Author Topic: Converting to Judaism ?  (Read 10167 times)

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Offline ALBdegas

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Converting to Judaism ?
« on: December 08, 2010, 09:36:22 pm »
Recently I have been thinking about converting to Judaism more and more and I just think this would more or so be the right decision for me.  I've been researching Judaism and the sect I was mostly interested in was Reform.

But my main issue was more or so me being FTM trans. I've read up some stuff about lesbians and gays being accepted, but thats about it..

So my main question is, is it possible for me to convert to reform judaism ?

Stephanie.Izann

Re: Converting to Judaism ?
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2010, 10:29:24 pm »
 I was raised Jewish by a mother that converted to Judaism. I got to see her perspective on things, as well as experience the faith from my own perspective. My father was "HEEB" too. I went on a spiritual journey later in life only to come back to my faith...but this time it was a choice and not any thing else.

My minor was in World Religions. I had the pleasure of praying with my Moslem friends, I was heavily into Buddhism (even shaved the head),I have a few friends that are Pagan,I lived and briefly married a born again Christian, some of my family are very Catholic...anyway, you get the idea. I've looked high and low and have enjoyed the journey only to come back to my original Faith. It took a Buddhist nun to show me that path (but that is another story).

Now, do I believe that mine is the only faith?-no. Do I think we all share certain similarities? Sure. Religion is like a vehicle and the map is the book it follows (or the WORD). It's a man made thing; if I can be so bold to express my own opinion.

Not everyone likes to drive stick shift. Some prefer automatics...that is the way I see religion. It's also a very personal thing as you have discovered. If being Jewish is best for you (you like that car?), then go for it. 

We also believe that there is a purpose for everyone...even those of other faiths. To place ourselves above anyone just wouldn't be right. But does that happen? - Of course, there are a few bad Matzo balls out there making it hard on us nice Jews!

Answering your question, YES, Trans Men and Trans Women are indeed accepted in the faith as a whole. As you dive deeper into the different MOVEMENTS (we use that term instead of Sects), you'll find the the fine print may make you veer one way or another, depending on what you are really seeking.  Even within the same movements there are variations.

We understand what Tolerance is all about, and that seems to permeate into our teachings about life and how we relate to one another.

The Conservative Movement was actually the first to ordain a woman (yep, you heard right Conservative). The more liberal movements like Reform and Reconstructionist have Females, Trans Men, and gay/Lesbian as Rabbis. It's not about the shell of the person...it's about the soul...what's inside of you. And that's where you have started right? If you feel that Judaism is right for you and it "works" for your soul, then go for it (although, traditionally we should turn you down around 4 times...LOL).

Jews do not proselytize. It goes against our faith. In fact we do not even have a word for "CONVERT"! It can be a long process too depending on what route you take. We do this so that you make absolutely sure, this is what you really want and need. 
I mean, it's not easy being persecuted through out our history.  Yeah, sure the HOLOCAUST, but there were many before that was even a though in Hitlers mind.

There is a beauty in all faiths in my eyes. And at the same time a darkness that can also come from it for those that chose to twist it. Do I believe that we need religion? Honestly, I'm not sure. I know there is a little compartment that many of us need to fill. It works for me. I may not always agree with all of it, but "I GET IT" and in some way, I feel "IT GETS ME".
The cultural and traditional aspect really fascinates me too.

So, if you want to join only 1.8 percent of this world (yep, you read right), then more power to you.  ;)

I know I've written a book here, so I apologize for that.  I found myself taken over by my fingers.

If you have any questions I would be more than happy to answer them or point you to the right source.

The Tribe awaits.

SHALOM!

Stephie


Offline ALBdegas

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Re: Converting to Judaism ?
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2010, 11:28:34 pm »
Yeah, I heard about the turning down part. LOL. Thank you for answering my question ! I love how you put it out in a very detailed and organized manner, you may have given me a book, but you surely answered my alot of my questions.

I read that the reason they turn you down is to test sincerity and to see how serious you are about Judaism. I also read up about having to take classes, and depending on which road you take, it could take anywhere from 1 to 1 1/2 years to 3 or 4 years(Correct me if I am wrong about what I just said!) I am just trying to get as much information in my head as possible.

But I do have one question though, is there anything more about Judaism that I should know ? kippahs ? I would be happy to hear ! :)

Offline sarahla

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Re: Converting to Judaism ?
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2010, 12:08:47 am »
I would not call the Reform movement a sect, but rather they are "the" Jewish people and then there is the conservative side, which is a bit stricter and less trans friendly, although they are coming around.

I am curious if Jewish people should have vote and drum the Orthodox and the Ultra Orthodox out of Judaism.  Hmm.  They are homophobic, transphobic, hypocrites, and want to impose their views on everyone else, such as the recent push by the Orthodox / Ultra Orthodox to make non-Orthodox conversions null and void (this past summer) and their desire that only Orthodox conversions warrant a right of return.  They want to impose their view on everything.

In Santa Monica, CA, they do not call "Santa Monica" the official name of the city, Santa Monica, but rather "Simcha Monica" because they do not recognize the word Santa or Saint, so they are okay with making a mockery of names and have no issue with not showing respect.  They do insist that others do show respect, though.

The Reform Movement has come a long way, but it still has a long way to go, especially in accepting transsexuals.  I asked my rabbi recently about proof that <not allowed> is okay in Judaism.  He punted and said that he has no time for the question and that I should go to TransFaithOnline.org.

Judaism is a nice religion, as far as religions go, but they have a long way to go.  I am being accepted into the Sisterhood, so that is a nice thing, so there is hope.

--------------

check out:

http://www.transfaithonline.org/more_resources/jewish_index

The answer to your question is ABSOLUTELY YES.

Although I am growing an active dislike for Rabbi Reuben Zellman for being a hypocrite, he is an FTM rabbi recently ordained and given a perish.

http://www.bethelberkeley.org/

There is a temple in West Hollywood that is devoted to the LGBT community.  I have been to synagogues and converting and being LGBT are two vastly unrelated things in the reform movement.  They have no connection now whatsoever, so no worries.

If you contact Rabbi Zellman, I would call him, not email him.

Offline tekla

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Re: Converting to Judaism ?
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2010, 12:24:49 am »
We understand what Tolerance is all about, and that seems to permeate into our teachings about life and how we relate to one another.


I am curious if Jewish people should have vote and drum the Orthodox and the Ultra Orthodox out of Judaism.

So much for that advanced sense of tolerance.
FIGHT APATHY!, or don't...

Offline sarahla

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Re: Converting to Judaism ?
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2010, 01:22:50 am »
I am all for tolerance and the advanced sense of tolerance, but the Orthodox are anti-tolerant and just use that word.  They practice discrimination and hatred.  They advocate corrective therapy for transsexuals, who come out in their community (Canada, last year to a teen).

I personally have seen their hatred cast at me.  They use people, lie, and do not honor commitments unless forced.  I am not even making that up.  I can go into details but will not.  Let me just say that in this past year and a half of having Chabad next door and even closer, I have gotten to know them.

If I sound in tolerant, it is a learnt behavior.  In this past two years, if we toss in Europe, I have been insulted, rudely treated, shown anti-respect, and more.  I have had perverse behavior shoved down me with strong words.  I am a very calm and previous to two years ago, Orthodox to me was watching one of my favorite films, Fiddler on the Roof.

I am only dishing out what they dish.  If the Orthodox wants me to change my mind, they are welcome to start being tolerant, nice, and apologize.

By the way, Simcha Monica is personally offensive.  Upon mentioning that to them, Simcha Monica.

Is sending a teen to corrective therapy tolerant just because he came out as trans?

Lastly, they keep saying "All Jews accept all Jews, and that all Jews are welcome."  That is a laugh.  The rabbi at my temple earlier this year got all bent out of shape and started a letter writing campaign, because the Orthodox wanted to nullify all conversions made at reform temples.

They are teaching me to fight back and stand up for myself.  I object to having to have to stand up for myself.

Offline sarahla

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Re: Converting to Judaism ?
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2010, 01:41:37 am »
There is precedence for the position.  There is another "sect" in Judaism, called "Jews for Jesus".  They have at least two perishes here in Los Angeles and probably they are elsewhere too, so not that small.

I asked my rabbi about them and his response was "They are not Jewish.  They are a Christian" cult.  Hmm.  That is real tolerant and accepting.  One Jew can cast out another Jew just because they are different.  Hmm.  Okay, why not.

Now, if you ask me, if the Jews for Jesus consider themselves Jewish, then why not.

Jewish people are just people with the same faults as everyone else.

-------------

I found the following out a few days ago.  Did you know that the Orthodox require the following every morning:

Men:  Thank you G-d that I was not born a woman.

Women:  Thank you G-d that I was not born a slave.

That is real advanced behavior.  Thank you G-d that I was not born a woman.

Stephanie.Izann

Re: Converting to Judaism ?
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2010, 03:17:51 pm »
You'll find that each Temple and/or Congregation, has their own unique way of interpreting what THEY feel is Jewish thinking in regards to Transsexuals.  This is true for most congregations, that is one of the reasons we have soooo many Temples/Congregations within walking distance of each other. We love to disagree with each other too. In fact, it's okay to question such things within the faith and they SHOULD leave it up to you to decide what is best for you.And remember just 'cause he's a RABBI doesn't mean you have to like him or her.

In response to the "JEWS FOR JESUS" comment...

I believe (me personally) that I do not have the right to tell ANYONE what they should believe in since it is written we that we ALL have a purpose on this planet. In regards to the beliefs of JFJ the Orthodox and some of the more liberal movements feel it does NOT correlate with the teaching in the Torah. Again, I'm not saying that THEY are wrong or right, I am simply saying that their facts do not correlate with what most Rabbis see as Hebrew thought.

I have actually attended many Messianic Jewish JFJ services, and found that they were extremely beautiful and enriching. I have a very good friend who is a JFJ. He always asked me if I'm ready to be saved.  I always reply, "Why should I be saved when G-d got it right the first time around?" (it's a little joke we say each time we see each other). We have decided to respect our differences although he continues to pray for my salvation. I love the guy either way.

 
JFJ actually got started back in the 60's by a BAPTIST group. In an effort to "SAVE" the Jews from hell. They have a need to convert the Jews into following Jesus and thats where most of the anger begins in the Orthodox and other movements.   But it is in my opinion, that many Religions started from Cults in the first place and only after many years or even a few thousand they became what they are now. Judaism was considered a cult too. Surprised?

So when a Rabbi says "They aren't Jewish" there's a lot more going on than those 3 words. Meaning, that either you are a Christian because you believe in Christ or you are Jewish because you do not believe he was the Messiah. Remember, that there were many men (claiming to be or think they were) Messiahs in Jewish history before him, and many after, but he's the one that won the race for that title among most of the world.

 The Orthodox believe that imitating Jewish Culture does not make you Jewish. You also have to remember that again; we are only 1.8 percent of the world.  That's not a lot.  Throughout time we have been continuously persecuted over and over and over again. So being a Rabbi, he had the duty of making sure you wouldn't "slide to the other side". I'm not saying that they are not Jewish, I'm saying that he does not see them this way for a strong reason.

In regards to the RABBI not wanting to chat about certain things...well, maybe (like most people in general) he's simply uncomfortable  or just ignorant. I know that my Rabbi tries really hard to make us all understand as much as we can but we don't have the 10 to 15 years of training they have. But here's the other thing.  RABBI's can be <not allowed>! And many I have met truly are! LOL  Again, most Temples/Congregations have their own agendas that are typically free of any huge organization.  I remember the Rabbi that Bar-Mitzvah'd me was a jerk. I was raised in the Conservative setting, and it was pure hell.  Eventually the whole congregation got together and voted him out! FINITO! DONE!

As I said every Temple/Congregation has it's own way, with it's own Rabbi directing it.  You can go to many Congregations within the same MOVEMENT and find there are a lot of differences in thought.  Anyone for Temple hopping?

Now, in regards to the more liberal MOVEMENTS like Reconstructionism and Reform. Again, it all depends on the Temple.  There was recently a handsome Trans Man that was ordained as a RABBI.  It made all the Liberal Jewish Magazines, and no one disputed this.  Most wrote in to congratulate the new Rabbi. I find that these Movements are a little easier to deal with and they tend to be more open minded with our Trans community.  My female RABBI married my wife and I. My wife is NOT Jewish. She only recently decided to become Jewish. Again, we do not push our faith on anyone.  She did this on her own.  It was actually a surprise.

I am a Reconstructionist myself. The "RECON" prayer book does praise the women highly in the bible. In fact, they go as far as adding them to the prayers..." In the name of Abraham, Issac, Jacob, Sarah, ...."and so on.  They do not have a gender specific G-D either.  Because they do not believe that G-d is either one.  To borrow from Star Wars (my favorite movie..LOL)-It's like the FORCE.  It surrounds you, and binds the Galaxy. It's like you are tapping into it, rather than worshipping it. They also do not believe that anyone has the right to tell you how to live your life. And that Judaism should continue to evolve with the times rather than stay in the mentality of past generations. 
We even have some Atheists at our Temple that found comfort (without prejudice or judgement) there simply because they wanted to continue the cultural and traditional aspect of Judaism.  And in a recent Torah study, the Rabbi praised the early Pagans for giving us a few of their own traditions (which we made our own), like Passover! So you can just imagine how much the Orthodox Jews love us (I'm being sarcastic here).
We've even participated with a Mosque nearby in raising funds to get a Moslem political writer out of jail in Iran. We have even joined services with them! How's that for perspective and tolerance?!?
 
As far as people finding certain names offensive like Santa Monica and saying SIMCHA Monica...

Yep, those are the Orthodox for ya.  They find it offensive too. Meaning, they feel as though they are being forced to say something (Like SAINT) that counters their own religio-philosophy.  This is primarily because throughout history we have been forced to follow the dictations of other faiths and put our own aside.  It's their way of saying, "I'm not giving in!"  They would rather take a Jewish (Orthodox) perspective than a Christian one. They; as a whole, are worried that the Jewish people are dwindling and want to make sure that we take pride in our faith, rather than give in to others and forgetting who we are.  Again, I'm not saying that I completely agree with them.  So rather than being totally disgusted with them, I try to make them understand my perspective...and they actually have listened to me. I've never been cut down and insulted by them, in fact, they find it fascinating (being Trans).

You'll also find that a lot of the texts in the bible do not apply to the more modern Movements.  They are dated and unrealistic. Again, using the car analogy... I can't go very far in an old Ford Model T.  I prefer the more modern SUV over it.  It's got seat belts, GPS, ABS breaks, four wheel drive and air conditioning and let's not forget the airbags...you get the idea. The Orthodox still find the beauty in their model T, cruising a whopping 10 miles an hour.  I've left them in the dust with my SUV.  LOL   ;)

I'm sorry that some of you have dealt with <not allowed> for Rabbis. It happens in the best religions.  But, at the same rate I understand that there is indeed a certain complexity and dynamic to Judaism that can sometimes be mis read because there is a lack of Jewish mentality that has to be added to the mix.   In other words, you can not interpret Torah, based on the mentality and teachings of another faith. "You have to start from scratch with Judaism", as my Buddhist teacher once told me (she began researching Judaism on her own in order to understand me better).

Like I said before, it's hard being Trans no matter what faith you follow. It's hard for a follower in general to understand us. Sure, we want them to accept us. We want them to understand that we are just as important to them as any other congregant. But, we still have a long way to go T brothers and T sisters. Again, understanding that religion is a human made thing, you really don't need it. For me, it adds to my life. That may not be the case with everyone and that's okay too. I'm not bound by it. Nor do I have to subscribe to every detail (Jews are actually allowed to contradict the teachings and even debate with the Rabbis to...I.E., OH YEAH PROVE IT!). And I DO NOT subscribe to a ZIONIST perspective necessarily either, nor do I have to support Israel as a whole or nation blindly (Yes, they piss everyone off...but that's another story that is more about politics than religion I don't want to get in to).

If you are interested in the Faith, then awesome. If not, I hope you find what YOU feel is awesome because no one can do that for you ;) .
 
It is, what it is to YOU.
There is no right or wrong in your decision.

Shalom
Stephie





 

Offline sarahla

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Re: Converting to Judaism ?
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2010, 04:02:58 pm »

Hi Stephie,

Thank you for responding so in depth.  When I checked for “New Replies to Your Posts,” I did not see your response listed.  I figured that by now someone must have responded, and they did.  I wonder how many other posts the system does not make me aware of.

I will start off by saying that more than likely my hostility towards the Orthodox, Satmars, Chabad, and Ultra-Orthodox with a special loving hostility towards Chabad and the Satmars, stems probably from my partner.  (I refuse to say wife, as that is a special meaning to me.)  She is an Orthodox Jew (Satmar/Chabad really), while I am a Reform Jew, agnostic, or even open to Christianity to a point.  I like some of the New Testament teachings.  She is embarrassed and never misses a moment in public, especially around the Chabad to say “male”, “him”, and every other male thing that you can contemplate.  Just like decades ago, when I was growing up, when teenagers liked to add “Man” after every third word, I get a phrase added.

Having seen more Orthodox in the last couple of years than I ever thought possible in life, I can speak from authority.

I have no issues with them keeping their “traditions” and resenting being forced to do things.  I get it.  I really do, but if they want respect, then they should show it to others, as they would have others do onto them.  Life is a two way street.

How about instead of calling them “Rabbi Whatever”, I call them to their face “Cult Leader Whatever”.  I can also not get myself to say “Rabbi”.  Now, I have done that, as I want to show respect, but respect is a two-way street.  They obviously do not get that, so maybe they should be showed.  Simcha Monica is quite offensive to my ears.  It really is, not to mention my eyes.  Chabad places menorahs all over the city with huge letters saying “Chabad of Simcha Monica”.  They even have them on the freeway entrances, so it is impossible to miss seeing “Simcha Monica”.

There is the matter of “corrective therapy”.  “<not allowed> is a sickness.”  The list of phrases that I have heard goes on and on.  I think that being an Orthodox is a sickness needing massive amounts of corrective therapy.  By the way, it was them that introduced that word to me, although I have heard it before.  I am just dishing out phrases back to them that I had thrust onto me.  Nice people.

I expected more from Rueben Zellman than brushing me off and acting less than respectful.  He is trans, even if he does not want to belong to the group, he should be more supportive.

I like being Jewish and support Judaism.  They have a long way to go to accept the transgender community, but they have come a long way already.  There are elements of Judaism that, as you said, piss me off to no extent, because they feel that they are the only people in the universe and everyone should cater to their needs, but they do not have to cater to anyone else.  The Orthodox are part of this nice group, but there are others.

I grew up with Star Trek and life is a rainbow of colors and we all have to show respect and get along.  Sadly, many people do not subscribe to that.

Thanks Stephie for the detailed response.

Stephanie.Izann

Re: Converting to Judaism ?
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2010, 06:22:25 pm »
Well ALBdegas, welcome to a very Jewish conversation! LOL

....shall we begin?

Sarah,
My heart goes out to you. I really mean that.If you'll pardon my mushy-ness, I just want to reach out and hug you.
 I can really feel the anger and disgust you have with the Orthodox. Please believe me when I say that I am not here to convince you of anything, other than to share with you and the others my experiences regarding these issues and to share with ALBdegas, a wonderfully Jewish situation here.

I did not grow up in a Jewish neighborhood. I grew up in a small town in Texas that was predominantly Christian and Catholic.
I definitely know how it feels to be a minority ...to have things shoved down your throat. Christmas was everywhere for me.  My cousins were Christians, and Catholics and I was the only Jewish cousin among them. So it was a bummer (although, I did get my share of presents from them as well).

When I was 3, there was an attempt by a "christian" to molest me. Luckily, his hands were sweating and I was able to get away because the door he thought was locked, hadn't shut all the way. He said he was doing it for Jesus.

I went through most of my school years being hated because I was  Jewish. At the age of 7, I was stoned by a group of Catholic Kids because I killed Christ...funny I don't  remember doing  such a thing. When my parents got to me, my nose was broken, and I looked like some sort of black and blue monster.  My parents were in shock. I was still trying to process what I did wrong. I didn't know why they hated me so much. It was even bad with some of my younger cousins (despite the general "we all get along feeling") because I was constantly told that I was going to burn in hell until I excepted Jesus into my heart.  I felt very very alone. VERY VERY ALONE.

As I got older around 13, a group of Christians (and this was in another town, but still in Texas),  waited for me to get off the school bus and proceeded to try and catch the Jew to try and crucify me.  If it wasn't for this lady that saw me getting beat up and jumping in to save me, well...who knows what would have happened.

Throughout all my life, I have had to deal with the Christian Holidays, EVERYWHERE. And people saying Merry Christmas to me. Jesus loves you. Teachers marking me absent on my Jewish Holidays and not letting me make up any work for that day. It also affected my school work. It kinda sucked.

 I actually tried Christianity briefly because I too found some of the teachings very enriching. I felt like there was no escaping this, I would always feel like a loner..and to top it off I was Trans!  But it wasn't for me in the end.

Once I got into High School it just got worse. There was a Neo Nazi that wanted to kick my Jewish butt so bad that he got some of his friends together and proceeded to wait for me. This time I was prepared. I was now a black belt in Karate. Luckily, most of the people that were his friends knew me, and well, HE ended up getting his <not allowed> kicked...by them not me...and yet, I tried to stop them from killing the poor lost soul.
And I have a plethora of other related stories too.

So yeah, I understand that kind of frustration. Of a certain people shoving <not allowed> down your throat.

But, as I was saying, It doesn't excuse the Orthodox from being jerks. The thing is THEY don't feel like they are jerks. They only feel like they are following THEIR interpretation that has been propagated for centuries. That's all they know. And then add a dash of Survival of The Fittest to that and there you have it.

But here is the thing. Why should I (or you) even try to tell anyone that you are or aren't Jewish. Meaning; why send a letter to a Movement in our faith to protest a group of people that I don't really care to hang with. Maybe they should be the ones writing us letters? According to the Orthodox, Recon Jews are heretics! I don't care what they think. They aren't paying my bills or my SRS. LOL
Who makes them THE sayers of all things Jewish.  Pardon my Hebrew here... *@#+ 'em! 

No one has the right to tell you what you are, or what you aren't. Whether the topic is about being Trans or about being a member of the Tribe. Even within the Trans community you have people that say this or that in regards to being trans. Are you really more of a woman because you still have a penis? Are you really a woman if you haven't transitioned? Are you really a girl, 'cause you look like a guy and you're married to a woman! Only YOU, can allow people to upset you. You cannot force anyone to feel the way you do, nor should they force YOU to think or feel the way they do. When you give in to their authority, you've lost your own place. You've allowed for them to get to you and bury themselves deeply into you.  As it seems I am by reading your in your comments.
Once I was able to let go of that ( and girl that wasn't easy), it made a huge difference. I didn't seek for anyones validation regardless of gender issues or religion. I held my head up high, and just went along living my life as usual.

Again, adding the Trans bit into your mix doesn't help (as far as some closed societies go). I know more than few Orthodox Jewish Trans woman that are having to deal with all this too. Can you imagine what they have had to go through because they didn't want to leave that movement? Granted they live in a stealth environment for fear of getting kicked out all together.  I'd love to bring them over to my end of Judaism. It wouldn't be much of a problem for them in my corner of Jewish land.

So where am I now?
I live in a predominantly Orthodox Jewish neighborhood.  They know that I don't follow their rules, and they never bother me. I've learned a lot from them...how to be...and how NOT to be. When my wife got pregnant, they came with gifts to our door. They know she is not Jewish...they know that I am a Reconstructionist. Do they think we are mislead or crazy for having a Christmas tree ( or as I say a Chanukah bush)? Probably. But I don't care. I don't need their respect. Nor do I allow them to embed themselves into my life. I only care for them from a human perspective with any and all religion out of the picture. I'm not going to try to convince them that my way is better or allow them to do that to me. I brush it off. I let them live their way, and I live my way. Wait til they see me in high heels! ;)

I know what you mean when you said the Orthodox  feel like they are the only people in the Universe. BUT, you have to remember that it is their will to keep surviving in a world that has constantly told them, they are not good. That they aren't even real people. So of course, they are going to try to make things work out (in their mind). Of course they are going to be hard headed when the world is pushing them to be something they do want to be or are not.  Sound familiar? Again, this doesn't mean I agree with it.

I don't think that the liberal forms of Judaism are that far off in regards to being Trans. I think they are just starting to come around. But, like I said, the whole world is still having issues with us, not just this faith. Look at our G&L brothers and sisters and all the things they have had to go through. AND even within that community, you have people that will never accept us.

As far as the Christians/Catholics go, I don't think that they are evil. I still love the Christian side of the family, HELL my wifes uncle was even ordained by Pope John Paul II!  I have forgiven all those that have tried to harm and hurt me. I will never forget though, because as you can see those things are still in my memory. I WILL learn from it and I have. Do I hate all Christians? No. Because I feel that it wasn't anything to do with their faith.  People just suck sometimes...no matter what faith they follow. Jewish people too.

Ah, to be free of any religion! Some people can and some can't. Again, it's that little compartment that needs to be filled, whether it's following that new religion called Football or ____________ (fill in the blank).

If we could all just follow the "prime directive" (you see, I follow Star Trek too).

And AlBdegas are ya learning? ;)  I haven't forgotten about you. My suggestion is to look at the differences in Movements and then visit a temple or congregation.  In the end, you will find what is best for you regardless of it being Jewish or not. It's up to you to tell them that you are Trans or not. In my eyes, you are what your heart dictates.

So girlfriend has to get ready for a party tonight...Oh yes, I'm a "bad Jew" because I am going out on the Sabbath! LOL

Just my two cents (X a thousand)!

I'm here for you both.
Stephie


becky007

Re: Converting to Judaism ?
« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2010, 09:19:16 pm »
Welcome to Jewishness.

Firstly - I is one. There is a reason all the best comics are also.

My dad used to say.
Question: What do you get if you have more than one Jew in a room.
Answer: An argument.

To the surprise of the un-initiated  we differ considerably in certain ways from group to group. For some the rules are non negotiable. For the orthodox - the rules are not violated with out consequence. One of which is being Jewish is not merely choice.

Despite the different "sects" - there are huge - huge things in common.

For instance - you may be "accepted" in temple - marry into it - convert. But to a good many Jews - to include official state policy - "not be a Jew".

So what does being a Jew mean. I is one and am still figuring it out.

To ALBdegas the original poster. It is probably not a good idea thinking Jewishness is a good path to acceptance.

It is to begin with - based on limited acceptance at its roots. If you are one - nothing you can do will change it. If you do not enter into this world as one - you will never be one.

To some a gift - to others a burden - to all of us a responsibility.

Another joke often told by Rabbis.
Question:What do you call a Jew that converted to Catholicism and has been taking communion for the past 40 years.
Answer: A Jew.

Get a dog for the only true unconditional love and acceptance. But believe what ever you want. Being accepted by a group - is temporal.

One more thing. If you want to be a Jew - toughen up.

Offline ALBdegas

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Re: Converting to Judaism ?
« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2010, 12:41:39 am »
Goodness, I am learning more and more about Judaism by the day ! ;D

I honestly, wasnt expecting 10 replies ! LOL

Offline sarahla

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Re: Converting to Judaism ?
« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2010, 01:08:21 am »
Hi Stephanie (and others),

Sorry, I have been swamped the last couple of days.  I will read your long response tomorrow (hopefully and respond).  I forgot to mention that I never knew that JFJ (Jews for Jesus) was started by a Baptist whoever in the '50s.  I learnt something new.  Thanks!

b
My dad used to say.
Question: What do you get if you have more than one Jew in a room.
Answer: An argument.

I agree with this statement.  Let me just say that I have personal experience backing this statement up.

Muddy

Re: Converting to Judaism ?
« Reply #13 on: December 13, 2010, 01:16:24 am »
There are not one, but TWO transgender Rabbis in the Reform movement.

Offline sarahla

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Re: Converting to Judaism ?
« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2010, 01:15:04 am »
Rabbi Zellman, not that I consider him a rabbi, is one, and who is the other?

--------


Hi Stephanie,

I just love how people use Jesus and the bible to push their own bigotry, embarrassment, and opinions on others and do that in the name of Jesus and God.  It is disgusting.  They are the most unchristian and un-God like.  Thank you for sharing your experience about almost being molested.  You got lucky.  Did you share that experience with your parents?  What did they say?  How do you remember that kind of detail from such a young age?  I am not sure that I remember anything from the age of 3.

I sympathize with you about being hated.  I grew up in Los Angeles and at the time that I went to school, there were still many anti-Semitic people around.  Of course, being a closeted transsexual did not help me to make friends.

It is funny how un-Jesus like Catholics are.  Jesus was against stoning and violence and yet, many Catholics, like Muslims, have no trouble using his name to do harm and commit violence.  The problem here is that they believe that by believing in Jesus as the messiah that that act alone will get them into heaven and that that then gives them the right to be Satins.  Christians often times say that the Jews, regardless of when they were born, killed Jesus, who wanted to die anyways, not that he can die, as he is not human, do not believe in reciprocity.  Why are all the current Christians not being punished for all their crimes and killings?

You are doing wonders to reinforce my opinion that Texas is a redneck backwards Republican state with weirdoes in it, who are not too dissimilar from the KKK.  Texans are also in favor of using the Courts to steal elections and push their agenda.  Are you still living in Texas?

The problem is that I have someone in my house who is embarrassed and possibly transphobic / homophobic, so it is a complicated situation.  If you take what Catholics and others about Jews and substitute gay and trans then, well, you can maybe see what I put up with.  You would think that Orthodox Jews would be accepting and understanding considering what they went through these past centuries, but they are as bad as non-Jews.  Hearing statements that all gay people and transsexuals should be put onto an island (read here ghetto) or shot (think gas chamber) or put into corrective therapy and one wonders then why were the Nazis wrong?  If the people that the Nazis tried to kill also hold the exact same opinion and would do the exact same thing given the chance, then you have both parties in full agreement.  The Orthodox remind me of Christians in that they can do no wrong by virtue of being an Orthodox Jew (or believing in Christ).

I agree with you that we should not let others upset us.  Also, I have gotten discrimination and negative treatment from the transgender community.  I have yet to find a single <not allowed> individual that I can say likes me or is my friend.  I have met several and one was worse and more bigoted than the next, not that I have met personally with many <not allowed> individuals.  God alone knows I tried.  The gay and lesbian community is not any better.

That is cool that you know some Orthodox Jewish Trans women.  I would not mind talking to them.  Can I?

You should not let my partner here you call your Chanukah bush a “Chanukah bush”.  She gets livid.  Personally, I like the name.

You said: “I know what you mean when you said the Orthodox feel like they are the only people in the Universe. BUT, you have to remember that it is their will to keep surviving in a world that has constantly told them, they are not good.”  I have absolutely NO SYMPATHY for that argument.  I used to, but not anymore.  Why?  The Orthodox feel that all transsexuals, gays, and lesbians (bisexual too) are sinners and should be eliminated, which is what many in the society think.  They view us in the same way that society views then, so you would think that they would be our natural allies, but they are the same as the people that they <not allowed> and moan against.  That makes them worse, because the Orthodox should know better and should therefore understand us.  They are not only living in their own little bubble, but they feel that they are better than anyone else and know better than anyone else.  That does piss me off.  They use their bible, oh forgive me (not), the Tanach / Torah, to push their hatred.  It seems to me that people do that all the time, use the bible for their bigoted ways.  Your own past is an example.

If I would say that I have a religion, then I would say it is the ideal that Gene Roddenberry gave on Star Trek, Star Trek the Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and of course one of my favorite Voyager.  Enterprise, well, anyone can have a bad hair day.  What a screwed up idea to go back in the past with Enterprise and what a horrible series.  I watched it but missed DS9 and the others.  Yes, we as human beings do not follow the “Prime Directive,” namely not to interfere in the affairs of others and to let them grow and mature at their own pace.

Thanks Stephanie.

Offline Simone Louise

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Re: Converting to Judaism ?
« Reply #15 on: December 17, 2010, 12:37:16 pm »
What a fun thread! I hope there's room for an androgyne with seventy years experience being Jewish here. I was brought up in a classical Reform congregation and prefer that movement. I have also been an accepted member of Conservative and Orthodox congregations. The Orthodox are not all of one stripe. Since 2009, there is even an Orthodox woman rabbi, Rabba Sara Hurwitz, who I heard speak earlier in the month (along with the first women rabbis ordained by the Reform, Reconstructionist, and Conservative movements--What a night that was!). She, along with a group of other Orthodox rabbis, has started a school to train women and had 35 applicants for the first class.

The congregation I belong to now is affiliated with the Reform movement. Our rabbi, coincidentally, was ordained by the same seminary that ordained my wife. She is lesbian, with a partner and two African-American daughters. Our members include gay, transsexual, and--only one, I believe--an Asian-American. We include Jews by birth and Jews by choice with no distinction, and inter-married families. An ex-temple-president was a nun before she converted. In short, we are an open and inclusive group. A month ago, we had a service commemorating the Transgender Day of Remembrance that included a discussion of Talmudic and later passages indicating that gender non-conformity has been part of Judaism for at least 2000 years.

I am active in the local interfaith alliance as a representative of the congregation. When my wife was ordained, local priests, ministers, and lay friends traveled 200 miles to New York to join the celebration (she now runs the religious school in a nearby Conservative congregation). Several of them gave her a yad (Torah pointer) in a handmade case signed by each of them. We often have in our home not only Christian priests and ministers, but Muslims, Hindus, and, soon, we hope, our local Buddhist monk. My wife wrote in her blog after our Chanukah open house that I was the perfect rebbetzin (rabbi's wife) that day--I cleaned the house before and after the party and stood in the kitchen three hours during the party making latkes (potato pancakes) that were eaten as fast as I could make them.

I have attended services in congregations in the US from coast to coast, and in Canada, England, Holland, Italy, and Israel and have been welcomed without question in each. By Jewish law, a Jew by choice (the preferred term, rather than convert) is considered a child of Abraham and Sarah and must be treated no differently than a Jew by birth. It is only Israel, where attempts are made to legally restrict who is a Jew, or, in other words, which movements' conversions are legitimate in Israel. Jews, within and without Israel, have successfully fought those attempts thus far, but continuing vigilance is required.

Religion is not required for one to lead a worthy, happy, and fulfilling life. But, at least in Judaism, we have the opportunity to partner with God in creating a better world. And the food is good.

May the Force be with you, and you with the Force,
S
Choose life.

Offline sarahla

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Re: Converting to Judaism ?
« Reply #16 on: December 18, 2010, 02:47:24 pm »
 Hi Simone,

Ah, a fellow friend of Star Wars, although the first two movies were the best and the rest went downhill.  Episode one being the worst.  I do believe in the concept of a force, so well taken.  You made a great point that it is not enough that the force is with us, but we have to be with the force as well.  Sadly, one has to be calm and happy to be with the force and that is not always easy.

I am glad that you mentioned about Rabba Sara Hurwitz.  I will have to look her up.  That seems an oxymoron.  The Orthodox do not believe in female rabbis.  They believe in "traditional" things.

It is funny, but I used to like the Orthodox much more in years past.  Heck, Fiddler on the Roof, used to be one of my favorite films.  I still like the film, but I see the film differently now.  Their bigotry is evident, when Tevye kills his daughter Chavela from his heart and refuses to allow anyone in his family to speak of her or to her after she marries a non-Jew.  To be fair, the movie takes great pains to address this point.  That is evident in the scene when her husband to be offers Chavela the book to read.  Still, the Orthodox behavior of "erasing" people that they do not like or recognize is evident here in this film.  Sadly, that is un-God-like and unloving and uncaring.  It shows that the only thing important to them is following their practices and whatever they do is justified because they follow the scripture in the way that they interpret that.

I heard of a similar case in an Orthodox temple in Budapest Hungary (not Chabad but Orthodox).  One member married a gentile.  The punishment was eraser.  There was a group photo made, which included this person.  The temple went to Photoshop or other photo editing tool, erased this person, and printed out a new photo.  This person got totally erased in all respects.  That was very loving.  That is killing/murder by another name.

Yes, there are probably nice Orthodox.  I just have never met any personally.  There is this one rabbi, who went behind my back to force a parking permit.  I got a lot of: "I will pay for it, no problem...."  After being forced against my will by my partner to give a permit, do you think that the person (he does not deserve or warrant the title of rabbi) voluntarily reimbursed me the $15 for the permit, not that there was anything extra added for the gas and the effort?  No.  I finally got the money months later, when I saw him at Ralph's (Kroger on the East Coast) and in front of his friends (family?), I demanded the $15.  At that point unable to deny the permit, I received the funds.  My partner made no effort to get the money.  From her viewpoint, I gave the permit and never got the funds.  To this day, it does not bother her.  I got no apologies from him or her.  They lied.  They used me.  I originally said no, when I was asked, so the prick went to my partner and got her to work on me.  That was very holy and God-like.  I acquiesced upon the condition that I get paid and that he answer a question about <not allowed> in Orthodox.  I forget the actual question.  He promised.  Now to an Orthodox that values God above all else, he seemed to value Satan more.  I never got an answer to that question or an apology.  Basically he lied to my face.  He forgot?  Of course, he did not. He is just a prick.

I could go on.  To be fair, there is a rabbi at the temple where I go, who also conveniently forgets / lies.  I call him "Bubble Boy".  I am being nice.  He is a Bubble Boy.  He is also a lier.  He promised something and then conveniently forgets.  It does not matter that he received the cash for it.  He forgot to give the film?  Of course, not!  I had him come to me earlier this year that he did not forget and will give it to me next week.  The audience is still listening.  Evidently, some people are more equal than others.  The other rabbi makes no pretense that he favors his family above all else.  His daughters get invited to the front, he goes back to bless them, and he talks to them, etc.  He basically gets paid to be with his family and to talk to his family.  He is a nice person.

I still did not forgive him for the comment made years ago, when I asked about <not allowed>.  He said: "There is a temple in Hollywood at the corner of Fountain and La Brea, which is gay, lesbian, and transsexual friendly.  You should go there."  We will forget that his music director and piano player is an open lesbian.

My beef is that I see over and over again that transsexuals are third class citizens.  They are worse than dog <not allowed>.  There are nice people too, but they are outnumbered by the bigots.  Sadly, California is one of the better states.

Thank you for mentioning about Rabba Sara Hurwitz. :-)

Offline Simone Louise

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Re: Converting to Judaism ?
« Reply #17 on: December 19, 2010, 03:22:13 pm »
Thank you for mentioning about Rabba Sara Hurwitz. :-)

There is an article online about the event http://www.jta.org/news/article/2010/12/13/2742149/barriers-broken-women-rabbis-look-to-broader-influence that has a photo with my wife at the extreme left (a hand partially covering her face) and Rabba Sara Hurwitz to her right, wearing a cap.

When writing about my synagogue, it may be of interest, that when the lobby was remodeled, the conventional bathrooms were replaced by an equivalent number of one-seat bathrooms, each for use by any gender (no urinals at all).

Our area has a website, now of wider interest and reach, for GLBT Jews, Keshet http://www.keshetonline.org/. My synagogue and my wife's seminary have made use of their materials.

Finally, I found a website listing Reform, Conservative, and unaffiliated congregations run by or welcoming to GLBT Jews http://www.huc.edu/ijso/SynOrg/LGBT/list/. It lists 1 congregation in Texas, 17 in California, and 30 in Massachusetts, including mine. I know there are incompetent and immoral rabbis, even among the famous ones, and unimaginative and inflexible congregations. I hope you and ALBdegas can find a rabbi and congregation among the good ones.

S
Choose life.

Offline sarahla

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Re: Converting to Judaism ?
« Reply #18 on: December 22, 2010, 07:45:28 pm »
I am not surprised at MA, as Massachusetts is arguably the most LGBT friendly state in the Union, even more so than California.  There are LGBT friendly Jewish congregations scattered, thankfully.  I never said that there were not.  It is a slow road to acceptance, a very slow road.

Fencesitter

Re: Converting to Judaism ?
« Reply #19 on: December 22, 2010, 07:59:54 pm »
Recently I have been thinking about converting to Judaism more and more and I just think this would more or so be the right decision for me.  I've been researching Judaism and the sect I was mostly interested in was Reform.

But my main issue was more or so me being FTM trans. I've read up some stuff about lesbians and gays being accepted, but thats about it..

So my main question is, is it possible for me to convert to reform judaism ?

I'd say ask them right away. As far as I know, reform judaism is quite laid-back, but it depends on who you stumble upon.

Someone here brought up the topic about orthodox jews and throwing them out or not. I don't know much about Jews (heck! I come from Germany, we haven't had many Jews here since the Third Reich for obvious reasons!), but in Germany, our Lutheran church is very laid-back. But they have a new-born Christian movement among them. They don't throw them out for the sheer reason that they don't want these people to become even more sectarian by losing the contact to other streams. Maybe there's something like this going on in Judaism.

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