Conversion to Judaism; Different Branches

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Conversion to Judaism; Different Branches

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Post by cnorman18 »

From here:
Actually there were many people circumcised as adults, when they believed God and joined the Jews. You can still join the Jews today, and if you are a male and not circumcised you must become circumcised in order to join them. If interested in joining the Jews, there are instructions here; ... ewish.html

Of course, you will also have to learn to read Hebrew.
That is an emphatically Orthodox site. The reader will notice these remarks:
There is only one way to become Jewish. Only one way. There are no improper ways that work. The one way is through an Orthodox-Jewish Beit Din (Court)....

It is important that you understand another fact. If you want to have a proper conversion to Judaism, it must be done through Orthodox Rabbis. By Jewish Law, any conversion done by any other means is invalid....

Above all, one of the most fundamental rules in Judaism is respect and honor for the Rabbis and Halachic authorities. Any book that is not firm in that focus is to be completely rejected. This is a problem with many popular books these days, particularly books by Joseph Telushkin.

It is very important to make sure that the author of any book you read is Orthodox, and that the author represents authentic Halachic Judaism.

Books by people like Harold Kushner will send you in the wrong direction. The theology and philosophy of Judaism is equally as important as the fulfillment of the Commandments. Someone who fulfills all the Commandments yet has incorrect beliefs about G-d and mankind, is not fulfilling the Torah and Judaism....
The fact is that there are several branches of the Jewish religion, and there are several paths to becoming Jewish. It is perfectly true that a convert in one of those other branches MAY not be considered Jewish by the Orthodox (that depends on the rabbi, on the specific details of one's conversion, and on one's level of observance). It is also very true that much of what is said in this article is true of conversion to ANY branch; much, but not all.

There are differing opinions on many issues within the Jewish community, and no one group has the right to dictate proper belief or practice to everyone, whether they think they do or not. I have often described Orthodox Judaism as Jewish Fundamentalism; and though I respect the Orthodox and respect their point(s) of view, I do not agree with all their ideas or all their dictates, and I am far from alone. As the link below will attest, about 10% of Jews who affiliate with a synagogue self-identify as Orthodox. In the words of the old saying -- what are the rest of us, chopped liver? Peace to the good Orthodox people, but I don't allow Christians to dictate what Jews must believe; I don't intend to allow other Jews to do so either. Here is a site with some (very) basic information on the different branches of the Jewish religion.

I myself converted in the Conservative branch. Again, it is true that many, if not most, Orthodox Jews don't consider me Jewish. Again, peace to them, but that does not matter to me. I don't hang out with them, I don't attend an Orthodox shul (there isn't one in my town), and I prefer to follow the long, long tradition of Jewish pluralism that can be seen in the pages of the Talmud and, indeed, in the long history of the Jewish faith itself.

Hillel and Shammai, near-contemporaries of a guy named Jesus, very often disagreed, and vehemently; and yet both were highly respected and even revered authorities, even in their own time. Rabbi Elijah ben Shlomo Zalman Kramer, universally known and revered as the Gaon (Genius) of Vilna, and Rabbi Yisroel ben Eliezer, universally known as the legendary Baal Shem Tov, the founder of Chasidism, were also contemporaries and fierce opponents-- they actually excommunicated each other! -- but today, they are BOTH revered as among the greatest of our rabbis and among the greatest authorities on Halakhah and Judaic belief and practice. An old Jewish proverb says, "These words and those words are both words of Torah"; this refers to the fact that it is very often found in the Talmud that two mutually exclusive teachings are both said to be acceptable and even authoritative "until Elijah comes and explains to us which is right, or why both are." I’ll hold to that pluralistic tradition, and not revert to the pattern of allowing “authorities� to do my thinking for me. That -- in my opinion -- has never been the Jewish way.

As with most things here, and yea verily, everywhere, Moses Yoder has a right to his opinion. So do I, and I respectfully disagree. I am a Jew; so say I, so say all the rabbis under whom I have studied, and so says the Beit Din which affirmed my conversion. Only God Himself has the right to overrule those opinions, and He, it will be noted, isn't saying.

Oh -- and I don't read Hebrew.

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