Converting To Orthodox Judaism Is Hard

How come a lot of people — maybe most people — don’t find converting to Orthodox Judaism more difficult than getting an AA degree from a community college? I think it depends a lot on a person’s temperament. You can take the process as a tremendous burden or you can enjoy it. It’s up to you.


It’s awful that my life is on hold for 2 years. That I can’t date. That I can’t move. That I can’t be a part of my old community but I am not allowed to really be a part of the one I am in (though I’m told I need to be in order to finish the conversion). I can’t even travel as much as I’d like because I need to be “around” for shabbos.

It sucks to have to explain to everyone new that I meet that I am converting and why. It sucks to hear everyone tells me that I’m crazy. Yes, they actually say that. Over and over I hear that. It gets old after a while.

It irks me to be asked to donate money to the shul. Sure, I’ve been attending for a few years now. But its not my problem they won’t let me be a member. I’d be happy to pay dues, volunteer, sponsor a kuddush… But don’t ask me to give money to a group that doesn’t want me yet.

Yet. That’s the real kicker. They are going to finish this conversion eventually. I’ve even been given a timeline (we are down to just a few months now). So what are they waiting for? For me to put on a pair of jeans and eat a cheeseburger? Already happened! For me to tell them how much I hate everything about them and this process? Already happened. And after all that, they said “We want you. You are special and would make an amazing addition to this community”. So, what are you waiting for.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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