May 31, 2011 3:31 am at 3:31 am #597182
If you were brought up in a non-religious home, and later in life you became acquainted with religious Jews, would you care to understand what it’s all about? Would you make the drastic life changing decision of becoming religious?
If you were born a goy, and later in life you discovered Judiasm would it interest you? Would you convert?
We all were given this choice a long time ago on har sinai and we said na’aseh vinishmah-If H-shem came to us today and gave us the option to discontinue our commitment, would you/we do it all over again, and why?
With shavuos around the corner it is something we should all be thinking about!May 31, 2011 3:38 am at 3:38 am #773760real-briskerMember
What type of answer are you looking for?May 31, 2011 3:39 am at 3:39 am #773761OfcourseMember
What a fascinating, thought provoking question, thanks!
I wish I knew. Obviously more dont than do.
Will anyone be honest enough to admit that they probably would not become religious/Jewish?May 31, 2011 3:48 am at 3:48 am #773762☕️coffee addictParticipant
Yes, I didMay 31, 2011 3:52 am at 3:52 am #773763kapustaParticipant
If I saw the right examples, probably. Judaism (Torah) itself is perfect, the problem is if its not represented the way its supposed to be.May 31, 2011 3:58 am at 3:58 am #773764☕️coffee addictParticipant
I was answering the first question.
For the second question I don’t really knowMay 31, 2011 4:01 am at 4:01 am #773765observanteenMember
I think the answer is yes. But I’d probably convert to Yiddishkeit after trying all the other religions, avodah zara, and atheism and after being totally miserable (if I wouldn’t commit suicide first). B”H, I am FFB but I am Torah observant solely because I’ve chosen this path in life and NOT because I was born in this “mold”.May 31, 2011 4:14 am at 4:14 am #773766
“What type of answer are you looking for?”
“Obviously more dont than do”
Yes-but would YOU have-and is that why you are who you are and they are not?
“Yes, I did”
You have the privilege of knowing something we FFB’s may forever wonder about.May 31, 2011 4:20 am at 4:20 am #773767
“If I saw the right examples, probably. Judaism (Torah) itself is perfect, the problem is if its not represented the way its supposed to be.”
Suppose you saw the wrong examples, would you be drawn to the truth of Torah? Would you feel life w/o Judaism is empty or meaningless? Would another religion give you fulfillment? Would you even be looking for truth? Would life’s lessons make a difference?May 31, 2011 4:23 am at 4:23 am #773768aimhabonimParticipant
If I was brought up in a non-religious home (I was), and later in life (as a teenager)became acquainted with frum Jews (I did),would I care to find out what it’s all about? YES.And would I make the drastic,life changing decision to become frum? YES! Boruch Hashem! And it’s obvious that a number of other posters here (and at least one mod)also said Na’aseh V’nishmah at one point in their lives.May 31, 2011 4:26 am at 4:26 am #773769
“We need quality, not quanitity.”
Are you saying that the ones who lack quality are ruining it for the others or that it is not even worthwhile for the unqualified person himself?
And by what measuring stick do you gauge quality?
Bain adam lichaveiro? bain adam lamakom? sincerity? integrity?May 31, 2011 4:35 am at 4:35 am #773770RabbiDoctorMember
It would all depend on the type of exposure to Judaism, and the lifestyle i would be leading beforehand, and/or religiousness previously. I would like to think i would, of courseMay 31, 2011 5:04 am at 5:04 am #773772mddMember
Health, frei Yidden are also Yidden who are mehuyav in mitsvos, and it is a total obligation to make them frum. You do not own Yiddishkeit!May 31, 2011 6:19 am at 6:19 am #773774HealthParticipant
BSD -“Are you saying that the ones who lack quality are ruining it for the others or that it is not even worthwhile for the unqualified person himself?”
The first one!
“And by what measuring stick do you gauge quality?
Bain adam lichaveiro? bain adam lamakom?”
It’s not one or the other, everything.
Both! They said in Europe – “A Bishop is Frum, a Yid is Ehrlich”!May 31, 2011 7:02 am at 7:02 am #773775HaLeiViParticipant
Knowing what I know and with my current perspective, I would. But, how do I know which wind would have carried me? Being scientificly oriented, I probably would have felt a purpose in that field. However, being that I have a Yiddishe Neshama, it probably would have tickled me. What about the courage to become a newbe and drop your whole established lifestyle, usually with your family mocking your every advancement.May 31, 2011 8:10 am at 8:10 am #773776TikkunHatzotMember
Personally, my great grandparents, for whatever reason, decided to “convert” to the Church of England (but I didn’t find this out until I got interested in Judaism at age 24). BTW, this story is somewhat similar for most gerim that I’ve met.
My parents weren’t religious, they sent me to a Christian school my whole life. At 16, I became a very religious Christian.
Fast forward a few years, I was working for & living with a SECULAR Jewish family, and I was a RELIGIOUS Christian. The fact they were secular & I was religious is important, because when I lived them, I said to myself “Why would anyone want to convert them? They still have higer moral standards than anyone at church”….I actually saw that if they converted they would be moving backwards in their moral character….and when I told my Christian friends this, well, let’s just say that it started my descent out of the church.
Either way, the boss & his wife left a big impression on me & I started to ask questions about Judaism. It started off slow, but I eventually decided to leave Christianity & embrace Judaism.
However, for various reasons in my family history, I am not halachically considered Jewish. So I have to convert. I’ve actually been in the process for 4 years THIS WEEK. I would have been “done” with it 2 years ago, but in the past few years America has been caught up in many invalid conversions, which made it much harder & much less stable for me.
And since it became much less stable, as far as if my eventual conversion in America would even be accepted in Israel, I chose just to move to Israel & convert here under the supervision of the rabbi(s) that are setting the standards for conversions. That way there wouldn’t be any problems in the future.
…and since I’m converting haredi, I don’t know how much longer I’ll be a part of the CR…or be on the internet at all.
Either way, my rabbi in America is a baal teshuva & went through a different situation; he actually didn’t look up to religious Jews. So when secular Jews tell him that they don’t like the way the frum Jews act, he half-jokingly says that he became more Jewish (read: “religious”) despite the Jewish people & their behavior.May 31, 2011 11:24 am at 11:24 am #773777
“B”H, I am FFB but I am Torah observant solely because I’ve chosen this path in life and NOT because I was born in this “mold”.”
Making a choice by definition means there was another option on the table-was there ever truly another option? What option was there? Atheism? To be an agnostic? A different religion? How did you make your determination? Did you study other religions first? Is it necessary for an ffb to make such a conscious decision? Or should it be a given with the only focus being on shteiging?May 31, 2011 11:55 am at 11:55 am #773778Mother in IsraelMember
My guess is that I would not. I’m a lazy person who doesn’t like change and I highly doubt that I would do something which would upset my lifestyle so significantly. There’s always the chance that the right people would get their hands on me and influence me otherwise, so I can’t say for sure, but that’s my feeling.May 31, 2011 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm #773779ashmorris613Participant
Well, I did it.I grew up in a Black, Baptist home in the inner city. I always felt that I didn’t quite “fit in” with either in my culture or my religion. I began learning about Judaism in public libraries in order to work out my issues with Christianity. I found that everything that I found wrong in my culture and religion was done the right way in Judaism. My neshama had found its home. I think that a neshama knows where it’s supposed to be. If a person is meant to be a part of the Jewish people, they will never be satisfied anywhere else. It will bother them until they have no choice but to search for their true home. When a person searches for the path of truth, Hashem meets them more than halfway.May 31, 2011 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm #773780ashmorris613Participant
Well, I did it.I grew up in a Black, Baptist home in the inner city. I always felt that I didn’t quite “fit in” with either in my culture or my religion. I began learning about Judaism in public libraries in order to work out my issues with Christianity. I found that everything that I found wrong in my culture and religion was done the right way in Judaism. My neshama had found its home. I think that a neshama knows where it’s supposed to be. If a person is meant to be a part of the Jewish people, they will never be satisfied anywhere else. It will bother them until they have no choice but to search for their true home. When a person searches for the path of truth, Hashem meets them more than halfway.May 31, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm #773781simcha613Participant
The same question can be asked “if you were FFB and you had the opportunity to leave Yiddishkeit, would you?”
I imagine most of us would say no, but it could for one of at least two reasons. “I wouldn’t leave because I know I have the truth,” so for these people, if they can be convinced of the truth if they weren’t frum in the same way that they are convinced now, I imagine they would change their lives for the sake of truth.
But if the answer is “I don’t have the guts to leave” then maybe they have some serious introspection to do, and they probably wouldn’t be fazed religious Judaism to change their lives.May 31, 2011 1:23 pm at 1:23 pm #773783simcha613Participant
Health- the mitzvah could be “al ta’amod al dam rei’echa” “hochei’ach tochi’ach es amitecha” or simply “kol Yisro’el areivim zeh la(ba) zeh.”May 31, 2011 1:31 pm at 1:31 pm #773784honoluluMember
Better yet if you were told today that you were adopted and that you are not jewish what would you do- would you stay or go.May 31, 2011 1:37 pm at 1:37 pm #773785☕ DaasYochid ☕Participant
Tell me what mitzvah -making people frum falls under.
Hocheiach Tochiach Es AmisechaMay 31, 2011 1:40 pm at 1:40 pm #773786oomisParticipant
This is a good question, very appropriate as we approach kabolas HaTorah. I would like to think my answer would be yes across the board, because the innate quality of a Jew is the willingness to BE a Jew and accept the Torah. But no one can know for sure what he/she would do if not born Jewish or were brought up frei.May 31, 2011 1:42 pm at 1:42 pm #773787gavra_at_workParticipant
simcha613: Well said.
I think it really is a question of “what would you have known”? I am somewhat familiar with a number of other religions and can rightfully reject them. Had I been born a non-jew (CV), I may have had the knowledge needed to reject it!
EDITEDMay 31, 2011 1:51 pm at 1:51 pm #773788HaLeiViParticipant
ash, although your comment went up twice, mistakenly, it was worth reading again. You can clearly see that a Ger had a neshama and was destined for Yiddishkeit. Things appear to him that buzz right by all his friends.
I also noticed the phenomenon that TikkunChatzos mentioned, of a Ger having a Jewish ancestor. It seems like the Neshama gets passed down, just hidden away. The Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh says something like that in the Parsha of Dina and Sh’chem.
To those who did make the decision, was it an intellectual discovery, or an inner feeling, or a deeper pull based on both or more?May 31, 2011 1:51 pm at 1:51 pm #773789SacrilegeMember
My answer is: I Dont Know.
On the one hand I am lazy and I get very comfortable at the stage that I am on, on the other hand I am someone who seeks the truth and cant tolerate injustice/indiscretion/lies.
I am thankful to Hash-m everyday that I was born Frum and I try not to take advantage of that, and I hope never to get too comfortable so that Yiddishkeit has no meaning anymore.
I am always awed at Baalei Teshuva and their stories, I can only hope to reach their level, what they do and what theyve been through without seeking any applause or fanfare.May 31, 2011 2:06 pm at 2:06 pm #773790May 31, 2011 2:43 pm at 2:43 pm #773791twistedParticipant
This is basically an unanswerable question. In the nature/nurture divide, nature seems fixed, but really isnn’t, and nurture is full of variables. We say in the morning brachot, ” Hamechin mitzadei gaver”. Human bechira, ( the third variable) needs input, and thus our paths are cluttered with variable circumstance. When one perceives the cascade of chess moves in which his choices led him toward goodness or success, it is a opportunity to add an extra dollop of kavana and shevach to that bracha.May 31, 2011 3:12 pm at 3:12 pm #773792msseekerMember
Judging by my SN, I’d either find the Truth or go out of my mind seeking it (ch”v). I never take it for granted that I was born into a frum family. On Shavuos I’m almost ecstatic with joy and gratefulness to Hashem. This is all the more reason to appreciate BTs and gerim who sacrificed so much to be where I am.
Tikun, Ash, your stories are FASCINATING. You should write books. Can you tell us more? How did your families react? Ash, how do you feel as a black Jew? Are you well accepted? Tikun, Baruch Habah to Klal Yisrael. May your conversion go smoothly.
BSD, we FFBs have our share of nisyonos, doubts, and decisions to make. Suffering from an abusive, frum parent, I seriously doubted the truth of Torah. If not for my other parent, who knows where I’d end up… But I searched for the truth and I found it B”H, mainly through books by R’ Avigdor Miller, Uri Zohar, Akiva Tatz, etc. So yes, we can, on our own level, make a conscious decision of Naaseh Venishma.May 31, 2011 3:29 pm at 3:29 pm #773793mddMember
Health, I am not going to sit here and bring mekoros for the obvious. Ask your Rov or Rosh Yeshiva.
How can you make such sweeping smearing statements against the BTs? Never met bad FFBs?May 31, 2011 5:28 pm at 5:28 pm #773794apushatayidParticipant
I hate to say this, but if my introduction to torah jewery was the yeshiva world coffee room, I would run the opposite way. The invective routinely directed towards others is horrible.May 31, 2011 5:39 pm at 5:39 pm #773795aries2756Participant
simcha613, we all have the opportunity every day to leave of course we really can’t leave, born a jew die a jew, but we do have a yetzer harah that pulls at us every day and we do have choice so that is a great question.
So my answer is “NO” absolutely not. It is who I am, and although I get disillusioned by what I see and by the people I am supposed to trust, it is not about them it is about the Torah and my connection, emunah and bitachon in Hashem.May 31, 2011 5:40 pm at 5:40 pm #773796aries2756Participant
Mods, I knew you wouldn’t post my previous answer, but I had to vent it out and answer truthfully.May 31, 2011 5:51 pm at 5:51 pm #773797zahavasdadParticipant
<i> I hate to say this, but if my introduction to torah jewery was the yeshiva world coffee room, I would run the opposite way. The invective routinely directed towards others is horrible. <i>
This is more truth that you realize
You can find posts from the CR via google and people quote from the CR and get a very bad impressionMay 31, 2011 5:53 pm at 5:53 pm #773798Pac / ManMember
msseeker: Did you grow up Chasidish?May 31, 2011 5:54 pm at 5:54 pm #773799
“I hate to say this, but if my introduction to torah jewery was the yeshiva world coffee room, I would run the opposite way. The invective routinely directed towards others is horrible.”
I believe you are on to something. BH they only find out about the coffee room once they are fully fledged members 🙂May 31, 2011 8:12 pm at 8:12 pm #773800goldenkintMember
i think this is the wrong question. the question should be “am i thanking Hashem every day for making me a JEW WITH MY WORDS AND DEEDS. ARE MY WORDS AND DEEDS REFLECTING WHAT IT IS TO BE A FRUM JEW. AM I PERSONALLY MEKABLE TORAH NEWLY AS i MOVE AHEAD IN LIFE. NO ONE CAN KNOW WHAT THEY MIGHT HAVE DONE IN AN IMAGINARY SITUATION, BUT WE KNOW THAT WHO WE ARE IS WHO hASHEM WANTED Us TO BE , AND TAKE IT FROM THERE.May 31, 2011 8:28 pm at 8:28 pm #773801Daniel BreslauerMember
Well, I did it. And I’d do it again. I may not like everything and may not agree with everything and may not be perfect, but I know the emes and am happy and (internally!) proud to be part of it.
I don’t regard myself as anything special and very few people know of my background. Personally, I prefer not to stand out in any way and just be normal. I don’t feel I need to be proud, or that I should get any special privileges, because of my background.May 31, 2011 9:22 pm at 9:22 pm #773802observanteenMember
Wow! I feel humbled by the BTs who posted here. Tikkun, ash and Daniel – That’s truly amazing. Tikkun: Mazel Tov to your geirus!
Your inspiring stories are fascinating.
BSD: There’s a world out there which looks pretty glamorous, carefree and happy. The choice, unfortunately, IS there. After all, it’s YOUR life your leading. I didn’t research TOO much, but I did my homework. Christianity which makes absolutely no sense didn’t take to long to dissuade me. Islam which is full of hatred and blood never looked right to me, so no research (just common sense). Avoda Zara like Buddhism etc. didn’t either make any sense to me. Atheism – well, that’s a biggie. After all, leading a life without a G-d (C”V) is much simpler and easier. So I did do some research and obviously came to the conclusion that there IS a G-d and there is no other belief system that makes sense besides for Yiddishkeit.
I am grateful to Hashem that He made me FFB and that He granted us the Torah and made me realize there’s no One but Him and His Torah.May 31, 2011 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm #773804msseekerMember
Pac Man, why do you ask?May 31, 2011 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm #773805Pac-ManMember
OT: Ask what?
MS: Cause I always got the impression you are a dyed in the wool born and bred Satmar Chosid. But you’re childhood description above, coupled with your perfect English language skills, indicate perhaps otherwise.May 31, 2011 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm #773806Daniel BreslauerMember
observanteen – I never said I was a BT (draw your own conclusions).
I believe that he who forgets that he was megayer and not a BT, is the one who succeeded.
Actually, the story is that I am of Jewish background (biologically) but wasn’t 100% any more, so I started returning, made aliyah (I was under the Law of Return) and corrected things. I don’t see myself as having done anything special, I just corrected something that went wrong at some point in history. It’s no big deal for me and personally, I suppose this is the first time most people here see my background – oh well, it’s not a secret anyway – but the truth is that I never tell anyone the whole story. Being a BT is enough. Besides, we’re all BTs in a way, and aside from that, I did actually return to Am Yisroel after my family left, so it is a sort of teshuvoh – only not just teshuvoh to Daas Moshe VeYisroel but to Am Yisroel as well.
To come back to what I just said – there are those who forever stand out as being ‘geirim’. Everyone knows they are, and somehow, they always have this kind of ‘smell’ (sorry, I really don’t know how to say it). Many of them, especially the ones who come from a Christian background, are still – forever – stuck with certain dogmas from their old life and never change.
As for me, I have never in my life been to any sort of religious function of any sort other than Orthodox Jewish. Not a wedding, not a funeral, not any sort of service – not in any sort of church, and not even a Reform shul. So I guess my head is purer than that of most BTs. 🙂 Don’t want to insult anyone, I hope everyone understands what I mean. I mean to say that I never had any poison enter my mind at all – I have never known anything but being Jewish. That, also, is why I barely consider myself a BT even. It’s just completely irrelevant to me. A yid is a yid and that’s it. Enough with the labels…
(I really should go to sleep now, this isn’t making any sense.)May 31, 2011 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm #773807Sender AvMember
I am FFB and BT. Everyone should be BT. I had a lot to improve in my frumkeit besides being FFB(definition shomer Shabbas, Kashrus, mitzvos). I still needed to cut out TV(and the like), shomer negiah, start learning, better Shabbos observance, etc). If I was born in a non-frum or goyish home, Hashem did not put me in that situation so it is not important to know, but I am thank G-D growing in/with the situation he put me in.June 1, 2011 12:16 am at 12:16 am #773808ItcheSrulikMember
I hope so. I ike to think that I would recognize the truth and not be scared off by the people but I don’t know.June 1, 2011 12:37 am at 12:37 am #773809popa_bar_abbaParticipant
Statistics say I would not.
Most people who are not observant Jews do not become so.
Even most highly intelligent people. Even most well adjusted people. Especially most well adjusted people.
So I can safely assume I would not.June 1, 2011 1:21 am at 1:21 am #773810always runs with scissors fastParticipant
HaLeivi asked BT’s and Gerim a good question “To those who did make the decision, was it an intellectual discovery, or an inner feeling, or a deeper pull based on both or more? ?
I fall under these categories, so I am qualified to answer.
I had like little signs and guide posts all along the way from the time I was a kid, until I made my move back to Yiddishkeit as an adult. So it was like a feeling, or a spiritual intuitive thing. However, there were things in the goyisher velt that just didn’t sit right with me, that I KNEW deep down were wrong. FOr example, in my wild early 20’s I went into living and sharing accomodations with a Yoga Student, and one day I come in the kitchen to find a big huge stone budda statue sitting on the shelf where a microwave oven should be. So it like really irked me, and I couldn’t work around it, so I threw a tea towel over its head! THe yoga student came home, dumbfounded and couldn’t understand why I would do that.
I never thought out my return. I never weighed or accounted things. I just knew it made sense after having fasted holding myself in different yoga postures, meditating in the wild, Bowing to Allah in the middle east, and praying on Ramadan, after eating vegan and reading books on how to be enlightened. I just woke up one day and said “You know…if i was born a Jew…maybe there was a reason. Maybe G-d made me a Jew for a reason, and there are answers there. Maybe i should just go check it out”. After all I have tried everythign else, and I ought to respect the path I was born into.
And voila,,,The truth is Great!June 1, 2011 1:46 am at 1:46 am #773811farrockgrandmaParticipant
It seems that most of my generation are more religious than the way they were raised – think dress style, entertainment, mingling with the opposite gender, etc. The question is, how much of this is with deep thought and conviction, and how much are we following the crowd? I have become more deeply involved in yiddishkeit largely for the values, the traditions, the sense of history – not to mention rejecting the popular depraved culture. Some of the trends, such as ladies dressing mostly in black for a simcha, or walking into a hall through separate entrances, I do with a little less conviction.June 1, 2011 4:02 am at 4:02 am #773813charliehallParticipant
“Yes, I did”
So did I.
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