Nephew’s JW Fiancée Begins Conversion to Judaism Due to Passover Date

by Rabbi Midge 60 Replies latest jw experiences

  • Rabbi Midge
    Rabbi Midge
    For all the talk about Jews not proselytizing I can't help but feel like this thread is an effort to do just that. It feels very preachy to me.


    Proselytizing is an effort not to inform another person, but tell them that they are wrong with God and they they need to change their current ways, including their observances and way of life in order to gain God's favor (usually salvation).

    The one who proselytizes also generally believes they belong to a group or organization that is chosen by God to do this work, unique, exclusive, and that if people do not join the group they will perish.

    Proselytizing destroys cultures because it also destroys the way people dress, observe their holy days, worship, their art, culture, music, food, etc. which is often tied in with these very same things.

    Most people from Western/Christian culture don't recognize proselytizing because they have engaged in it or are engaged in it and don't know it. Every time you tell a person to stop engaging in their religious culture, you are destroying their culture. This is why Jews are against proselytization.

    Now I am not telling you that I have the true religion because I don't believe that anyone has the true religion. I don't believe Jews are the chosen people of God.

    I don't believe that God is a spirit person in heaven that listens to prayers and grants them and that if you don't join the Jews that you will be destroyed.

    And I don't have any views on the afterlife that I can share with you because I don't know if there is an afterlife.

    I have nothing to offer you.

    If you can tell me what you think proselytizing is, perhaps I can better understand where you are coming from, but I am not trying to get you to join my culture. Why would you want to be a Jew? What benefit do I have in trying to make you one? We have no teaching on salvation. We are not told that we must go out and make disciples.

    I find this interesting. Why do you feel like you are being proselytized?

  • Rabbi Midge
    Rabbi Midge
    Some people may well benefit from the community and structure that your sect of the jewish cult provides.


    If Judaism is truly a cult as you write, then I would worry more about the person who writes that people may well benefit from cults than people who are born into them through no fault of their own like myself.

  • Listener

    You can't just become a Jew without having some level of belief, ideas or customs, otherwise I could call myself a Jew. All I was saying is that she may find she does not want to believe in some aspect and choose not to be Jewish.

    For instance, you say that she stopped being a JW because she accepted the Jewish calculations. She may later decide that she no longer accepts this and believes the JWs have it right and return to being a JW. Or it may be too hard for her to deal with the shunning from her own family and return to the JWs. It doesn't matter if you tell me that she doesn't have to accept the Jewish calculation or not in order to be a Jew, in her own mind, it may be an important issue to her.

    You later explain why she wants to become a Jew. The point is, she may decide these are not valid reasons. Her husband might decide to become a Mormon and she's happy to go along with that to keep family peace.

    So tread lightly before you start speaking about what this woman is doing. She is joining is new culture because she is marrying a Jew and they plan to start a family. She wants to be a part of a culture to raise her children in it. She may end up being an atheist, but she wants to raise her children in such a culture that will allow her children to be free and safe to do the same. The Jehovah's Witness culture won't allow for that, but ours, the Jewish culture will. She understands that. She is studying who we are, but not like Listener has mistakenly come to the conclusion of adopting some central set of beliefs--of which there are none.

    Again, it doesn't matter if she has to accept a central set of beliefs or not, whatever it is that you are feeding her, she simply may choose not to accept it.

    You may think that being a Jew is simply the best and you appear to be tickled pink that this young lady is no longer a JW. You said initially that it was because she realised the date for the memorial was wrong. There are ex JWs that do return because the religion has a strong hold on individuals. It may happen at any time, just as easily as she stopped being a JW, she may return. It can result in a great deal of unhappiness within a marriage.

  • Rabbi Midge
    Rabbi Midge


    You are not correct.

    You can't just become a Jew without having some level of belief, ideas or customs, otherwise I could call myself a Jew. All I was saying is that she may find she does not want to believe in some aspect and choose not to be Jewish.

    Judaism is not like this at all. Judaism is not based on what you believe but on who you are and what you do.

    It is based on lineage and what you do. Not what you believe.

    Her husband to be, my nephew, is Israeli like me. He is of Hebrew lineage, like myself. We are thus Jews, regardless of what we believe. We are keeping our culture alive because many people have tried to destroy it.

    It is a rich culture based, not on the Bible or on the God of Abraham, but on much, much more. You're just talking religion. Judaism is much more than a religion. It is art, it is culture, it is food, it is secular, it is Zionism, it is humanism, it is literature, it is gay right marches, and yes, there is an ancient and very, very old religion that is also a part of it that we still practice and keep alive.

    But despite the fact that the stories of the religious part of the Jews (again this is just a part of who we are) aren't history in the genuine sense, we aren't letting it die. It's still a part of us. You may come from a different world where religion is not tied to your lineage and culture. Your people may not have fought to keep it alive during the Spanish Inquisition and the Holocaust like we have. My people have struggled through pogroms and mob violence and generations of anti-Semitism and today posts of Internet hatred against our culture, people, and religion--and we are not going to let go of any of it.

    We have something very ancient that you don't possess that we do that we feel is worth fighting for, holding on to, and passing down.

    It's not religion like Christianity, and Jehovah's Witnesses, and Mormonism. It's something we are born into. It's a culture, it's a people, it's a tribe, it's a nation. If you think you can minimize the Jews to just a religion, then think again. We are so much more.

  • Rabbi Midge
    Rabbi Midge

    Well, since apparently it will make most feel better if I don't speak further a word of religion, especially Jewish religion, I will not post further.

  • zeb


    thank you for this most interesting input. Consider me a friend, pm me anytime.


  • TD

    I was enjoying the topic. Some of us do understand the distinction between ethnicity and religion

  • Listener
    Judaism is not like this at all. Judaism is not based on what you believe but on who you are and what you do

    What you just wrote is a belief right there.

    Why do you think MOST posters are feeling bad from what you are writing?

  • Slow Burn
    Slow Burn

    Strange thread

  • gone for good
    gone for good

    Rabbi Midge

    Welcome back!

    The few who´ve posted by no means represent "most" on this forum. I find what you say about cultures complexity, history, scripture, philosophies and values to be, fascinating and refreshing.

    Sorry that your interesting story within your expanding family meets with such suspicion and vitriol by a few here. It´s a fascinating turn of events for everyone including the JWs involved.

    PLEASE share MORE of your explanations and viewpoints .

Share this