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29 October 2013 @ 11:06 pm
I had a meeting with the rabbi today  
And really, I'm not entirely sure why.

I noticed I haven't used the ユダヤ教 tag in a while, which might have been a mistake, since maybe I should have chronicled my thought process for posterity. Well, what's done is done, and while I do go back and read my entries occasionally, I don't do it all that often. I also have my essay I can read if I really want to.

Hmm. Maybe I should put that up here in case I lose it.

Anyway, the meeting. If you're unaware, Judaism's conversion process is more involved that what most people think of when they think of modern religious conversion, and it requires a period of study and a formal ceremony with witnesses at the end to mark it as legitimate. Most of the last eleven months has theoretically been my "period of study," though in a pretty lose sense, because exactly what I was supposed to study was left entirely up to me. I know some people aren't fond of that approach and look for a rabbi who has a more structured curriculum, but it fit me pretty well. I got a list of books that I could read, signed up for a ton of podcasts, then went to town, and had the meeting today after the rabbi read my conversion essay, whereupon I was proclaimed ready and the wheels were set in motion to make an appointment for me to go to the mikveh.

That's the part that kind of confuses me. I mean, Rabbi Zedek has seen me at synagogue, we've spoken a few times, he read the essay that I wrote...is that it? Is that enough to determine that I am sincere, appropriately warned of the dangers, and fully knowledgeable enough to make the decision? On what basis is he determining this? It's not that I don't think I'm ready, but I'm wondering why he does. I suppose this is what puts people off about studying under him. Or maybe other people are just more interested in asking questions like that. It didn't bother me enough to actually ask him or grill him on why he made the decision, after all.

He asked me a few standard questions: whether anyone in my family would have a problem with me converting, whether I was aware that there were people who wouldn't accept my conversion as legitimate, etc. I cast it in terms of coming to terms with other people not liking me for their own reasons while I was living in Japan, which is admittedly a big part of it, but I should also point out that anyone who wouldn't recognize my conversion would also not recognize softlykarou as Jewish either, so fuck them.

The rabbi was dealing with planning for a funeral, so it's understandable that he was distracted. Nonetheless, I find it a bit odd that he didn't mention the beit din, since that's also traditionally required. I mean, he mentioned the hatafat dam brit, so you'd think that he could mention the part that he'd have to grill me for. He must have been thinking of other things. I'm also a bit surprised he didn't bring up the somewhat-tradition question about whether I was aware that I could be exposing myself and any children I may eventually have to the threat of persecution and death, because things are pretty fantastic right now, especially in America, but that's very much a historical abberation.

Well, if nothing else, I'm pretty sure I'm ready and he agrees with that. Perhaps I should count that a reasonable end.
Current Mood: optimisticoptimistic
Current Music: Torah Talk podcast
Josh: deshinfodesh on October 30th, 2013 04:15 am (UTC)
Wait, how did I miss that you're actually converting???
dorchadasdorchadas on October 30th, 2013 04:18 am (UTC)
I suspect it's because you're not psychic and I never mentioned it anywhere. :p

Edit: I had actually contemplated making this post Private and going back and changing it after the mikvah, but ended up changing my mind.

Edited at 2013-10-30 04:26 am (UTC)
Josh: deshinfodesh on October 30th, 2013 12:07 pm (UTC)
Got it. Both my memory and my LJ/DW reading habits these days are far from spotless, so I was wondering if I just missed it.

Always happy to talk about this stuff if you want. Very cool. Though it does make our amazingly-diverse dorm room circa 2002-2003 a little less so. :P
dorchadasdorchadas on October 30th, 2013 07:51 pm (UTC)
And now you know why I was listening to Taste of Torah podcast!

I actually found a bunch of Jewish podcasts, and added the one you suggested to my rotation. I skipped the Daf Yomi one I found a while back, though. One hour a day, currently on episode 360, with a massive archive? That might have to wait. :p

Edited at 2013-10-30 07:52 pm (UTC)
Josh: deshinfodesh on October 31st, 2013 01:50 am (UTC)
Yeah. Daf yomi was, until the past couple cycles, really only for the super-experienced people who had already learned their share of talmud and wanted to do it a different/faster way. Now the internet, and podcasts in particular, have made keeping up with the cycle (if not actually studying the pages of talmud directly) much easier and more accessible. But it's still not the conventional way of studying talmud, and for good reason.