Friday, November 4, 2011

Should Public Announcements List a Speaker as a Convert?

Blogger Hadassah posted an interesting question on her blog: Should an invitation to a public lecture identify the speaker as a convert?
"I was taught that you never ever out a convert. Even if everyone knows that so-and-so converted, it is a sin to point it out to anyone."
I don't agree with that necessarily as the halachic standard, but it's probably the correct politeness standard. But on the other hand, there are a lot of factors we don't know:

Is her conversion part of the lecture?
Did she approve the text?
Does she normally list herself in this way?

Last I heard in the comments section, we don't know these answers. But, as was probably intended, proclaiming the speaker to be a convert will undoubtedly bring a larger crowd than would otherwise show up. And that's good for her parnassa.


  1. I would agree that it depends on the content of the lecture and whether or not the convert wishes to be portrayed as such. If the title of the lecture is "Realities of the Gerim process in the RCA", titling yourself as a convert may give you a little more authority on what you're speaking on. However, if your talk is "Parshas Noach: Today's Flood", well, conversion doesn't really make a difference. :P

  2. There a lot of things I don't know about it, so I don't think I should comment.

    What's parnassa?

  3. Tyi: Parnassa is income or making a living.

    There is a prohbition of outing a convert but, like so much, context is everything.
    "SHE's a convert" in a hushed voice, pointing covertly, and done in a disdainful manner: bad.
    "She's a convert" done in a respectful voice because of a talk about conversion: good.
    "Sklar IS a convert": priceless!

  4. Blue Star: they should list it if the convert wants it to be listed. Otherwise, if the convert does not want to reveal this, it should be the converts' choice, always. And I believe once someone converts, they should not be told in any way to reveal their status to anyone. The reason being since they have a Beis Din if the convert would do something that outrageous, the Beis Din would find out. Otherwise the status of a person convert or not is irrelevant, and no one's business, not even another Rabbi than the one who served on the conversion committee. I think the convert should make the choice of whether to reveal or not their status and how much to reveal.

  5. hey i have a question. if you don't mind. for how long have you been waiting on conversion 2.0? i'm just curious because i'm also in the process and i think if you would've done a conversion already they would take you up faster. so i'm wondering if you are expecting this to take 2 years or less? thank you so much.

    1. Originally posted: November 7, 2011 at 6:30 AM

      Anonymous about conversion 2.0: I've written a post for you that'll go up on Wed, 11/9.

      But as a different comment: whether conversion 1.0 makes conversion 2.0 faster is a separate question from the 2 year debate. Two years seems to be about average, but there are people at around a year and there are people who go 5+ years. Two years is a very arbitrary number, even if it ends up being the average. Every case is so different that average times are generally useless as anything more than a trivia fact. My time has nothing to do with your time or anyone else's time. But to answer your question, I've been fully orthodox for slightly more than a year and a half. However, my school/community situation handicapped me from moving forward for over a year. At this point, I don't even know where to begin counting the beginning of my conversion process: When I made the decision to be orthodox, when I actually reached orthodox observance level, when I applied to a beit din, when I had my intake meeting with a rabbi at the beit din, when I met with the full beit din, who knows??

  6. No, they should not point out the speaker is a convert. Its horrible thing to do, you embarrass the speaker and make yourself look petty.

    1. Originally posted: November 7, 2011 at 6:32 AM

      Hannah, do you still feel that way even if it was the speaker who wrote the text "outing" herself? That just strikes me as an extreme stance if the convert says it does not embarrass her. I also don't understand why it makes the other person appear petty.

  7. Anonymous from before: thank you, cant wait to read your post. ;)