Four things about Conversion

 I don't believe that one can live out of passion forever, there will be a moment when the passion will have to become love. That is healthy, but in my case, that change of my jewish identity is very complicated because I can’t convert. Converting to judaism allows one to live a more normal and relaxed relation with one’s jewish identity. So, passion becomes love. 


I have studied judaism for two years and I’ve lived an actually conversion process for one year. I’m far away from being an expert on the matter, but I can tell you four things you need in order to have a successful (orthodox) conversion.


1 - You need your family's support (especially from close relatives).

2 - You need to put your conversion process on the top of the list. It needs to be a priority in your life, it needs to be more important than everything else.

3 - You need money, patience and capacity to deal with bureaucracy and politics.

4 - You need to be aware (and ready) for the prejudice. The worse prejudice is the one that comes from within the jewish world, from the born jew. This prejudice is going to make you feel inferior and unworthy, but also stronger.


There is a lot of politics and prejudice related to race and social class that permeates the process of converting to judaism. Those things make me sad and cynical about the process itself. I know many people who get into the process and think about it as a “spiritual path” and that if you are “good enough” and “try hard”, meritocracy will, inevitably, lead you to succeed. I admire those people, however the process doesn’t work in that way.


One of the worse things about it is the fact that many born jews don’t know, or simply don’t care, about the feelings of a jew by choice, or the certain problems related to the conversion process itself.  When I went to the shul, despite the fact that I had many friends there, I felt like a “second class citizen” and I could not even fight to be a “first class citizen” because there is no orthodox Beit Din in Brazil. I thought jews would care about the existence of a “second class” right beside them, I thought they would be able to understand and be trouble by it, because they were “second class citizens” for so many years, in so many lands. Some jews, my rabbi and my rebbetzin for example, were trouble by the difficulties of a jew by choice in Brazil. However, there was very little to do about it.


I believe orthodox conversion to judaism is a very complicated and unclear thing.