Converting to Judaism

A letter from Brazil about converting to Judaism and my response.

Date: Thu, 16 Jun 2005
Dear Rabbi Drucker

I am very much impressed by your site and by the sermons I have read. I would like to tell you a bit of my history and ask for your advice. My family has no religion and although my mother is German we never knew much about our origins. We live in Brazil and this country is a big mix of immigrants. I always had a great interest for the Bible but never wanted to become a Christian. After many years I heard a conversation of my mother with a German friend in which she finally said that my great-grandmother was a Jew.

She told many things about the ways and words of the grandmother. However, she didn’t want to talk about it with me after the conversation and she never admitted it again. It became a forbidden issue in our home.

I was not satisfied with that and went looking for our Rabbi. He received my visit with the most sympathy and told me that happens to many Jews, especially those that suffered a lot after the war. He counseled me to read the Torah which I started immediately.

Since then I have read the entire Torah two times, with all the comments of the Brazilian edition, and I still continue to read it almost every day. The Torah has become my best inspiration and guide in all the difficult questions in my life. All my friends and relatives are very surprised with that and my boyfriend says if I convert to Judaism he will leave me.

However, I know that I cannot stop reading and following the teachings of the Torah. I have also started to read and explain it to my daughter. Now I have the rejection of my family and my loved boyfriend to deal with. I don’t know what to do. Prejudice is among my own and I already feel I am a Jew inside my heart. It is a difficult time for me!

Thank you for reading this.

Best regards

Thank you for your letter. I’m so glad that you have a caring rabbi who is guiding you. Two times through the Torah! Very impressive. As for your family and boyfriend…perhaps you could have a conversation about their resistance to your path. What is their fear? The only thing that I would counsel is that you go easy with them, not proselytize, and have faith that God will guide you with them and yourself. The decision to convert is major and you can reassure your boyfriend that you are not there yet. Perhaps the two of you could meet with Rabbi Goldstein, and he might help your boyfriend to understand your path. If he’s unwilling to allow you to strengthen your spiritual connection, it’s better to know that know rather than later!

God bless you in your effort to be closer to God and the Jewish people.

Shabbat Shalom!

Peace and Blessings,
Rabbi Malka Drucker