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I very much want to be Jewish but there is no synagogue near me.

Discussion in 'Reform DIR' started by Books&Tea, Apr 6, 2017.

  1. Books&Tea

    Books&Tea New Member

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    Raised Catholic -- looking to convert to Judaism
    I fell in love with Judaism a bit over a year ago. I also learned that we may have had Jewish relatives in my family tree (most of the relatives who would know for sure are now dead, though). Since that time I have been reading about Judaism, watching documentaries, and basically just devouring any information I can. I've also been attempting to self-teach Hebrew (although this has been difficult and I'm considering enrolling in classes). I live in a very small rural town with no Jewish community. There are a few Jewish individuals living in town but there is not synagogue or Jewish community center. The closest synagogue is almost five hours away.

    Is there any hope of me converting if I can study online, speak with a Rabbi, and attend services via internet? I know some temples live-stream their services. I realize this question may seem really ignorant and I hope nobody is offended. It is not possible for me to move at the moment due to family and work obligations. I would like to be able to take part in the Jewish community and temple services when I am in the downstate area.

    Thank you for your advice and understanding.
     
  2. Shem Ben Noah

    Shem Ben Noah INACTIVE

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    I'm a rural convert, but I was not rural when I had my conversion. Conversions. Yes, plural. Long story.

    Much depends on the branch of Judaism. Orthodox? I'd say no. My sponsoring Rabbi didn't even approve of me driving 3 hours into the city to my shared Shabbat apartment. Insisted I move. But that's another story. BTW, I was also born Catholic. Became a 7th Day Adventists for many years as a temporary measure, as my family (eventually) disowned me for converting. So many issues, How is your family with this?

    See, I lost everything. Family. Friends. Job.

    Where I am now, is in a 'Brexit' situation. Also a long story, a cautionary tale.
     
  3. rosends

    rosends Well-Known Member

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    Judaism is, in one important sense, a communal religion. As such, part of conversion is placing yourself in a community of like minded and like practicing people. I can't imagine an Orthodox rabbi doing anything but the most rudimentary steps with someone who is isolated from a strong Jewish communal presence.
     
  4. Flankerl

    Flankerl Well-Known Member

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    Hi

    That's usually a good idea with every language. ;)

    Anyway as was previously mentioned being a religious Jew is a communal thing. So you'd need a community to be part of.

    If you somewhat know where you may live in the future you could try to call/write/....... a Rabbi there and explain your situation. While the conversion process wouldn't start maybe he could give various book recommendations about Judaism (which we could also give btw) and some general advice for your situation.

    For the time being (which I know isn't what you want to hear) you could live as a Bnei Noah and observe the 7 laws.

    Note: If you plan to observe Shabbat (like (aspiring) Converts usually want to) be advised that non-Jews generally aren't allowed to fully observe it. Basically break a few "do not" during Shabbat and that's it.


    Also no idea why you'd think anyone would be offended by your friendly post.


    Take care
     
    #4 Flankerl, Apr 7, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2017
  5. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
    Premium Member

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    First and foremost: your questions are not at all ignorant and you offend no one.

    The very first thing you must understand about the process is: two Jews, three opinions. Do not be overly concerned by conflicting opinions. That said, I would strongly encourage you to contact a Reform rabbi relatively near you. Perhaps you could arrange a fun, extended weekend which would allow attending the Friday evening Shabbat service, talking with the rabbi, and enjoying the 'city' pending your drive home. (It's hard to know without a better sense of where you live. If and when you're comfortable with the idea, please feel free to message me.)

    You might also wish to familiarize yourself with URJ.org.

    Shabbat shalom! :)
     
  6. Tarheeler

    Tarheeler Argumentative Curmudgeon
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    I have ran across a few "distance" conversion programs, but I don't know how well they're received by most rabbis. I don't see the Orthodox or Conservative movement's being supportive of something like that.

    https://darshanyeshiva.org/conversion-about/
     
  7. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    Perhaps, but note that @Books&Tea chose to post in the Reform DIR so that might not be an issue.
     
  8. Tarheeler

    Tarheeler Argumentative Curmudgeon
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    That is true, but I don't know enough about the movement to offer an opinion.

    Shabbat shalom, Jay.
     
  9. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    Shabbat shalom, my friend.
     
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