During my own conversion into the world of Judaism, I realized that very little guidance was available to those hoping to convert.
I found myself bewildered by books explaining Jewish traditions, constantly asking myself ‘why do they do that?’ or ‘where would I buy one of those?’. Soon I became so helpless I came close to giving up to Atheism.
Basics of one’s conversion to Judaism
But I found all I needed with the help of a dedicated rabbi and a tolerating cast of Jewish characters at my local synagogue. I found these points to be the basis of one’s conversion to Judaism:
1. The question ‘why?’ needs to be obliterated by historical studies.
Before looking at traditions from a logical standpoint, try reading about Jewish history, and become swept away in the magic of knowing that people just like you did these same things thousands of years ago, therefore justifying the strangeness of it.
2. Don’t try to make yourself feel guilty when you forget certain things are non-Kosher and eat them.
Don’t feel the need to pray relentlessly and feel like you will never be a good Jew after all.
Everyone makes mistakes, G-d knows that; it takes lots of training for shrimp or bacon cheeseburgers to immediately register as non-Kosher.
3. Try not to feel like you need to be Jewish to the extreme of Orthodox to prove you want to be a good Jew.
Avoiding light switches, hammers, matches, and motor vehicles after the third star of sabbath won’t prove this point. Spirituality is a personal experience, find your point of comfort with it. Trying to achieve extremes will only make you want to give up.
4. Use websites such as Amazon or eBay to find the basics.
Basics should include: a Torah, a Talmud, Sabbath candles sticks and items for the sabbath dinner, a yamaka and prayer shawl if you are male, a menorah and other items to celebrate holidays, and an array of books by Jewish authors examining the history of the religion.
5. Be proud to be Jewish.
You don’t have to feel as if you ‘aren’t really’ a Jew because you may not be ethical. Wear signs of Judaica and welcome any questions about your faith from gentiles with enthusiastic, factual answers.
6. Lastly, get involved in your Jewish community.
Judaism is a religion that focuses on the life of the community, being part of it is fundamental to being Jewish. Welcome your Jewish neighbors as if your own family and feel the unity shared by Jews around the world.