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Complete ignorance concerning Judaism

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Jennifer RachaelAnn:
I enjoy religious study as a minor hobby. And while I think I know one or two minor things about Judaism, I am far from saying flat out that I know anything about it. Many things are minor (kosher eating), while others are major (Yom Kippur). I don't even know if I spelled that right. Hope I did. I don't want to offend anyone with my ignorance.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, would someone be willing (here, PM, e-mail, etc.) to help me understand things so I can say I have the privilege of making an informed opinion?

Now as for opinions, I'm not going to go on a long tirade, but in a nutshell, because of what the Jews have had to go thru in their history, and the fact that they still remain where others have long disappeared, I admire Jews. Also I have never met a Jewish person who wasn't all around a sweet person. Granted no system is perfect and there are always millions of jerks in it, but I personally haven't met one. That may in part be due to the fact that there is only one Synagogue where I'm at and it's not a very big one.

But like the things I mentioned. Kosher eating. Why do the Jews not eat pork? I think it has something to do with something in the bible, but I don't know. Also why do you not mix meat with dairy? Personally I love bacon cheeseburgers. But from what I understand, that is a big no-no in the Jewish community. Possibly VERY offensive to the Hasidic community.

Holidays. I have  vague understanding of Hanukkah but not a lot of knowledge of it. And I have no clue what Yom Kippur is. Again, I don't know if I even spelled that right.

And there are probably a billion other things that I don't even know OF let alone about. So if anyone is willing can you help out? I like to know what people believe in, and in some cases why.

Something else I'm curious about what are the feelings toward converts? It's my understanding that this is a hot button issue in Israel, but in general...?

As I said before, complete 100% ignorance here, just wanting to learn.

Jennifer RachaelAnn

V M:
Can't say I really understand much about the religion either, but I've had a few Jewish friends over the years, some of them even lived on a Kibbutz (Gathering) in Israel

A bit of a unique culture with a few different ideals than I was use to, but I wasn't all too bothered by it as most seemed to be nice folks who wanted share and get along with others

Like any religion there seems to be some folks who were hardliners and others who were more open and would include gentiles (as I was refereed to) in their prayers

I went to cafe's and bagel shops for years to get a bagel of some sort, ignorantly not knowing it was a Jewish bread thing

Even the places owned by Jewish folks were happy to add bacon to my breakfast bagel if I wished

The only religions I have a problem with are those who are actively out to commit murder


Like most things, you can google all that information in minutes.

The Jewish eating customs you mentioned are from the Torah, Old Testament laws, which are also in the Christian Bible, although most Christians seldom read it.

Why pork is banned; certain kinds of meat were unclean to Jews. From Leviticus 11:6-7, NKJV. “the hare, because it chews the cud but does not have cloven hooves, is unclean to you; and the swine, though it divides the hoof, having cloven hooves, yet does not chew the cud, is unclean to you.”

Rule for keeping dairy and meat separate comes from this law in Exodus 23:19  “You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.”

Information on Hanakkah

Information on Yom Kippur

Wall of text incoming. I'm a Christian, but I've mostly dated Jewish women in the past so I'm very familiar.

Jews are bound by the laws of the Old Testament/Torah/etc. Their covenant with God basically says they are saved so long as they continue to honor those laws. So that would include things like keeping kosher.

There are so many Jewish holidays I couldn't possibly list/explain them all here. The main Wikipedia article here can get you to just about anything you might want to know:

Judaism as a whole is open to converts. BUT, you have 3 main branches of Judaism who view Jewishness and conversion very differently and may not honor the conversion of other branches.

Reform Judaism is the most liberal. They have introduction to Judaism courses that typically take 5-6 months to complete. The individual rabbi you're working with would decide if any of the conversion laws need to be followed in your case. This could include a mikveh (immersion (think baptism)) or a brit milah (circumcision). It is the easiest conversion process to go through to become a Jew, but it is largely not recognized by Conservative congregations and never recognized by Orthodox congregations.

Conservative Judaism is the middle ground between Reform and Orthodox. They largely follow most of the old laws, but have adapted some to modern times as long as those changes are supported by rabbis (such as being able to drive a car on the Sabbath). The conversion classes are the same as Reform. The mikveh and brit milah are required, as is a beit din (tribunal of 3 conservative rabbis) where the goal is to determine if you are ready to convert. A Conservative conversion would usually be recognized by a Reform congregation, but not necessarily by an Orthodox one.

Under Orthodoxy, there are no official courses for conversion. You would need to seek out an individual rabbi who would be willing to provide you with instruction for a period of time to prepare you to follow Jewish laws. You'd then undergo the same three ritual experiences as a Conservative convert, though these would be presided over by Orthodox rabbis. Orthodox rabbis/congregations do not recognize conversion unless it is an Orthodox conversion.

The issue with conversion and Israel is related to the right of return. This basically says that all Jews throughout the world have a right to return to Israel and become Israeli citizens. It applies specifically to individuals with maternal Jewish lineage, Jewish ancestry, and converts. The law recognizes converts of all branches, but like I said above, Orthodox Jews don't recognize Reform or Conservative converts as Jews. So they don't feel that these individuals should be allowed to repatriate to Israel.

Excellent post, FTMAX.  My wife and children are Reform and they only keep kosher during passover (pesach), which started last night.  Thee do welcome converts, as my father-in-law converted.  They were all right with our marriage as I promised to raise the children Jewish.  My some just had his Bar Mitzvah and they both attend Hebrew school regularly.  I also live bear one of ther largest orthodox communities outside of New York City.  My cousin (by marriage) is orthodox and it is an entirely different animalevels.

If you have specific questions, you can pm me.


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