Thursday, June 24, 2010

Ask the Rabbi: Is it OK to Convert for Love?

Here is my latest response to an "Ask the Rabbi" question from

Q. I am writing to you because I was dating a Jewish man, though I myself am not Jewish. After breaking up a couple of times he came to the conclusion that it won't work because I am not Jewish. It hurts me to think that all of this is due to religious differences. I have offered to convert if it will make him happy, but both he and his family say that converting just because of him is not enough. I want to give our love a chance and make it work but I don't know where to go from here. Do you think that my conversion would be accepted in the Conservative faith if I only converted so that I could be with someone? Maybe if I tell his parents that a rabbi said my conversion would be "kosher" everyone will come around and things will turn out alright. I have no faith of my own and so converting to Judaism is not a spiritual struggle for me

A. Absolutely! Let 'em know a rabbi says it's OK. Use my name. Give them my e-mail address. I'd be happy to talk to them, anytime.

While traditionally, a rabbi is required to discourage conversion, things have changed quite a bit in recent years. Some rabbis are even actively proselytizing, something we hadn't seen in the Jewish world since Roman times. And even those who maintain more traditional standards would have much more sympathy to your predicament than they may have had a generation ago. See the full response here.

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