Sunday, December 27, 2009

helping converts

Wishing my readers a tzom kal (easy fast).

This week there was a notice in shul that they are looking for families to host not religious/pre-Jewish immigrant soldiers for a traditional shabbos. The Education corps has a learning course in which they teach the fundamentals of traditional (Orthodox) judaism to those who are interested.

A couple of years ago we had over some soldiers who were in the middle of the conversion process and they came to our house a number of times for shabbat. We had lively discussions and they promised to keep in touch after the conversion was complete. Well they didn't. One of them called us once afterward and after that she never even returned my calls and the other one never called and never returned my calls. I think one of them actually had the potential, but I don't know where she is or what she is up to now.

The question is should we do it again? On one hand there is a serious problem with the russian immigrants who are not halachically jewish, but came to Israel after being treated like Jews their entire lives. They get to Israel and are not allowed to get married and are outcasts in a number of ways. Technically the State of Israel should have stricter controls of who comes in and who doesn't, but they are here now and it is our problem.

One on side, we don't want to be converting people who are probably not going to be keeping mitzvos. On the other hand, if they are interested in being part of the Jewish nation and they are willing to learn what is required, I don't know if it is my issue if at the end of their conversion they decide to join the secular majority of the Jewish people. That is, as long as I do my part and do my best to show them what traditional Judaism has to offer and to convince them that it is their best interest to keep the mitzvos.


Anonymous said...

If your interested in a completely biased opinion about converts, speak to a rabbi on the West Side.

rockofgalilee said...

You must mean the West Bank, which is on the East Side. The West Side is the coast. I think a lot of rabbis all have very biased opinions about converts. It depends on their understanding of halacha and the situation at the current time.

Anonymous said...

West Side of Milwaukee.

Anonymous said...

I thought there is only one rabbi on the West Side? The rest are just followers.

rockofgalilee said...

After 17 years when I hear "West Side", somehow I just don't think of Milwaukee.

It's been too long.