Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Kiruv and (Non-Orthodox) Converts

I tried to get some Hebrew reading help from a kiruv organization that offers free tutoring to any Jew. Interestingly, they will work with gay Jews, intermarried Jews, or any other non-Orthodox Jew. However, they will not work with a convert who has had a non-Orthodox conversion because we are "not Jewish." Of course, they said it may be possible to work with me once there is an approximate Orthodox conversion date planned. That was one of those conversations where you default to only saying "ok" because you don't want to lose control of your emotions.

I understanding limiting services to "Jews," but a friend summed it up best: "Denying a non-orthodox convert these services is like denying a reform Jew of patrilineal descent. He's not 'Jewish' either!" I don't know if they allow or deny patrilineal Jews from their services.

She also had a great point that kiruv really shouldn't ignore non-Orthodox converts. They're affiliating Jewishly whether you like it or not, they will "intermarry," and they will produce "Jewish" children. (I hate using all the quotes, but I don't know a better way to get the point across.) If kiruv organizations want to increase Jewish observance, why are they discriminating against the people usually the most passionate to learn? It seems like once you're affiliated with the Tribe, kiruv should be interested in bringing you to The Dark Side of observance.

Oh, adventures in being Jewish but not Jewish. The status wars continue...

1 comment:

  1. I'm a patrilinial Jew AND a non orthodox convert so I'm not sure if they'd work with me,