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Conversion Process Taking Too Long

Conversion Process Taking Too Long

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Question:

I have been in the midst of converting to Judaism for three years now, and the process is taking much longer than I had ever anticipated. I am willing to wait and be patient as long as I know that it is for a purpose, but all the procrastination is really getting to me!

Response:

Yes, it’s so often that way. It’s like one of those home-renovation projects that are never ever finished by the date that the contractor originally promised. Why? Because the job is always bigger than the contractor originally estimated, and there is always some unforeseen detail holding up the progress. But when those long months of homelessness end, and you move into your custom-made new home, it all becomes worth it.

That’s where you are now: Preparing a home for your new Jewish soul--and things are taking longer than they should. But remember that when the last nail is hammered in, the paint is dry and your Jewish soul settles into your new self, it will all become worthwhile.

Please feel free to reply, and have a great new year!

Yours truly,

Rabbi Menachem Posner

Rabbi Menachem Posner serves as staff editor for Chabad.org.
All names of persons and locations or other identifying features referenced in these questions have been omitted or changed to preserve the anonymity of the questioners.
© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with Chabad.org's copyright policy.
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Discussion (51)
November 24, 2016
I'm sorry my tablet added the question mark. That was not my intention.

I don't question the actions of others. We are all allowed an opinion, but it should be informed.
Helen Dudden
Bristol
November 23, 2016
Well, my sight is not good again now. I'm not a cry baby as I have double vision, medications stopped. I have put my faith in what I believe.

Hashem, I love you with all I am, I always will, blind or sighted. I know your there for me?
Helen Dudden
Bristol
November 23, 2016
Funny
A few years back I was talking with a member of the London Beis Din who mentioned that his secretary considered many of the members of my group to be "cry babies" as instead of moving forward with all engines on full they were complaining about not being able to move forward. My response was for him to send her to me and let her deal with the work that I assign and see if she is able to continue without at least some complaints. One who does not have his pedal at the metal, should not whine. One who does, may complain if the car still can't seem to get into a fast pace. But in almost all cases, it is the candidate's pace that sets the scene. The Gerus Guide tells you pretty straight forward what you need to read and how you need to study. It even has a check-list.
Rabbi Aryeh Moshen
Brooklyn, NY
November 23, 2016
the journey of Ruth
There were two plain and clear stages to Ruth's path into Judaism:
1.Ruth said to her mother-in-law: "Do not urge me to leave you, to turn back from following you(...)"
2.Boaz said to the elders, and to all the people: "(...)...I have also acquired Ruth the Moabite, the wife of Mahlon, as my wife"
What do one gathers from these words? That Ruth has not taken a conversion course, neither has she changed her name into a Jewish name, but her name became Jewish...Furthermore, Boaz refers to her after acquiring her as his wife as Ruth the Moabite, not "the convert" or you name it...(Bat Sarah, for example).
From this story, to today's Beith Din's conversion courses that last as long as it takes for someone to go infertile with age, it is a very long way. What would Ruth say? What would Boaz say, when he "wanted to settle the matter on that day"? We will never know. However, we know what Naomi said: "Would you tie yourselves down for them, not to marry anyone else? No, my daughters!".
אפרים
Jerusalem
chabadwinnipeg.org
May 28, 2015
Ruth was a convert, she was accepted and a direct line to King David.

Why did Hashem make the choice and bring Ruth into the family of Jews.

Her qualities were kindness and caring, she never left her mother in law.

These qualities are important to all of us, not just the study, but how we are.

The Jewish past had much pain and suffering, that too we should understand.
Helen Dudden
england
January 28, 2014
So Pa.
I've worked with a few dozen Gerim. At the moment I have one who is ready for Gerus and a family who is ready to meet a Beis Din. One never knows for sure, but we are not required to know for sure. We are required to do our best to prepare a potential Ger for living a life as a Jew and we are required to look at the Ger and see that s/he is prepared and willing to devote a life to Avodath Hashem.
Sometimes that takes a little more time than others. One of my best candidates appeared to come for the wrong reasons but I saw beyond the wrong reasons and he dismissed the wrong reasons and is in it for the long haul. We are not clairvoyant and therefore we have to work hard. We work ourselves as hard as we work our candidates.
Rabbi Aryeh Moshen
Brooklyn, NY
January 28, 2014
90%
I am a bit wary whenever I hear (or read) a line that a conversion candidate feels that s/he can use an excuse of 90% of the Jews not living up to the standards. We can argue the percentage but that is irrelevant. If a prospective convert wants to convert then s/he must live up to the standards that 90% of Orthodox Jews live. Not less, perhaps more.

And if someone were to think that I am anti-Ger, then s/he should check on what I do pro bono.
Rabbi Aryeh Moshen
Brooklyn, NY
January 22, 2014
Mercy indeed!
I am so sorry to read of your grueling ordeal, like those of other commenters, and I feel ashamed. I think we should be able to render a decision for most people after one year, not multiple years. If the candidate has completely rejected his/her former practice and belief, keeps kosher, is shomer Shabbos, learns earnestly, and participates regularly in Jewish communal activities including worship, classes, and observance of festivals, this person should be welcome with open arms.

May HaShem bless you and protect you among all the other sincere converts.
Anonymous
Southeastern PA
January 18, 2014
Have a little mercy..
As a person going through a conversion myself, (orthodox) I feel like certain people responding are totally insensitive to the amazing pressure and harsh spotlight a conversion "candidate" is under. Ultimately G-d is for and open to everyone. G-ds power is not condensed and handed to a certain group of hard line people to make decisions and judge people and push them to their psychological limits and to treat them like a criminal who is fighting to clear their name and prove their worthiness. Sure, a convert chooses to approach the halakhic authority in order to join the Jewish people, nobody has forced them, however that is certainly not a form of permission to saddle that person with 1001 expectations and standards that 90% of the Jewish population does not live up to. Were human, we hurt and feel the same as anyone else, we are in pursuit of the truth and acceptance- treat us accordingly and dont harass us, we want to know G-d and walk in his ways just as much as you
Anonymous
November 4, 2013
Mishnah Pesachim and conversion
Dear rabbi, thanks for your reply. I am reminded of a passage in Mishnah Pesachim, I believe, that discusses the process of clearing chametz from the house before Pesach. One rabbi frets about the possibility of an animal dragging a crumb of chametz into the newly-cleaned house. Another responds, if we worried about that, there would be no end to the matter (you could never insure perfection).

This is how your reservation reads. It is a perfectly justified, rational concern - about anyone born Jewish as well as converts. So tell me, after precisely how many years do you know with 100.0000000% certainty that the convert will never stray from the derekh?

I worry about the consequences of too many chum'roth - that we end up making bitter enemies among gentiles and Jews. Over-stringency was cited at least once in the Talmud as a contributing cause for the destruction of the Second Temple.
Anonymous
Southeastern PA