near future; ergo you will be driving to synagogue on Sabbath (when the pandemic is over); that's generally going to be a dealbreaker for any Orthodox conversion. (Even "Modern Orthodox" is not going to look the other way on that one.) So you'd like a conversion that is not Orthodox, but more "substantial" than what you feel you're getting at the current Reform place? Then I suppose you're looking for a Conservative synagogue, and perhaps one on the more traditional side of things. Is this correct? – Shalom Sep 27 at 19:51
  • Thank you. We tried to move within the Eruv and after speaking to the Rabbi by phone and e-mail for 6 months telling him we were planning on moving and going through conversion. In April when we actually moved we were renting an airbnb while we tried to find a home within the Eruv. They said they have people that handle housing and connected us but he said he would have to check with the Rabbi before helping us. I told the Rabbi our situation and we were ready and in town, he told us we were not welcome in the Shul, in their community, or by their members because we were not already Orthodox. – Matthew Sep 28 at 3:24
  • We will move within an Eruv when it makes sense to. There is no one local so we would literally have to move hundreds of miles and it is just something we cant do 6 months after just moving across the country. We definitely 100% want to live within an Eruv we have no issue with that in general as long as it is a safe area. Here that area is the ghetto and extremely dangerous, although at first we were willing to mvoe there, we would not be now after realizing how bad it is, i was attacked for wearing a kippah. – Matthew Sep 28 at 3:28
  • Which city/community is this in? – Yehoshua Sep 28 at 17:31
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    At a slight tangent, if I may be excused: A convert is as Jewish as any other Jew. Why is this so? Rav Hutner explains (this is what I understood) that being Jewish is not a race or a religion, it is being in the reshus (domain of ownership) of Hashem. Therefore, the process of conversion is one of entering that domain. Fundamentally a non-orthodox "conversion" cannot achieve that objective, because a non-orthodox religious jurisdiction does not recognise Hashem's "domain" as sole and exclusive, but rather is of the opinion that the Jewish religion may be man-defined. – The GRAPKE Sep 28 at 23:17
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If the judge of your Beit Din is doing a single prohibition from the Torah, from the Torah itself or from the Rabbis, it is forbidden to go to them and your conversion can become invalid later.

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  • Thank you, i had the same thoughts myself. We have decided to eventually move again because the community here is unrecognizable. For the time being let me ask, if a sincere Reform Rabbi converted us that is Torah observant, will that be recognizable by Israel? Would we be able to make Aliyah as non-orthodox and then go through an Orthodox conversion as well in Israel, would that even matter besides our preference? I am not sure how all this works between the US, Israel, and the different sects of Judaism. – Matthew Sep 28 at 15:39
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    you should double check, but I am fairly certain Israel only accepts orthodox. What you could do, since you are interested in orthodox conversion, is make a pilgrimage to a place with many Jewish people, and if you can find three righteous people that are willing to convert you, you could become actually Jewish very fast, since the original law states that when a person comes to convert, "we convert them immediately". The law is special in this case, and it does not need to be a worthy judge, but laymen. After you have these three witnesses, Israel should let you in according to the Law. – Nathan Scheinberg Sep 28 at 18:51
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    The three people have to have knowledge on the laws of conversion, which is very common, and from my understanding they have to not be committing any of the 613 Mitzvos, and any of the Rabbinic commandments included in the commandment to listen to the judges in our days. I am considering doing this, I am just worried about finding righteous people. – Nathan Scheinberg Sep 28 at 18:53
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    @NathanScheinberg Without discussing whether such a conversion in front of an ad hoc beit din would work, I’m fairly certain that you won’t receive recognition from the Israeli government without documentation from a recognised, approved beit din. – Joel K Sep 29 at 4:15

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