I have to admit, I’m angry. I was brought up Jewish, attended a Jewish school, and have only known Judaism as my religion. Now I’ve been told I have to convert, because my mother never formally became Jewish. Isn’t it a little unfair that all my life I was more Jewish than my friends, was even subjected to anti-Semitism, and after all that I’m told I need to convert?


I completely understand your frustration. It can’t be easy to hear that you need to convert to your own religion. But please don't take it personally. This is not a reflection of you. The entire Jewish nation went through exactly the same process.

After leaving Egypt, where they suffered as slaves and were tormented for being Jewish, the Israelites reached Mount Sinai. There they were told they had to formally accept the Torah and convert to Judaism by immersing in a mikvah.

They could’ve had the same complaint: We’ve always been Jewish, we’ve suffered terribly for it, and now we’re told we need to become Jewish?!

Indeed, they were already Jewish in the ethnic sense, but they had not yet become Jewish in the religious sense. They were born into the clan, but they had not yet committed to the mission. Only by sincerely accepting the Torah did they take on the complete Jewish identity in body and soul.

The Israelites of old had a moment of truth: Am I ready to stand before G‑d and commit myself to being Jewish? Not just for a day or a week or a year, not just for my lifetime, but for generations?

And they said yes.

The power of that moment still reverberates. All Jews alive today are descended from a mother who converted to Judaism, who took that plunge, either at Mount Sinai or sometime since.

Now you have your moment of truth. You can be culturally and ethnically Jewish, as you already are. Or you can stand at your own Sinai and say yes to G‑d.

Put aside the emotion and take this decision seriously. If you don’t go ahead, you leave things hanging for your children and theirs. But if you do it, your commitment is forever, for all generations, once and for all.


See Exodus 19:10, Maimonides Hilchot Issurei Biah 13.