Monday, July 21, 2008

Before Times

When I first decided that I needed to embark on the path towards converting, I had been learning as much as I could, in any way I knew how, via the internet. I would spend 6-7 hours/day reading information about Orthodox Judaism. I had no idea how else I could learn, but I knew I needed to find out as much as possible. I stumbled upon many different message boards, blogs, webpages, and mp3 sites. Some of them were better than others. Some of the best:
1. 613.0rg (not 316 as I had written...sometimes, I'm a bit disnumeric.)
2. simpletoremember.com
3. aish.com

I won't post sites for the worst, but I do want to describe some of them:

1. A webgroup advocating that Christians convert to Judaism only to later convert to Christianity in order to be the ultimate type of Christian. This one made me tear up. I did not, and still do not, understand the logic behind this. The site had pages of information about answering questions in certain ways in order to deceive a Beis Din into allowing a Christian to convert. This is the type of group/person/advocacy/action that makes it even more difficult for those of us who are sincere. If I were on a Beis Din and I saw this site, I would probably stop handling conversions, or I would make them even more difficult than they already are.
2. A few websites from the same Rabbi & Congregation which advertise conversions done online. I had a hard time finding out the affiliation, and at the time, I didn't realize that such a thing would almost certainly not be orthodox. I wrote to the Rabbi, feeling it would be less intimidating than my mental image of meeting with one in person, and was told I could certainly go through the classes and just needed to send a check for $500 and he would send me the materials. Thankfully, at the time I didn't have the money (I always knew being a poor student has its reasons), or else I certainly would have purchased it.
3. Websites that would apply only to the most extremely holy people, I think.

Clearly, my mind was being filled with information, but I realized that I couldn't trust most of it and that I didn't have the information or knowledge to cull the quality from the trash. I wish there were more online resources that were reliable or helpful, but I've learned the best thing to do is to immerse yourself in a warm community, find chavrusas and read. Again, I started this blog in the hopes that others in the process would find that there is at least one other person experiencing similar bumps in the road.

5 comments:

Yonah Ovadiah said...

You wrote "316.org" as a good site. Surely you mean "613.org."

Yonah Ovadiah said...

Websites are a total waste of time and will not assist you with conversion. If someone hasn't told you already, you should spend a lot of time with the Mishna Berura, Mishne Torah, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, Shulchan Aruch HaRav, Shaarei Halacha, or some other equivalent that gives you a feel as to an overview of halacha (with the caveat that depending on the date of the work some things have changed, consult your LOR, yadda yadda).

Carmen said...

A few quick comments:

1) I am also a convert, and am going to try and read your blog more often and provide some moral support. It really helped me when others did the same.

2) I suggest creating another e-mail account for your anonymous identity, and publishing it on the blog so people can e-mail you.

3) Your technorati links lead to a site with a name...if that's really you, you're defeating your anonymousness, and if it's not you, that person might be surprised. :)

Anonymous said...

There is a book recently published about the Chareidi view on Orthodox Judaism.

The author just opened a related blog and the most recent post is a very interesting overview on the Chareidi view on conversion.

Click here to see it.

Sammy Davis Jr. said...

You might also like to read "A Restatement of Rabbinic Civil Law"
by Emanuel B. Quint.