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I am a noahide and I wanted to get a few opinions on this somewhat controversial topic, I by no means intend to make this into an argument or challenge to Jewish law nor do I mean to proclaim myself to be a Jew.

I am a Noahide who follows Jewish customs such as lighting shabbat candles and reciting Psalm 92 or things like abstaining from pork/shellfish, dedicating time to study Jewish history/law/torah/hebrew, wearing a kippah while praying in my own home ( I never wear it outside) and even honoring Jewish holidays in some manner ( Passover readings etc)

I am also aware that different denominations view the definition of a Jew differently (Orthodox= Maternal ancestry, Reform= Maternal/Paternal as long as one follows tradition)

But at the end of the day where do I really stand? Am I just a noahide who tries to go the "extra mile" or am I a gentile with a Jewish soul?

Just to clarify I don't have any known Jewish ancestry however I come from a part of the world where Jews have crossed and even lived

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    I am pleased to be the first to welcome you to the site! As for your question brother I would also like to mention that conversion also makes one a "jew" and that many jews today are really descendants of converts rather than descendants of the Ancient Israelites, So conversion should be considered here. – eliyah Sep 20 '14 at 19:37
  • @eliyah I disagree. Arkapur, You are a righteous gentile with a share in the world to come. Your appreciation for Judaism is wonderful. But accepting almost 100x more commandments and unreachable goals is what converting to Judaism means. Why bother? In my humble opinion, we really only exist as a nation so as to aid and inspire beautiful individuals, such as yourself to hold to the 7 basic laws that nurture healthy society; the laws that are meant for the world. We jews are just a custodial staff. You my friend are picturesque! There is no need for you to change your lifestyle! – Baby Seal Sep 22 '14 at 3:28
  • @ Baby Seal, so if Arkapur felt that in his heart that he wanted to convert and be a "jew" why should he feel discouraged. – eliyah Sep 22 '14 at 20:42
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There are many different branches of Judaism, there are conservatives who believe it is ok to drive on Shabbat(Sabbath), there are reforms who believe you do not have to wear a head dressing when worshiping, they also view having a Father as a Jew the same as having a mother who is Jewish.

The Karaites are jews and they do not believe the Talmud is an inspired book, they do use it as a reference book but never view it as law. Karaites only follow the the bible)

Here is a good article from a Orthodox who became a Karaite Jew http://www.karaite-korner.org/salmon_ben_yeruham.shtml

My advice to you is to be righteous before God and not to worry about "membership" as a Jew, as Rabbi Mizrachi said "No one knows who is a real Jew today only Hashem(God).

Pray and ask Hashem to guide you to Him..seek Him

  • Really true, being a believer doesn't always necessitate a title! – user7069 Sep 21 '14 at 20:02
  • @arkapur being a believer without a title is exactly what a noahide is. – Daniel Sep 22 '14 at 20:59
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The answer depends on your own desires and feelings, on your external circumstances, and on what eventually happens.

If believe in Judaism but do not feel a longing to be study the entire Torah (Written and Oral and, more broadly, the various commentaries since), be bound by and in practice actually fulfill all the mitzvot that apply to you, and to become a part of the Jewish people, then you should remain a Noahide.

But if you long to do more, to study and fulfill the Torah and fully join the Jewish people, then that is a sign or indication that you should do so, with the eventual objective of converting according to Jewish law.

Only once your (halachically-valid, that is, Orthodox) conversion is complete will you know if you had a Jewish soul all along. If you do accomplish a valid conversion, then certainly it was meant to be and you had a Jewish soul all along. (This assumes that this idea of converts being born with Jewish souls is correct, and assumes a more mystical view of the world -- it's possible a more rationalist-leaning Orthodox Jew wouldn't see it this way.)

If due to some reason (like your location or family relationships) you are unable to convert for the time being, or even even, then it is possible that is an indication you don't have a Jewish soul or are not meant to convert.

But if you still have the desire to move closer to conversion, then don't worry about whether you have a Jewish soul, just try to adjust your life circumstances to make conversion possible, and keep trying for the conversion, refusing to take no for an answer. Sometimes it may take years.

In any case, be patient and have faith that Hashem, who does everything for the best, put you in the situation you're in for a good reason, that this is where you need to be right now for your soul to accomplish what it is supposed to accomplish in this world. It may be that you can serve God best as a Jew, and that that is what you are meant to do, but you can also serve God right now, through prayer and good deeds.

By the way, it doesn't matter whether you have any Jewish ancestry. Most converts don't. If you continue the Noahide path for now, there are many organizations and resources available. As you probably already know, there is a Noahide prayerbook (siddur) now, called Service From the Heart. There are also an increasing number of Jewish books meant for all people, like Rabbi Shalom Arush's Universal Garden of Emuna.

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    "then that is a sign or indication that you should do so" How do you know this? – Double AA Sep 21 '14 at 2:25
  • I've read in many sources that one should only covert if one has a desire to. I can't think of any offhand, however. The idea of people who believe in Judaism remaining Noahides rather than converting was never a very common phenomenon, so it has probably not been addressed in detail by many rabbis, but I would assume that the answer is according to one's inner desires. There is even a teaching that a ger doesn't really have free will until he converts, because he feels a compulsion to convert. – Kordovero Sep 21 '14 at 14:08
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    "one should only covert if one has a desire to" does not imply that "that is a sign or indication that you should do so". – Double AA Sep 21 '14 at 17:49
  • If one has a desire to convert one should pursue conversion. What I wrote is just a more complex way of saying this. – Kordovero Sep 21 '14 at 18:04
  • "If one has a desire to convert one should pursue conversion." How do you know that? – Double AA Sep 21 '14 at 18:09
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It's fine to be a Jew at heart. This is similar to saying, "I would love to have more money!" This is not the same as investing in a business or in a stock, because those require actions. No one will pay you dividends for a stock you wish you had. If you can write a question like you did, then you can certainly understand the implication in the above example I just wrote. There is a saying, "If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got." That is applicable here. Constantly feeling Jewish will keep you constantly feeling Jewish. Taking certain actions to commit yourself to a purpose through a physical action, is innovating a resolution you have only thought of earlier. So, devoting yourself in heart is a nice step forward, but still not as powerful as backing up the thoughts and words with activity. Standing and watching the nice lake, is not as fulfilling as swimming in it.

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Full conversion is likely to be the answer to your question, conversion makes one a jew. Alot of jews today are descendants of converts rather than the ancient Israelites.

“I will also bless the foreigners who commit themselves to the LORD, who serve him and love his name, who worship him and do not desecrate the Sabbath day of rest, and who hold fast to my covenant. I will bring them to my holy mountain of Jerusalem and will fill them with joy in my house of prayer. I will accept their burnt offerings and sacrifices, because my Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations. For the Sovereign LORD, who brings back the outcasts of Israel, says: I will bring others, too, besides my people Israel.”

Isaiah 56:6-8

Many Israelis today agree with the statement that "being jewish is not just about Dna". If you decide to partake of jewish traditions in your home and pass it onto your children then no one has the right to stop you,Shalom.

  • What does the opinion of "many Israelis" matter? Does anybody not agree with that statement? – Daniel Sep 21 '14 at 2:02
  • @Daniel, it matters because they are a relevant source and yes there are those who disagree with that statement. – eliyah Sep 22 '14 at 20:45
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    I disagree with your assertion that Israelis are a relevant source. Halacha is not determined by a poll of Israelis. – Daniel Sep 22 '14 at 20:58
  • @Daniel, I was not saying that they are an authoritative source but rather a interesting source as food for thought. – eliyah Sep 23 '14 at 23:31
  • "no one has the right to stop you" So the best justification for this practice is that it is illegal to stop you? That's terribly weak. – Double AA Dec 15 '14 at 16:10

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