How Do You Convert To Judaism If You Are Painfully Shy?

When you convert to Judaism, you not only are converting to a religion and to a way of life, you are converting to a specific people with strong genetic ties to each other.

The single most important challenge in converting to Judaism is learning to connect with the Jewish people.

Now what if you are painfully shy? No Beit Din (Jewish law court) is going to convert you to Judaism unless you join a particular Jewish community, have a sponsoring rabbi, and live within walking distance of your shul (if you are going for an Orthodox conversion).

What are some baby steps in for the painfully shy?

* Get therapy to learn to deal with your shyness. If you don’t have many friends, that’s a big flashing red light that something is terribly wrong with your life and for 99% of people, God won’t be enough to fill that hole. You have to learn to connect with particular people and to make friends. This requires skills that are best addressed outside of Torah text. This requires deep, continuous and ongoing over years therapy.

* The bigger the synagogue, the easier it might be for the painfully shy would-be convert because people will likely pay less attention to you and you can get lost in the crowd.

* Join a 12-step group to learn to deal with your emotions, such as Al Anon or Emotions Anonymous or one suited to your addictions.

* Dennis Prager says that whenever I hear, “I’m a private person”, I immediately translate, “I don’t trust people.”

* Join Facebook and join Jewish groups online suited to your particular interests. There are a lot of people like you out there and you can find them online and their support groups if you look.

* There are lots of Jewish activities. Are there any group activities such as hiking or yoga or book club etc you might enjoy? Look them up online if so. Meetup groups etc.

* If you write well, you might start an anonymous blog on blogger about your Jewish journey. It could be a good way to meet people.

* Look for online support groups for converts to Judaism. You might find more support from other seekers who haven’t yet finished their conversion process. Once you finish the process, you might want to have nothing to do with conversion. It might be too painful. You might just want to move on.

About Luke Ford

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