Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Oh Joy, Jewish class!

You may recall this post. A woman in my class who had already been exchanging looks with another girl from class at the Hillel asked me if I was a convert right in front of my Muslim friend. Well, her friend asked me just now. We had our midterm today and since the classroom was in spitting distance from the building's entrance people were casually gathering in the entry way asking the question about X, do you know what that was? I got a question wrong that the sandhedrin was in Israel/Palestine. I put that it was in Babylon. I couldn't remember. So, anyway, I was walking with some classmates who walked out at the same time, two of them happened to be the two from the Hillel incident, the other one asked me while the others were talking if I had converted.

WTF? I mean, at least she had enough respect not to ask me in front of others, but seriously if people are so curious, get a book of converts' stories. I'm not some sort of Jewish convert oncomouse at your disposal! Oh, yeah, she, of course didn't stop with one or two questions, she kept going until I ducked into the cafeteria, of which we were, at that point, standing in front.

Oh, and she's not the classmate who found my blog. I'm still curious about that one. Send me an Email and tell me who you are, Mr. or Ms. "What a CU Tuesday." I already Emailed and asked anyone I thought it might have been. I'm guessing they found me from the link I put of the three nusach post on the page of a Syrian Jewish female friend that I had a class with last spring semester.


  1. check this video how to answer them, it's so funny, tell them this:


  2. This is the long winded anony (like you can't figure it out)....sorry this happened to you. Been there, done that many times. I'm guessing it's not discussing conversion that bothers you, since it's all over the blog.

    It's the nosey-ness of people you don't know or very barely know asking very personal questions. I doubt you'd feel the same discomfort if someone was actually someone you knew an were on friendly terms with and was curious about your background. That's a normal part of getting to know people.

    Very often the strangers that come up to people feel they can share your information when everyone as well, where a friend is more discrete. The strangers don't have anything invested in a friendship and I've found that discussing such matters doesn't win friends either.

    Same folks would be offended to be asked how much $$ they make, yet changing religion is even more personal than that.

    Off topic, but a related note about rude strangers, a friend's mother just passed this week. She is horrified by the number of people that she barely knows (i.e. they were her mother's acquaintances she was notifying for the final arrangements) wanting to know about the gory details of her passing, whether she had life insurance, value of her assets, and well just stuff that is A)none of their business B)she is probably in too much shock want to discuss. This actually happen to me as well years ago with a close relative.

  3. Still long winded here...Another thought on the conversion 'can of worms.' Discussing openly doesn't seem to calm any fears of "really being Jewish," but instead makes it more complicated. Sort of like kashrut symbols, now their beit din can be called into question as to whether they were 'kosher' enough. If the beit din is very reputable, but out of town and the questioner doesn't 'know' about it, then it is considered possibly suspect. But not of interest enough to research further so the person remains in suspect.

    Even being a member of the local shul and thus vetted by the rav their doesn't really help. i.e. One can't be member if not considered Jewish, it isn't enough proof for some folks. Yet same people will go for shabbat meals at random strangers homes with no problem. Besides having different kashrut standards, these folks don't consider maybe these random people might have had Jewish fathers or other ancestry and thus have a last name and Jewish look, but aren't Jewish. Or were adopted but not formally converted. Yet the 'known' convert that is a member of the shul and has conversion paper available on demand is suspect.