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New York - Jewish Converts Struggle With X-mas

Published on: December 26, 2009 06:50 PM
By:  NY Times
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New York - She kept the tree, but decorated it exclusively in blue, white and silver. She invited friends for a festive dinner, but paused to light Sabbath candles.

For Charlotte Jett, this Christmas was unlike any other. For the first time, it was more her mother’s celebration than her own. Ms. Jett, who is 33 and in the process of converting to Judaism, was left to navigate the complicated path between the traditions she had grown up loving and the new identity she is shaping for her future.

She was not about to tell her father to toss out the stocking that her grandmother knitted for her when she was a baby, nor allow her mother to give away the piles of decorations her other grandmother had created over the years. But she also felt uncomfortable about putting them up in the Midtown apartment she shares with her fiancé, Alan Silver, who is Jewish.

“I am fully committed to becoming Jewish, so it’s been hard to know what I am supposed to do,” said Ms. Jett, who is in graduate school, studying to become a nutritionist. “There’s a piece of me that really feels the need to preserve something I had when I grew up.”

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For thousands of people who convert to Judaism, Christmas is a difficult day of balancing what was once intimately theirs but now represents, in some ways, the essence of what they are giving up. The holiday brings up questions that often have less to do with theology than with culture and custom. Siblings wonder: Can we still give you gifts? Parents ask: Can I still fill your stocking? If the answers are no, does that signal something akin to betrayal?

For Jocelyn Getgen, a lawyer who is marrying a Jewish man next month, the completion of her conversion after Thanksgiving left her feeling strangely alone as she stared at the endless Christmas trees while walking down Broadway. For Juan Diego Santamaria, a 40-year-old court reporter, becoming Jewish meant abstaining from the roasted pig his family served at Christmas dinner in Elmhurst, Queens. And for Aliza Hausman, 29, it meant going with her sisters to see “Avatar” on Christmas Eve, movies having become a new family tradition since she converted in 2006.

Read the full Story at The NY Times 



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Read Comments (105)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Dec 26, 2009 at 07:07 PM Anonymous Says:

An intermarriage is an intermarriage is an intermarriage... shame we're losing these men.

2

 Dec 26, 2009 at 07:18 PM Shiksa Says:

How sad you feel that way #1. You should feel better, you are gaining new members of the tribe not losing a fellow jew.

3

 Dec 26, 2009 at 07:22 PM Shlomo Says:

Leave it to the NYTimes.
“I am fully committed to becoming Jewish, so it’s been hard to know what I am supposed to do." Well, I would recommend that you start with not having your Jewish fiance cook a "traditional Christmas menu of bourbon-glazed ham..."
What will be really confusing is when your children either reject religion entirely (probably) or, actually learn something about Judaism and then become interested in Torah and try to become Baalei Tshuva. Then you'll see confusion.
Sad.

4

 Dec 26, 2009 at 07:28 PM Anonymous Says:

Hogwash she is becoming as Jewish as Sammy David jr.

5

 Dec 26, 2009 at 07:28 PM professor Says:

To #1
This might not be a good way to find a shidduch, but it is NOT intermarriage. Shame on you for saying such a thing. Remember Who Moishe Rabeinu, Boaz and Yosef married. Were they Jewish enough for you. Moishe's Shver was a Galach! Shame on you!!!

6

 Dec 26, 2009 at 07:29 PM Anonymous Says:

There needs to be some understanding for geyrim over the holidays and the rabbonim should try their best to make them feel accepted.

7

 Dec 26, 2009 at 07:31 PM joey Says:

Now we understand why EJF is necessary, Koshim geirim leyisroel! Sadly they have to be double checked...

8

 Dec 26, 2009 at 07:39 PM דניאל בן אברהם Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

An intermarriage is an intermarriage is an intermarriage... shame we're losing these men.

Please give reading comprehension a try, it will really enhance your life. These are women who have converted or are converting to Judaism. Intermarriage is not a factor here.

9

 Dec 26, 2009 at 07:42 PM mottel Says:

to #1 i assume you mean that they are not orthodox converts for if they were it wouldn't be intermarriage...

10

 Dec 26, 2009 at 07:44 PM Anonymous Says:

this article brings up questions I have been thinking of for a while. Most of these want to be gerim sound as if they are not truly interested in judaism with all the halochos. i always thought that geirus was discouraged and the person in question had to be fully committed to the Torah and be willing to keep all of the Torah. I am not talking about the tree but about the fact that she is living with her jewish fiancee. the man who abstains from pork at the x-mas dinner, does he also abstain from the rest of the treifa food? Also being jewish intrinsically means not going to x-mas dinner. Why are these people bothering to be megair if they are not willing to be mekabel the Torah wholeheartedly? Once they are megair aren't they mechuyav in all 613 mitzvos? No one is forcing them to be megair. If they are not committed they should just not bother.

11

 Dec 26, 2009 at 07:52 PM jewish Says:

mr silver live with her shame on them. find a goy like you lady.
you don`t convert becaause you have a jewish boyfriend

12

 Dec 26, 2009 at 07:53 PM skazm Says:

you like the line how she's so committed to being Jewish, meanwhile her chooson Alan Silver is making a nice ham for Xmas

13

 Dec 26, 2009 at 07:56 PM Anonymous Says:

I have known several women who married Jewish men because they were interested in Judaism but didn't know how to approach conversion directly. Evidently it is easier to "convert" for marriage than for purely spiritual reasons - at least in terms of family opposition (and rabbinic cooperaton?). The tragedy is that these women were trying to find their way "in," while the men they married were on the way "out." One told me that she wanted to convert but her husband had forbidden it because if "he had wanted to marry a Jewish woman he would have." Another had had a Reform conversion but wanted to become more observant. Her husband opposed it because he was a Cohen and didn't want complications arising.

The most successful woman converts I have met are those who converted lishmah. The men have their reasons for intermarrying, and bringing their spouse into Judaism isn't one of them.

14

 Dec 26, 2009 at 08:00 PM ChelmiTe Says:

There is an old Yiddish saying that explains this. ''Hack Menisht Kein Tsaiynick!

15

 Dec 26, 2009 at 08:01 PM they are becoming jewish for marriage Says:

this is NOT a ger tzedek-so of course they still miss their trees-and tehy will probably go back to it when they get divorced or sick of it all...
let the jewish men not convince themselves that they are marrying real jewish women-if the only reason they are converting is for marriage.

16

 Dec 26, 2009 at 08:04 PM read the whole article says Says:

This article has NOTHING to do with righteous gerim - this is about sincere gentiles and toally frei yidden & their holiday "struggles" - most of them are already living together prior to the "conversion / marriage" ... The article even describes one Jewish-by-birth ( or maybe just a Jewish father/ last name ) male cooking up a tasty ham dinner for his live-in girlfriend & her family - it is a TRAGIC statement on the state of the Jewish world . The headlines of this past week show us that the "frum velt" better do a big t'shuvah too in these matters . It really is going to take Moshiach to sort it all out. Read it and weep.

17

 Dec 26, 2009 at 08:10 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #2  
Shiksa Says:

How sad you feel that way #1. You should feel better, you are gaining new members of the tribe not losing a fellow jew.

Shiksa, Jews don't celebrate or observe xmas in any fashion.
Most of the people referred to in this articles as converts remain halachic gentiles even if they think they are converting.We are an ancient tribe with laws of conversion.Glazed ham and giving out xmas gifts are things that gentiles do,not Jews.

Your comment shows your lack of fath in the god of Israel.There will be Jews without these pseudo converts.jewish woman give birth every day.We dont need pseudo tribe members.Our tribe thrives!

How sad people lie to well meaning gentiles and let them think that they are part of the Jewish people.

18

 Dec 26, 2009 at 08:11 PM Anonymous Says:

Perhaps there needs to be some form of secondary geirus where the converts would not be held to such high standards...

19

 Dec 26, 2009 at 08:19 PM YANKEL Says:

Nauseating was my reaction when I read this newspaper article this morning. For that woman to cook a bourbon soaked ham as an expression of religion is outrageous.

20

 Dec 26, 2009 at 08:31 PM Anonymous Says:

i teach in a conservative school--and had a student say, well my dad is jewish, my mom converted...so im jewish but since they got divorced, i celebrate Xmas with my mom and Hannukaaaaaahhhhh with my dad. LOVELY no? now THAT is THE problem.

21

 Dec 26, 2009 at 08:39 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #18  
Anonymous Says:

Perhaps there needs to be some form of secondary geirus where the converts would not be held to such high standards...

How about if we do this. We will establish secondary Geirus. This will mean that you can celebrate x-mas and Chanukah, Easter and Passover and you can eat knishes and ham. Sounds great. Anyone who is interested, log on to secondarygeirus.com

22

 Dec 26, 2009 at 08:45 PM glatekup Says:

Unfortunately these people are misguided and are being megayer in a conservative or reform geirus. They will learn the hard way when they are rejected.

23

 Dec 26, 2009 at 08:59 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #18  
Anonymous Says:

Perhaps there needs to be some form of secondary geirus where the converts would not be held to such high standards...

honestly, that's a ridiculous comment. I feel sorry for the real geirim, because they are left with a label that says "not our kind, dear". The real geirim are the ones who are affected - and of course their children may have a hard time with shidduchim... but it is reasons such as the article above that explain the prejudice towards geirim.

24

 Dec 26, 2009 at 09:03 PM Anonymous Says:

It's understandable that she has a hard time letting go what is sentimental to her. But it is definitely conflicting with Jewish traditions....

25

 Dec 26, 2009 at 09:13 PM Anonymous Says:

Most of these 'geirim' seem to be converting reform/ for marriage and are therefore not Jews in any sense of the word- especially the one that's having glazed ham. Shame. I know for a fact that Aliza Hausman converted properly and is fully shomer Torah u'mitzvos- too bad they didn't talk to her a little more or mention that she underwent a totally orthodox conversion, is married to an orthodox smicha student, etc.

I can definitely understand missing xmas part though. Even for sincere geirim, there will always be things that they will miss from their old lives such as certain foods and certain family celebrations, most notably those taking place around this time of year.

26

 Dec 26, 2009 at 09:19 PM Anonymous Says:

Sorry, we can't, and in fact are not, smarter then the Talmud!
קשים גרים לישרא-ל כספחת

Sorry but I didn't write it. Our Sages did!

27

 Dec 26, 2009 at 09:30 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #21  
Anonymous Says:

How about if we do this. We will establish secondary Geirus. This will mean that you can celebrate x-mas and Chanukah, Easter and Passover and you can eat knishes and ham. Sounds great. Anyone who is interested, log on to secondarygeirus.com

You can also believe in anything you want to - or nothing at all/

28

 Dec 26, 2009 at 09:36 PM Charlie Hall Says:

Ms. Hausman is a halachic convert whose husband is in a semichah program!

29

 Dec 26, 2009 at 09:37 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #2  
Shiksa Says:

How sad you feel that way #1. You should feel better, you are gaining new members of the tribe not losing a fellow jew.

converting for marriage although a new trend these days....is not truly a sincere and kosher conversion.
and those that are sincere about converting would embrace judaism and not feel confused about their past holidays.

30

 Dec 26, 2009 at 09:40 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #5  
professor Says:

To #1
This might not be a good way to find a shidduch, but it is NOT intermarriage. Shame on you for saying such a thing. Remember Who Moishe Rabeinu, Boaz and Yosef married. Were they Jewish enough for you. Moishe's Shver was a Galach! Shame on you!!!

i agree with your point, but i just want to point out one thing. Yosef actually married a Jew- her name was Osnat bat Potifera. she was the daughter of Dina and Sh'Cem. She was sent away, but was given some kind of amulet with proof of who she was. On the day of Yosef's coronation ceremony, she threw it at him as he was passing by. He found where it came from and married her because she actually WAS Jewish. if she hadnt been jewish, her children would not have been jewish. i doubt that children born to a non Jewish mother would have been counted amongst the shvataim, and i also doubt that the bracha we give to our sons on friday night would have come to be if they had not been Jewish.

31

 Dec 26, 2009 at 09:45 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #21  
Anonymous Says:

How about if we do this. We will establish secondary Geirus. This will mean that you can celebrate x-mas and Chanukah, Easter and Passover and you can eat knishes and ham. Sounds great. Anyone who is interested, log on to secondarygeirus.com

It's Gevaldik. You can also believe in Judaism, Chrisitianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and you name it - all at the same time. You could probably be an atheist too at the same time.

32

 Dec 26, 2009 at 09:49 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #2  
Shiksa Says:

How sad you feel that way #1. You should feel better, you are gaining new members of the tribe not losing a fellow jew.

Dear shiksa, do we look like we're seeking out new members to our tribe? we do not send out missionaries to try and save anyone's souls. Even a gentile who wishes to convert is repeatedly sent away by the Rabbi's who try to dissuade them.
Am Yisrael Chai. A jew or real authentic convert is someone who has a neshama and they won't get it thru reform or any un-orthodox conversion, no matter how much they pay and no matter what they're told...

33

 Dec 26, 2009 at 09:51 PM anonymous Says:

reply to #23 & 24

unfortunately, we leave the geirim in the cold and they (the true geirei tzedek) can only find shiduchim with other geirim or "problem" people because we are too prejudiced and we look down on them.

and for those who can't sympathise with geirim who have a "nostalgia" for the old time--remind yourselves of the first seder away from home--in Eretz Yisroel while the family is in America and there is no way of getting home for Pesach; or the first year you were married and went to your in-laws for Seder and somehow it was different.

so, while there is a problem in these "kitchy" geirim who are all messed up, one point is that it is natural to "miss" something that they are giving up.

let's be more sympathetic and accept geirei tzedek (the real ones) more openly and be more sympathetic to those who are messed up (like the ones in the article). maybe if we were more open...(said with a sigh)

34

 Dec 26, 2009 at 09:54 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #26  
Anonymous Says:

Sorry, we can't, and in fact are not, smarter then the Talmud!
קשים גרים לישרא-ל כספחת

Sorry but I didn't write it. Our Sages did!

Do you really understand what this Gemoro means. Obviously not. Onkelos was a Ger. Rab Meier was descended from Gerim. I could go on and on. Please don't quote a Gemoro without explaining it. If you can't explain it, don't quote it.
These poor souls mentioned in the article are not real Geirim. They are being misled by Reform types who tell them that they can carry the label Jew without any responsibilities.

35

 Dec 26, 2009 at 09:59 PM Anonymous Says:

This is the horror of the free for all conversions which are happening left and right today, as never before. This is a churban on AmYisroel. Assimilation, intermarriage is literally a holocaust which is in, a certain sense, more horrendous. as literally Yiddeshe neshomos are being lost.

37

 Dec 26, 2009 at 10:03 PM Anonymous Says:

She should NOT be allowed to convert. Conversion to Judaism means completely letting go of your past life and embracing one of 613 commandments - NOT trying to figure out which to hold on to. I hope she is stopped - why would the fiance even care ? they are already living together, it's not as if halacha is his primary concern...

38

 Dec 26, 2009 at 10:03 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #30  
Anonymous Says:

i agree with your point, but i just want to point out one thing. Yosef actually married a Jew- her name was Osnat bat Potifera. she was the daughter of Dina and Sh'Cem. She was sent away, but was given some kind of amulet with proof of who she was. On the day of Yosef's coronation ceremony, she threw it at him as he was passing by. He found where it came from and married her because she actually WAS Jewish. if she hadnt been jewish, her children would not have been jewish. i doubt that children born to a non Jewish mother would have been counted amongst the shvataim, and i also doubt that the bracha we give to our sons on friday night would have come to be if they had not been Jewish.

To #30: Absolutely correct. Yaakov Avinu gave Osnat the amulet and that is how Yosef knew who she was; she was an adopted daughter to Potifar and was Yosef's niece. Definitely Jewish!

39

 Dec 26, 2009 at 10:19 PM Chaim Says:

Reply to #32  
Anonymous Says:

Dear shiksa, do we look like we're seeking out new members to our tribe? we do not send out missionaries to try and save anyone's souls. Even a gentile who wishes to convert is repeatedly sent away by the Rabbi's who try to dissuade them.
Am Yisrael Chai. A jew or real authentic convert is someone who has a neshama and they won't get it thru reform or any un-orthodox conversion, no matter how much they pay and no matter what they're told...

Here we go -- just about every discussion here sooner or later exposes the Nazism-in-reverse of many frum Jews. "A Jew, or real authentic convert, is someone with a neshama." I see. And a non-Jew has no neshama (soul)? Like an animal? This teaching may be popular in certain chassidic circles, but show me a pasuk in Tanach or something from the Rishonim, from Rashi or Rambam or Ramban that agrees with this way of thinking.

40

 Dec 26, 2009 at 09:24 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #5  
professor Says:

To #1
This might not be a good way to find a shidduch, but it is NOT intermarriage. Shame on you for saying such a thing. Remember Who Moishe Rabeinu, Boaz and Yosef married. Were they Jewish enough for you. Moishe's Shver was a Galach! Shame on you!!!

Her geirus would deft not be considered authentic in an orthodic beis din !!! . How can she be living with her finace while going thru the conversion process ??. If he is jewish that it is forbidden with him to be living with her besides for the issue of conversion for maritial issues which isn't accepted!!.

41

 Dec 26, 2009 at 10:14 PM Shimon Says:

Reply to #24  
Anonymous Says:

It's understandable that she has a hard time letting go what is sentimental to her. But it is definitely conflicting with Jewish traditions....

It is not a conflict with "tradition" it is a conflict with Halacho!

42

 Dec 26, 2009 at 10:37 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #34  
Anonymous Says:

Do you really understand what this Gemoro means. Obviously not. Onkelos was a Ger. Rab Meier was descended from Gerim. I could go on and on. Please don't quote a Gemoro without explaining it. If you can't explain it, don't quote it.
These poor souls mentioned in the article are not real Geirim. They are being misled by Reform types who tell them that they can carry the label Jew without any responsibilities.

And how do you know this? Maybe they are being taught correctly and are being converted al pi halacha but choose to live their lives as they see fit? Do you know about treifus parties? It is when some folks in Eretz Yisrael who get a "mehadrin" conversions then invite their friends over to treif thier homes??

43

 Dec 26, 2009 at 10:48 PM Dov Says:

(reply to# 19) nausiating is when I read that you read the times this morning on SHABBOS KODESH that is sick!!

44

 Dec 26, 2009 at 11:29 PM matzahlocal101 Says:

Reply to #26  
Anonymous Says:

Sorry, we can't, and in fact are not, smarter then the Talmud!
קשים גרים לישרא-ל כספחת

Sorry but I didn't write it. Our Sages did!

Not to bust your bubble, but Rabbainu Bichayah explains in Kod hakemach as follows: The real meaning is that even though righteous gerim don't have generations of Bubbies and Zaidies that they say that we have received transmission from generation to generation that 3 million Jews walked out of Egypt, crossed the split Reed sea and received the Torah at Sinai,even so they are so sincere and dedicated to mitzvos they make many that were born Jews look bad. Rabbainu Bichayah was only a Rishon. That said, the people in this article can hardly be considered serious converts. If celebrating the birth of the origin of most of the anti-semitism of the last two millenia is still close to your heart, I think your geirus can be called into question.

45

 Dec 26, 2009 at 11:44 PM matzahlocal101 Says:

Reply to #5  
professor Says:

To #1
This might not be a good way to find a shidduch, but it is NOT intermarriage. Shame on you for saying such a thing. Remember Who Moishe Rabeinu, Boaz and Yosef married. Were they Jewish enough for you. Moishe's Shver was a Galach! Shame on you!!!

I hope you are not a professor of religious studies. We are told that Yisro tried all the avodah zoras, he was seriously seeking spirituality and didn't find it until he met JEWS. Likewise, several of the real giyur kihalacha gerim that I know were studying for the priesthood. They were seriously seeking spirituality but when they encountered contradictions and blackholes that had not a hint of an explanation they dropped it looked elsewhere. These people that abandoned every shred of X-tianity are real gerim and are included in the admonitions of loving the Ger. The people in the article do not fit that profile. Ms Jett should know that immediately after lighting Shabbos candles she still renders the kiddush wine Yayin Nesech and it is forbidden for real jews to drink it.

Ms Hausman,
I refer you to the Medresh (Rus Raba 1:16) When Naomi saw that Ruth was serious, she began to teach her Hilchos Gerus, Then she said "My daughter, it is not the way of the B'nos Yisroel to go the theatres and the circuses of the Goyim" To which Ruth replied, "Where you goeth, I will go."

46

 Dec 26, 2009 at 11:54 PM me Says:

Reply to #2  
Shiksa Says:

How sad you feel that way #1. You should feel better, you are gaining new members of the tribe not losing a fellow jew.

being a Jew is not a popularity contest or a membership drive and no-one is keeping score except for the reform and conservative that seek to shore up their declining membership with non-Jews. Many don't even ask their non-Jewish spouses to convert but still allow them (the non Jewish spouses) to get aliyahs. I came across a reform "Shailos and tshuvas" site and asked the "Rabbi" what brocha does the non Jewish spouse make for their Aliyah? "Asher LO Bochur bonu mikol ha'amim, vi LO noson lanu es hatorah..." He never answered me.

Judaism means "Ana avda di kudsha breech hu" - I am G-d's slave. Period. He says jump, and I jump. He say eat Matzah, I eat matzah. He says fast, I fast. It's very simple. anything short of that is not Judaism.

47

 Dec 27, 2009 at 12:07 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #42  
Anonymous Says:

And how do you know this? Maybe they are being taught correctly and are being converted al pi halacha but choose to live their lives as they see fit? Do you know about treifus parties? It is when some folks in Eretz Yisrael who get a "mehadrin" conversions then invite their friends over to treif thier homes??

"being converted al pi halacha but choose to live their lives as they see fit?"

So I can seek asylum in the United States, legally acquire citizenship according to American law and continue promoting the drug trade that I started in my native Colombia because that's the way I see fit to live my life, and there's nothing wrong with that? Converting "al pi halacha" means agreeing to follow ALL the rules 'til death do we part. Planning a "treif party" while undergoing geirus immediately flushes al pi halacha down the toilet.

Had the Ashkenazim only had the moral fortitude of the Syrian community that enacted the "Gezairah" and assared Gerim in the strongest terms. You marry a Ger/Giyores, and you cannot get an aliya or daven for the amud, you cannot use the social halls, you cannot be buried in our cemeteries, your children cannot attend our schools, our rabbis will not officiate at your functions, etc.

48

 Dec 27, 2009 at 09:47 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #5  
professor Says:

To #1
This might not be a good way to find a shidduch, but it is NOT intermarriage. Shame on you for saying such a thing. Remember Who Moishe Rabeinu, Boaz and Yosef married. Were they Jewish enough for you. Moishe's Shver was a Galach! Shame on you!!!

To #5, Professor: How wrong you are on all counts. Firstly, Moshe Rabbeinu married Tziporah before we received our holy Torah; secondly, Yosef Hatzadik married his niece Osnat (Dina's daughter); she was adopted by Potifar. The very reason that Yosef is called Hatzadik is because his living and even being second to Pharoah, never changed him one iota and remained true to G-D and the ways of his forefathers. Intermarriage and assimilation is a spiritual holocaust on the Jewish people. And being a true convert is a 'righteous convert' (ger tzedek) which cannot be taken lightly- not like these conversions happening today left and right - with most, not having much meaning. Jewish men have an obligation to G-D and to their forefathers who for centuries gave their lives to keep Torah and Judaism & here, in a flash, these men throw it all away to marry non-Jews.

49

 Dec 27, 2009 at 12:34 AM giyoress al pi halacha Says:

To respond to the article title:

REAL geirim do NOT struggle with xmas.

This article is a joke...

50

 Dec 27, 2009 at 12:46 AM Gair Tzedek Says:

ANY GAIR THAT MISSESS THEIR GOYISHKEIT IS NOT A GAIR TZEDEK!!!

how do i know? i have been a gair tzedek17-18 years.

51

 Dec 27, 2009 at 10:27 AM Anonymous Says:

Thank you VIN responders who are 'dan l'chaf zchus' to true gerim and don't use this "multicultural piece of dreck" article to blindly attack all gerim. Aliza Hausman still has sentimental attachments to her birth family and maybe she's correct to hold onto them. I, on the other hand, cut all ties to my birth family and I find myself completely alone in the frum world because true friendship is an impossible goal in the Heimische oilam and you find yourself isolating yourself because of the abrasiveness of this society. If anyone can empathize with the plight of gerim, they would be considered true tzadikim, but most people are only benonim who gleefully give them their chametz before pesach so they can feel "righteous".

52

 Dec 27, 2009 at 03:44 AM Anonymous Says:

"Though Ms. Jett usually goes to her mother’s house for Christmas, this year, her mother came to New York instead, and Ms. Jett and Mr. Silver decided to invite several friends — they affectionately called them “Jewish orphans” — over for dinner. They planned a traditional Christmas menu of bourbon-glazed ham, mashed potatoes, roasted broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green beans and yams, cooked by Mr. Silver, who works for a real estate investment firm and is the designated chef in the relationship."

Is this a joke? What conversion? By "Rabbi" Leann (woman's name)?
And Ms. Jett is living in sin with Mr. Silver so the whole thing is repulsive and stomach turning. Why is VIN even publishing it? How different is it from publishing pictures of untzinusdik women? NOT!

53

 Dec 27, 2009 at 03:54 AM Anonymous Says:

you know what is really said is these "converts" are perpetuating the lies. these women will have children and tell their children that they are jewish, and this is simply not the case. we don't need converts like this mixing in to our people. and let me tell you, they don't need to be lied to, either, and told they are jewish when in fact they are not.

54

 Dec 27, 2009 at 04:27 AM Anonymous Says:

I'm a "kosher" orthodox convert since I never converted in purpose of marriage or social position or anything else than Toyreh love and spirituality...
I would like to share a common feeling amongst us converts,especially if like me none of your family is jewish (this might be a little bit different if one has a jewish father already) :

I rejected x-ianity and its holidays when I was a child, but had to follow family tradition, when I was a teenager and could make my own choices I told my family that I wasn't x-ian anymore, that I felt jewish and didn't want to celebrate x-ian holidays (easter christmas), of course it was really hard for my family because of xmas...not as a religious celebration but more as a family gathering...

It's been 10 years since I told them and totally stopped celebrating x-mas and I converted 2 years ago... they're still bitter because of my choice, when it comes to xmas... 2 days ago I had an argument with my family because they think I betrayed them and I deny my roots and my own family...

Believe me, x-mas itself isn't confusing, but the relationship with the xian family is.

I wish there was a way to teach convert's family how to accept us

55

 Dec 27, 2009 at 04:52 AM Shlomo Says:

We all know of the problems with geirus.
I would add that the reporter never bothered to find "real" geirim who have gone through a halachik conversion and were mekabel ohl malkut shamayim.
Finding an "orthodox" convert would not have been that difficult and would have actually added to the story. Of course, I doubt that the NY Times would go to the effort to get an Orthodox point of view.

56

 Dec 27, 2009 at 06:01 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #32  
Anonymous Says:

Dear shiksa, do we look like we're seeking out new members to our tribe? we do not send out missionaries to try and save anyone's souls. Even a gentile who wishes to convert is repeatedly sent away by the Rabbi's who try to dissuade them.
Am Yisrael Chai. A jew or real authentic convert is someone who has a neshama and they won't get it thru reform or any un-orthodox conversion, no matter how much they pay and no matter what they're told...

the beis din isn't supposed to "repeatedly" send away the potential convert, but try to dissuade him at the beginning, and if the rabbonim see how sincere the potential convert is, they should welcome him/her.
and one important thing, the jewish community should not judge the potential convert and let the Rabbonim do their job, the community should open their heart and arms to the potential converts who left their entire family and friends and secular world, and feel all alone and desperately need some warmth and understanding...

57

 Dec 27, 2009 at 06:06 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #28  
Charlie Hall Says:

Ms. Hausman is a halachic convert whose husband is in a semichah program!

she met him and dated him while she was in the process of converting to judaism... does it mean that she's a kosher and sincere gyiores or people would treat her like she's "not a good jewish convert" ?

from what i read on the comments here, they all think that someone who marries or date a Jewish man and wants to convert to judaism is definately not a kosher convert... it might be true in most of the case but don't judge them all... I personnaly know 2 married women and 1 young lady who dated a Jewish man... they all converted and the Beis Din knew about their situation.... they are frum frum frum women... maybe they would have never ever for a sec thought about judaism if they didn't meet their jewish partner...

Are they kosher converts or not ?

Who can judge ? we have only ONE judge on this world, not you, not me, not a beis din, but only Hakadosh Baruch Hu... if some people think they could be better than Him... they are not true believers then

58

 Dec 27, 2009 at 06:41 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #25  
Anonymous Says:

Most of these 'geirim' seem to be converting reform/ for marriage and are therefore not Jews in any sense of the word- especially the one that's having glazed ham. Shame. I know for a fact that Aliza Hausman converted properly and is fully shomer Torah u'mitzvos- too bad they didn't talk to her a little more or mention that she underwent a totally orthodox conversion, is married to an orthodox smicha student, etc.

I can definitely understand missing xmas part though. Even for sincere geirim, there will always be things that they will miss from their old lives such as certain foods and certain family celebrations, most notably those taking place around this time of year.

Aliza Hausman probably said alot more, but the reporters only put in what they want, and make her look like the other quasi converts they interviewed. that is unfortunate.

59

 Dec 27, 2009 at 11:03 AM professor Says:

Reply to #48  
Anonymous Says:

To #5, Professor: How wrong you are on all counts. Firstly, Moshe Rabbeinu married Tziporah before we received our holy Torah; secondly, Yosef Hatzadik married his niece Osnat (Dina's daughter); she was adopted by Potifar. The very reason that Yosef is called Hatzadik is because his living and even being second to Pharoah, never changed him one iota and remained true to G-D and the ways of his forefathers. Intermarriage and assimilation is a spiritual holocaust on the Jewish people. And being a true convert is a 'righteous convert' (ger tzedek) which cannot be taken lightly- not like these conversions happening today left and right - with most, not having much meaning. Jewish men have an obligation to G-D and to their forefathers who for centuries gave their lives to keep Torah and Judaism & here, in a flash, these men throw it all away to marry non-Jews.

And beforeMatan Torah, Moshe had no tradition to throw away (before or after Matan Torah)? Also,I may be wrong about this, but Ein mikro yotzeh midei peshutoi might tell us that we can indeed understand that Usnas, according to many, was indeed Potifar's daughter. While the specifics of the NYT article might not be the best examples, one should not make the statements that #1 did. There are examples of young woman setting their sights on Jewish boys (often in colleges) gaining respect for them, befriending them, and looking for the whole package. They may be migayer to eventually marry the boy, but they also want what yiddishkeit has to offer. I have seen examples like this first hand. (The wife is often frummer than the husband) And while it is NOT an ideal way to find a zivug, don't you dare call it intermarriage. By doing so you cast doubt on doros.

60

 Dec 27, 2009 at 10:46 AM Charlie Hall Says:

Reply to #47  
Anonymous Says:

"being converted al pi halacha but choose to live their lives as they see fit?"

So I can seek asylum in the United States, legally acquire citizenship according to American law and continue promoting the drug trade that I started in my native Colombia because that's the way I see fit to live my life, and there's nothing wrong with that? Converting "al pi halacha" means agreeing to follow ALL the rules 'til death do we part. Planning a "treif party" while undergoing geirus immediately flushes al pi halacha down the toilet.

Had the Ashkenazim only had the moral fortitude of the Syrian community that enacted the "Gezairah" and assared Gerim in the strongest terms. You marry a Ger/Giyores, and you cannot get an aliya or daven for the amud, you cannot use the social halls, you cannot be buried in our cemeteries, your children cannot attend our schools, our rabbis will not officiate at your functions, etc.

Given the other things that have afflicted the Syrian community this year I would not hold it up as having "moral fortitude".

61

 Dec 27, 2009 at 10:46 AM Professor Says:

Reply to #40  
Anonymous Says:

Her geirus would deft not be considered authentic in an orthodic beis din !!! . How can she be living with her finace while going thru the conversion process ??. If he is jewish that it is forbidden with him to be living with her besides for the issue of conversion for maritial issues which isn't accepted!!.

The things most people miss are not religious in nature. I can understand that even a true ger would miss the physical beauty of the holiday. Lights and decorations are pretty. But they must learn to simply live without it. Anything less would not be appropriate.

62

 Dec 27, 2009 at 11:09 AM professor Says:

Reply to #45  
matzahlocal101 Says:

I hope you are not a professor of religious studies. We are told that Yisro tried all the avodah zoras, he was seriously seeking spirituality and didn't find it until he met JEWS. Likewise, several of the real giyur kihalacha gerim that I know were studying for the priesthood. They were seriously seeking spirituality but when they encountered contradictions and blackholes that had not a hint of an explanation they dropped it looked elsewhere. These people that abandoned every shred of X-tianity are real gerim and are included in the admonitions of loving the Ger. The people in the article do not fit that profile. Ms Jett should know that immediately after lighting Shabbos candles she still renders the kiddush wine Yayin Nesech and it is forbidden for real jews to drink it.

Ms Hausman,
I refer you to the Medresh (Rus Raba 1:16) When Naomi saw that Ruth was serious, she began to teach her Hilchos Gerus, Then she said "My daughter, it is not the way of the B'nos Yisroel to go the theatres and the circuses of the Goyim" To which Ruth replied, "Where you goeth, I will go."

Why don't you reread my statement. i simply stated that #1's blanket statement is WRONG. It also happens to fall within the category of Motzei shem ra

63

 Dec 27, 2009 at 07:24 AM Berl Says:

The Rabbis who are involved in Geirusneed to ask these questions upfront. They need to ask to what degree the potential ger/giyores is willing to reject JC and all involved with JC. if the candidate still has a soft spot in their heart for JC then they are not serious in becoming a ger/giyores. There are many Bnei/Bnos Noach who reject xtianity because they see the falsehoods of anything but Torah yet they do not feel that they can accept 613 mitzvot.
Geirut is not a pick and choose thing. It is either 100% or nothing. We do not need Geirim who still have a soft spot for Santa, the Easter Bunny or JC. If it is hard to give up PAGAN customs that Constantine incorporated into xtianity to make it more palatable to the pagan masses, then stay whatever you are and do not attempt to become what is too much of a challenge for you.
We do NOT seek converts, nebach we have too many authentic Jews who find it too hard to observe their heritage, no need to bring in outsiders who can 't accept the total package!

64

 Dec 27, 2009 at 08:17 AM #47 you and the Syrians go to far...from a Ger Tseddeq Says:

You are right on the first point but so wrong on the Takanah the "Gezairah" makes out the Syrians are holier than Cohenim in that it forbids genuine gerim from marrying to the 4th generation you make us worse than an Egyptian.

Fences were designed for protection from transgression not as a hindrance for the genuine to enter in or perhaps Syrian Betei Din would never have the fortitude to make the right decisions.

Personally I love the Syrian Minhagim but I could never be accepted by them not holy enough for them.

And for the record I agree with and keep the following: Judaism means "Ana avda di kudsha breech hu" - I am G-d's slave. Period. He says jump, and I jump. He say eat Matzah, I eat matzah. He says fast, I fast. It's very simple.

65

 Dec 27, 2009 at 08:21 AM Charlie Hall Says:

Reply to #44  
matzahlocal101 Says:

Not to bust your bubble, but Rabbainu Bichayah explains in Kod hakemach as follows: The real meaning is that even though righteous gerim don't have generations of Bubbies and Zaidies that they say that we have received transmission from generation to generation that 3 million Jews walked out of Egypt, crossed the split Reed sea and received the Torah at Sinai,even so they are so sincere and dedicated to mitzvos they make many that were born Jews look bad. Rabbainu Bichayah was only a Rishon. That said, the people in this article can hardly be considered serious converts. If celebrating the birth of the origin of most of the anti-semitism of the last two millenia is still close to your heart, I think your geirus can be called into question.

You owe an apology to Ms. Hausman, a halachic convert who is a very serious observant Jew.

66

 Dec 27, 2009 at 08:26 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #45  
matzahlocal101 Says:

I hope you are not a professor of religious studies. We are told that Yisro tried all the avodah zoras, he was seriously seeking spirituality and didn't find it until he met JEWS. Likewise, several of the real giyur kihalacha gerim that I know were studying for the priesthood. They were seriously seeking spirituality but when they encountered contradictions and blackholes that had not a hint of an explanation they dropped it looked elsewhere. These people that abandoned every shred of X-tianity are real gerim and are included in the admonitions of loving the Ger. The people in the article do not fit that profile. Ms Jett should know that immediately after lighting Shabbos candles she still renders the kiddush wine Yayin Nesech and it is forbidden for real jews to drink it.

Ms Hausman,
I refer you to the Medresh (Rus Raba 1:16) When Naomi saw that Ruth was serious, she began to teach her Hilchos Gerus, Then she said "My daughter, it is not the way of the B'nos Yisroel to go the theatres and the circuses of the Goyim" To which Ruth replied, "Where you goeth, I will go."

The theatres and circuses of today are not like those of the time of the writers of the midrash. I personally have a subscription to the Metropolitan Opera -- with the full support of my rabbi, a talmud of Rov Soloveitchik who declared it mutar l'chatchila.

67

 Dec 27, 2009 at 08:34 AM anonymous Says:

# 11 and # 12 I know here in twon a ger tzedek he has midos any Jew can proud of, he wears a gartel, a professional graduated from one of the finest institution in N.Y. and he is a mensch. Maybe we need more gerim. See my mother A'H had a good saying "fin chazer hoor ken men nisht machen a strajmel" . You know k'chomer b'yad hayozer. It is the chomer not the origin. Those who throw dirty diapers on police, beat up women in the name of tznius are prost, grob

68

 Dec 27, 2009 at 09:32 AM yitzy Says:

Maybe someone should show her the records that prove this tree goes back to ancient pagan tree worship. if she is intent on becoming a real yiddene, she should not mix in avodah zarah!!

69

 Dec 27, 2009 at 10:28 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #39  
Chaim Says:

Here we go -- just about every discussion here sooner or later exposes the Nazism-in-reverse of many frum Jews. "A Jew, or real authentic convert, is someone with a neshama." I see. And a non-Jew has no neshama (soul)? Like an animal? This teaching may be popular in certain chassidic circles, but show me a pasuk in Tanach or something from the Rishonim, from Rashi or Rambam or Ramban that agrees with this way of thinking.

U're right, I am a chassid and I took it for granted that it was common knowledge that a jew has a neshama and a non jew doesnt'. Apparently all the neshamos of all jews, present and future were at matan torah so a ger tzedek's neshama must have been there as well.
Did I call goyim animals?? can you call me a NAZI for this? are you equating nazism with my quote? rachmama litzlan that you can make such a comment. I found it quite harsh.
So are you gonna call G-d racist for choosing the yidden to receive His torah as well? He gave us the job of keeping his torah and mitzvot and we gotta do it as best as we can. Goyim have their roles in G-d's world as well but they do not have to follow the torah, period.

70

 Dec 27, 2009 at 10:34 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

An intermarriage is an intermarriage is an intermarriage... shame we're losing these men.

so you don't read Ruth (Ruus) and further don't recognize Dovid hamelech as being Jewish.

71

 Dec 27, 2009 at 10:34 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #40  
Anonymous Says:

Her geirus would deft not be considered authentic in an orthodic beis din !!! . How can she be living with her finace while going thru the conversion process ??. If he is jewish that it is forbidden with him to be living with her besides for the issue of conversion for maritial issues which isn't accepted!!.

I was not referring to any individual case listed here. My point is that shunning geirim, and making a blanket statement, calling it intermarriage is wrong.

72

 Dec 27, 2009 at 11:17 AM professor Says:

Reply to #25  
Anonymous Says:

Most of these 'geirim' seem to be converting reform/ for marriage and are therefore not Jews in any sense of the word- especially the one that's having glazed ham. Shame. I know for a fact that Aliza Hausman converted properly and is fully shomer Torah u'mitzvos- too bad they didn't talk to her a little more or mention that she underwent a totally orthodox conversion, is married to an orthodox smicha student, etc.

I can definitely understand missing xmas part though. Even for sincere geirim, there will always be things that they will miss from their old lives such as certain foods and certain family celebrations, most notably those taking place around this time of year.

I am impressed by your hashgafos and understanding. It is unfortunately not common.

73

 Dec 27, 2009 at 11:17 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #57  
Anonymous Says:

she met him and dated him while she was in the process of converting to judaism... does it mean that she's a kosher and sincere gyiores or people would treat her like she's "not a good jewish convert" ?

from what i read on the comments here, they all think that someone who marries or date a Jewish man and wants to convert to judaism is definately not a kosher convert... it might be true in most of the case but don't judge them all... I personnaly know 2 married women and 1 young lady who dated a Jewish man... they all converted and the Beis Din knew about their situation.... they are frum frum frum women... maybe they would have never ever for a sec thought about judaism if they didn't meet their jewish partner...

Are they kosher converts or not ?

Who can judge ? we have only ONE judge on this world, not you, not me, not a beis din, but only Hakadosh Baruch Hu... if some people think they could be better than Him... they are not true believers then

Shlomo Hamelech married a wives who it turned out only married him shelo l'sheim shomayim but nevertheless it did not persuade him from continuing to live with these seemingly goyos. The reason is simple, because although the Beis Din is not allowed to accept a convert for ishus purposes but if they did and the convert ends up accepting Torah Umitzvos l'poel for the sake of their spouse that is acceptable and the convert is 100% Jewish even if he/she was chozar l'suro (slacked off in their shmiras mitzvos) and that is why Shlomo H. was allowed to keep his wives because initially it was thought they wanted to convert l'shem shomayim and even though they later were oved avodah zora (idolatry) and it was determined that they accepted Torah Umitzvos for the sake of marriage but since L'POEL they did actually keep Torah Umitzvos therefore there was KABOLAS MITZVOS and their conversion was kosher, mah she ein kein if a convert comes to a good valid beis din and does not even keep Torah Umitzvos at least for some time afterwards it shows that there was no kabolas mitzvos and the conversion is very questionable. Nevertheless as mentioned the Rebbe didn't want his shluchim involved.

74

 Dec 27, 2009 at 12:32 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #66  
Anonymous Says:

The theatres and circuses of today are not like those of the time of the writers of the midrash. I personally have a subscription to the Metropolitan Opera -- with the full support of my rabbi, a talmud of Rov Soloveitchik who declared it mutar l'chatchila.

Assuming you are a man, could you explain your Rav's declaration so that frum Jews don't start running out to buy Met tickets?

I worked for an opera company many, many years before becoming frum, and the story lines (libretti) are not tsniusdik and the costumes are not tsniusdik, not to mention kol isha.

75

 Dec 27, 2009 at 12:58 PM anonymous Says:

A unusual ger in modern history is Count Avraham Manstein uncle of the Panzer General Manstein, German ger who died in 1944

76

 Dec 27, 2009 at 01:11 PM anonymous Says:

After my liberation I lived in Italy and in Rome Rabbi Toaff A'H refused geiris to non-Jewish women if it was for the sake of marrying a Jew

77

 Dec 27, 2009 at 01:15 PM Robert Says:

Reply to #51  
Anonymous Says:

Thank you VIN responders who are 'dan l'chaf zchus' to true gerim and don't use this "multicultural piece of dreck" article to blindly attack all gerim. Aliza Hausman still has sentimental attachments to her birth family and maybe she's correct to hold onto them. I, on the other hand, cut all ties to my birth family and I find myself completely alone in the frum world because true friendship is an impossible goal in the Heimische oilam and you find yourself isolating yourself because of the abrasiveness of this society. If anyone can empathize with the plight of gerim, they would be considered true tzadikim, but most people are only benonim who gleefully give them their chametz before pesach so they can feel "righteous".

well said.. but
you forgot about the shabbos goy and the goyta

78

 Dec 27, 2009 at 01:17 PM Robert Says:

Reply to #49  
giyoress al pi halacha Says:

To respond to the article title:

REAL geirim do NOT struggle with xmas.

This article is a joke...

how would you know anything about real gerim or what they go through?
i am sure real gerim have struggles and challenges too.. guess what they are still human beings...

79

 Dec 27, 2009 at 01:18 PM Robert Says:

Reply to #50  
Gair Tzedek Says:

ANY GAIR THAT MISSESS THEIR GOYISHKEIT IS NOT A GAIR TZEDEK!!!

how do i know? i have been a gair tzedek17-18 years.

wow
you have a heart of steel (perhaps lead)

80

 Dec 27, 2009 at 01:22 PM Robert Says:

Reply to #54  
Anonymous Says:

I'm a "kosher" orthodox convert since I never converted in purpose of marriage or social position or anything else than Toyreh love and spirituality...
I would like to share a common feeling amongst us converts,especially if like me none of your family is jewish (this might be a little bit different if one has a jewish father already) :

I rejected x-ianity and its holidays when I was a child, but had to follow family tradition, when I was a teenager and could make my own choices I told my family that I wasn't x-ian anymore, that I felt jewish and didn't want to celebrate x-ian holidays (easter christmas), of course it was really hard for my family because of xmas...not as a religious celebration but more as a family gathering...

It's been 10 years since I told them and totally stopped celebrating x-mas and I converted 2 years ago... they're still bitter because of my choice, when it comes to xmas... 2 days ago I had an argument with my family because they think I betrayed them and I deny my roots and my own family...

Believe me, x-mas itself isn't confusing, but the relationship with the xian family is.

I wish there was a way to teach convert's family how to accept us

it is not easy
remember your birth parents are human beings with feelings too...
i admire your courage and am glad you show then respect
i hope God wil guide you in a good way

81

 Dec 27, 2009 at 01:31 PM Michal bas Avraham Says:

Reply to #49  
giyoress al pi halacha Says:

To respond to the article title:

REAL geirim do NOT struggle with xmas.

This article is a joke...

I'm with you. I want to say that I stopped celebrating Xmas and Easter when I left the Xtian college and Xtianity. That was a decade before I even started my conversion. Now, I've been Jewish for over a year.

I don't want people to think that all Gerim are like this. These are the types that unfortunately give the rest of us a bad name.

82

 Dec 27, 2009 at 01:34 PM Robert Says:

Reply to #70  
Anonymous Says:

so you don't read Ruth (Ruus) and further don't recognize Dovid hamelech as being Jewish.

i personally know 2 women who converted while dating jewish men..
as iu see it the jewish men were the catalyst for bringing them closer to God and ultimately to Judaism.
both women went through orthodox conversions and today are so frum and careful on all 613 commandments.. they have become leaders in right wing orthdox communities and have forced their husbands to folloe them in better observance.
the batei din that converted these women were smarter and sharper than the majority of the VIN posters here.

my understanding of halacha is that you transgress several ( i think 5) torah commandments if you hurt or even mildly discriminate against a convert ( geir lo tonu ki gerimn heyitem berez mizrayim). as i understand halacha, the syrian minhag of disallowing converts in their community is no different than eating ham, lighting a fire on shabbat, or other torah level prohibitions.
gerim are beloved by the Almighty and we need to be better people ourselves rather than castigating and hurting this rightoud group of jews..lastly all true gerim need to be be joyfully welcomed into the community of israel.

83

 Dec 27, 2009 at 01:35 PM Milhouse Says:

Reply to #39  
Chaim Says:

Here we go -- just about every discussion here sooner or later exposes the Nazism-in-reverse of many frum Jews. "A Jew, or real authentic convert, is someone with a neshama." I see. And a non-Jew has no neshama (soul)? Like an animal? This teaching may be popular in certain chassidic circles, but show me a pasuk in Tanach or something from the Rishonim, from Rashi or Rambam or Ramban that agrees with this way of thinking.

The Kuzari is not a rishon? The Maharal and the Tanya and the Ramchal are not good enough sources for you?

84

 Dec 27, 2009 at 01:40 PM Milhouse Says:

Reply to #55  
Shlomo Says:

We all know of the problems with geirus.
I would add that the reporter never bothered to find "real" geirim who have gone through a halachik conversion and were mekabel ohl malkut shamayim.
Finding an "orthodox" convert would not have been that difficult and would have actually added to the story. Of course, I doubt that the NY Times would go to the effort to get an Orthodox point of view.

They did find one: Mrs Hausman.

85

 Dec 27, 2009 at 01:44 PM Milhouse Says:

Reply to #57  
Anonymous Says:

she met him and dated him while she was in the process of converting to judaism... does it mean that she's a kosher and sincere gyiores or people would treat her like she's "not a good jewish convert" ?

from what i read on the comments here, they all think that someone who marries or date a Jewish man and wants to convert to judaism is definately not a kosher convert... it might be true in most of the case but don't judge them all... I personnaly know 2 married women and 1 young lady who dated a Jewish man... they all converted and the Beis Din knew about their situation.... they are frum frum frum women... maybe they would have never ever for a sec thought about judaism if they didn't meet their jewish partner...

Are they kosher converts or not ?

Who can judge ? we have only ONE judge on this world, not you, not me, not a beis din, but only Hakadosh Baruch Hu... if some people think they could be better than Him... they are not true believers then

Yes, it's kosher. Every beis din accepts such gerim, so long as it believes their commitment is sincere, i.e. they really do accept the obligation to keep all the mitzvos, and understand that the commitment is for life, even if the marriage doesn't work out ch"v.

86

 Dec 27, 2009 at 01:51 PM Reb Yid Says:

Cristianity is Avodah Zara.
If you know anything about Jewish history there should be no conflict. We should not accept people who believe in celebrating xmas into our religion. The crusades, the Spanish inquisition, pogroms. We should never sell our selves short.

87

 Dec 27, 2009 at 02:19 PM Milhouse Says:

Reply to #82  
Robert Says:

i personally know 2 women who converted while dating jewish men..
as iu see it the jewish men were the catalyst for bringing them closer to God and ultimately to Judaism.
both women went through orthodox conversions and today are so frum and careful on all 613 commandments.. they have become leaders in right wing orthdox communities and have forced their husbands to folloe them in better observance.
the batei din that converted these women were smarter and sharper than the majority of the VIN posters here.

my understanding of halacha is that you transgress several ( i think 5) torah commandments if you hurt or even mildly discriminate against a convert ( geir lo tonu ki gerimn heyitem berez mizrayim). as i understand halacha, the syrian minhag of disallowing converts in their community is no different than eating ham, lighting a fire on shabbat, or other torah level prohibitions.
gerim are beloved by the Almighty and we need to be better people ourselves rather than castigating and hurting this rightoud group of jews..lastly all true gerim need to be be joyfully welcomed into the community of israel.

You are right. There is a huge difference between rejecting a CANDIDATE for conversion, and rejecting an actual convert. When someone comes to a beis din for conversion, the BD has no obligation whatsoever to accept him; it has the right to send him away for any reason or no reason at all. So if a community decides that for prudential reasons it will not accept candidates for gerus, that is completely within its discretion. Similarly, a BD can accept standards higher than those required by hilchos gerus, and refuse to convert anyone who can't comply with them.

But what many people miss is that once someone has been converted by a proper BD, he is no longer a candidate, he is now a Jew, and you must accept him as one EVEN IF YOU WOULD NOT HAVE CONVERTED HIM. So long as the BD that did the gerus is made up of kosher dayonim, you can criticise their decision all you like but you must accept what they have done. Bedieved this person is now a Jew and if you reject him now you are over on many mitzvos de'oraisa.

None of which has anything to do with the people in this story, who (except Mrs. Hausman) are not gerim, and are not even candidates for gerus, but are pure goyim.

88

 Dec 27, 2009 at 03:48 PM yeapb Says:

Reply to #25  
Anonymous Says:

Most of these 'geirim' seem to be converting reform/ for marriage and are therefore not Jews in any sense of the word- especially the one that's having glazed ham. Shame. I know for a fact that Aliza Hausman converted properly and is fully shomer Torah u'mitzvos- too bad they didn't talk to her a little more or mention that she underwent a totally orthodox conversion, is married to an orthodox smicha student, etc.

I can definitely understand missing xmas part though. Even for sincere geirim, there will always be things that they will miss from their old lives such as certain foods and certain family celebrations, most notably those taking place around this time of year.

My father misses his xmas fruit cake, you would never know by looking at him or his family that he is a ger. We get around this by making him a fruit cake for his birthday instead.

89

 Dec 27, 2009 at 03:49 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #74  
Anonymous Says:

Assuming you are a man, could you explain your Rav's declaration so that frum Jews don't start running out to buy Met tickets?

I worked for an opera company many, many years before becoming frum, and the story lines (libretti) are not tsniusdik and the costumes are not tsniusdik, not to mention kol isha.

i dont know the halacha, really, does kol isha apply to a non jewish woman,?

90

 Dec 27, 2009 at 04:02 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #51  
Anonymous Says:

Thank you VIN responders who are 'dan l'chaf zchus' to true gerim and don't use this "multicultural piece of dreck" article to blindly attack all gerim. Aliza Hausman still has sentimental attachments to her birth family and maybe she's correct to hold onto them. I, on the other hand, cut all ties to my birth family and I find myself completely alone in the frum world because true friendship is an impossible goal in the Heimische oilam and you find yourself isolating yourself because of the abrasiveness of this society. If anyone can empathize with the plight of gerim, they would be considered true tzadikim, but most people are only benonim who gleefully give them their chametz before pesach so they can feel "righteous".

Why did you cut all ties with your birth family?? Unless that's the way they wanted it, it's completely possible to remain close with one's family after converting, yet not partake in their religion. My parents converted over 2 decades ago, and we remain extremely close to their extended families until today. They just know that we will have nothing to do with any of their holidays, nor can we go everywhere and do everything with them. That just makes them respect and love us more, I think. And I love the diversity!

91

 Dec 27, 2009 at 04:38 PM Robert Says:

Reply to #87  
Milhouse Says:

You are right. There is a huge difference between rejecting a CANDIDATE for conversion, and rejecting an actual convert. When someone comes to a beis din for conversion, the BD has no obligation whatsoever to accept him; it has the right to send him away for any reason or no reason at all. So if a community decides that for prudential reasons it will not accept candidates for gerus, that is completely within its discretion. Similarly, a BD can accept standards higher than those required by hilchos gerus, and refuse to convert anyone who can't comply with them.

But what many people miss is that once someone has been converted by a proper BD, he is no longer a candidate, he is now a Jew, and you must accept him as one EVEN IF YOU WOULD NOT HAVE CONVERTED HIM. So long as the BD that did the gerus is made up of kosher dayonim, you can criticise their decision all you like but you must accept what they have done. Bedieved this person is now a Jew and if you reject him now you are over on many mitzvos de'oraisa.

None of which has anything to do with the people in this story, who (except Mrs. Hausman) are not gerim, and are not even candidates for gerus, but are pure goyim.

thank you
you wrote it more eruditely than i could have

92

 Dec 27, 2009 at 05:55 PM anonymous Says:

Reply to #50  
Gair Tzedek Says:

ANY GAIR THAT MISSESS THEIR GOYISHKEIT IS NOT A GAIR TZEDEK!!!

how do i know? i have been a gair tzedek17-18 years.

you hit a bulls eye and it could not have been said any better, bracha v'hatzlocha , I respect you and I was brought up by chasidim and as boy lived through concentration camp

93

 Dec 27, 2009 at 07:22 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #73  
Anonymous Says:

Shlomo Hamelech married a wives who it turned out only married him shelo l'sheim shomayim but nevertheless it did not persuade him from continuing to live with these seemingly goyos. The reason is simple, because although the Beis Din is not allowed to accept a convert for ishus purposes but if they did and the convert ends up accepting Torah Umitzvos l'poel for the sake of their spouse that is acceptable and the convert is 100% Jewish even if he/she was chozar l'suro (slacked off in their shmiras mitzvos) and that is why Shlomo H. was allowed to keep his wives because initially it was thought they wanted to convert l'shem shomayim and even though they later were oved avodah zora (idolatry) and it was determined that they accepted Torah Umitzvos for the sake of marriage but since L'POEL they did actually keep Torah Umitzvos therefore there was KABOLAS MITZVOS and their conversion was kosher, mah she ein kein if a convert comes to a good valid beis din and does not even keep Torah Umitzvos at least for some time afterwards it shows that there was no kabolas mitzvos and the conversion is very questionable. Nevertheless as mentioned the Rebbe didn't want his shluchim involved.

To #79 - Because of his aligning himself with the nations at that time and taking all these concubines, the kingdom split! This was his wrongdoing.
Everything that happens was because it had to be so we could be exiled to reach the ultimate purpose of creation - the geulah shleima! (Whereas, Dovid Hamelech had only Jewish wives and didn't allow conversions in his time.)

94

 Dec 27, 2009 at 07:33 PM Leeann Says:

"They planned a traditional Christmas menu of bourbon-glazed ham, mashed potatoes, roasted broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green beans and yams, cooked by Mr. Silver..."

If Ms. Jett is "fully committed to becoming Jewish", she (and her fiance) ought not be serving ham - the antithesis of Judaism - in her home. There are countless other ways to honor her parents.

95

 Dec 27, 2009 at 08:17 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #51  
Anonymous Says:

Thank you VIN responders who are 'dan l'chaf zchus' to true gerim and don't use this "multicultural piece of dreck" article to blindly attack all gerim. Aliza Hausman still has sentimental attachments to her birth family and maybe she's correct to hold onto them. I, on the other hand, cut all ties to my birth family and I find myself completely alone in the frum world because true friendship is an impossible goal in the Heimische oilam and you find yourself isolating yourself because of the abrasiveness of this society. If anyone can empathize with the plight of gerim, they would be considered true tzadikim, but most people are only benonim who gleefully give them their chametz before pesach so they can feel "righteous".

It's more than "sentimental attachment" to her "birth family." I would suspect it is love. A convert is not expected to stop loving and being caring to their family. For everyone who criticizes converts for "missing christmas," they are not missing christmas, they are missing the family aspect of the holiday. I think missing time with one's family is healthy and appropriate and should be respected.

96

 Dec 27, 2009 at 09:05 PM Charlie Hall Says:

Reply to #74  
Anonymous Says:

Assuming you are a man, could you explain your Rav's declaration so that frum Jews don't start running out to buy Met tickets?

I worked for an opera company many, many years before becoming frum, and the story lines (libretti) are not tsniusdik and the costumes are not tsniusdik, not to mention kol isha.

The comment was by me; I neglected to include my name by mistake.

Rov Soloveitchik held that the kol isha prohibition applied only when it was likely to engender improper thoughts, and that classical music did not fall into that category, no matter who was singing.

Regarding story lines, there are plenty of non-tzniutdik things in Tanakh. In fact, some have been the basis for operas! Regarding costumes, you see worse stuff on the street.

I've seen my rav argue this emphatically. And that Rov Soloveitchik held that this was not just a theoretical issue but was intended to be followed as halachah lemaaseh is shown by the fact that Yeshiva University still has an opera fundraiser every fall. My rav attended an opera himself last spring for the first time -- at the age of 70. He would have no problem with frum Jews buying opera tickets and in fact I see guys in kipot every time I attend an opera.

97

 Dec 27, 2009 at 09:10 PM Charlie Hall Says:

Reply to #86  
Reb Yid Says:

Cristianity is Avodah Zara.
If you know anything about Jewish history there should be no conflict. We should not accept people who believe in celebrating xmas into our religion. The crusades, the Spanish inquisition, pogroms. We should never sell our selves short.

The halachic status of Christianity is a machloket rishonim. To say it is flat out avodah zarah is to mislead as that is only one opinion, that of Rambam. Tosafot held differently, that Noachides were not commanded to avoid the kind of worship that Christians do. The third opinion is that of HaMeiri, who doesn't even seem to think that Christian worship would be a''z for Jews. (In that HaMeiri is clearly a Daat Yachid, but many others have accepted his favorable opinion of Christianity in other respects.) Rama held like Tosafot so that would normally be the definitive halachah for Ashkenazim.

(I just attended a shiur on this very subject the morning of December 25.)

98

 Dec 27, 2009 at 09:13 PM Charlie Hall Says:

Reply to #89  
Anonymous Says:

i dont know the halacha, really, does kol isha apply to a non jewish woman,?

I think that there is no difference between the voice of a Jewish woman or the voice of a non-Jewish woman when it comes to the kol ishah prohibition. The question is to its extent. In addition to Rov Soloveitchik's position, many other prominent poskim have permitted women singing holy music in the presence of men such as zmirot around the Shabat table, and of course congregational singing in synagogue.

99

 Dec 28, 2009 at 12:11 AM frater Says:

Reply to #81  
Michal bas Avraham Says:

I'm with you. I want to say that I stopped celebrating Xmas and Easter when I left the Xtian college and Xtianity. That was a decade before I even started my conversion. Now, I've been Jewish for over a year.

I don't want people to think that all Gerim are like this. These are the types that unfortunately give the rest of us a bad name.

Are you Polish? (I'm asking because of "Michal")

100

 Dec 28, 2009 at 05:50 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #96  
Charlie Hall Says:

The comment was by me; I neglected to include my name by mistake.

Rov Soloveitchik held that the kol isha prohibition applied only when it was likely to engender improper thoughts, and that classical music did not fall into that category, no matter who was singing.

Regarding story lines, there are plenty of non-tzniutdik things in Tanakh. In fact, some have been the basis for operas! Regarding costumes, you see worse stuff on the street.

I've seen my rav argue this emphatically. And that Rov Soloveitchik held that this was not just a theoretical issue but was intended to be followed as halachah lemaaseh is shown by the fact that Yeshiva University still has an opera fundraiser every fall. My rav attended an opera himself last spring for the first time -- at the age of 70. He would have no problem with frum Jews buying opera tickets and in fact I see guys in kipot every time I attend an opera.

Talking about Daas Yochid, which I saw you use in your other comment on the subject of christianity, your rov, bimchilas kvodo, is CLEARLY a daas yochid on this serious matter of tznius and kol Isha. I can't understand his reasoning here as it sounds totally illogical. First let's talk TZNIUS:
The operas have women who are dressed in a non tzniusdike way where's your rov's heter LECHATCHILA to go there? The Lubavitcher Rebbe assered television (besides for avodah zora bringing the galach into your home) because of simple tznius. This flies in the face of clear halochos in shulchan Aruch. I could understand perhaps if someone went to an amusement park and part of a show happened to be something not exactly up to par so a frum Jew looks away but LECHATCHILA to pasken & not be ashamed to say that your RAV goes there I'm floored.
KOL ISHA
"Rov Soloveitchik held that the kol isha prohibition applied only when it was likely to engender improper thoughts, and that classical music did not fall into that category, no matter who was singing"
Firstly Meicheichan dantuni - where's his mokor?
Secondly where's his mokor that opera singers don't engender ...?
I'm bewildered by such psokim

101

 Dec 28, 2009 at 05:54 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #96  
Charlie Hall Says:

The comment was by me; I neglected to include my name by mistake.

Rov Soloveitchik held that the kol isha prohibition applied only when it was likely to engender improper thoughts, and that classical music did not fall into that category, no matter who was singing.

Regarding story lines, there are plenty of non-tzniutdik things in Tanakh. In fact, some have been the basis for operas! Regarding costumes, you see worse stuff on the street.

I've seen my rav argue this emphatically. And that Rov Soloveitchik held that this was not just a theoretical issue but was intended to be followed as halachah lemaaseh is shown by the fact that Yeshiva University still has an opera fundraiser every fall. My rav attended an opera himself last spring for the first time -- at the age of 70. He would have no problem with frum Jews buying opera tickets and in fact I see guys in kipot every time I attend an opera.

which other "prominent poskim"?
"congregational singing"? what do you mean by that? "holy music" do you mean that just because the singer is thinking holy thoughts that forces the listener to have holy thoughts as well? hmm must be a heiliker singer..

102

 Dec 28, 2009 at 08:46 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #12  
skazm Says:

you like the line how she's so committed to being Jewish, meanwhile her chooson Alan Silver is making a nice ham for Xmas

who taught you how to read??? you are mixing up TWO different stories. An hispanic family is making the ham, not the Jewish guy!!!

103

 Dec 28, 2009 at 09:08 AM Charlie Hall Says:

Reply to #101  
Anonymous Says:

which other "prominent poskim"?
"congregational singing"? what do you mean by that? "holy music" do you mean that just because the singer is thinking holy thoughts that forces the listener to have holy thoughts as well? hmm must be a heiliker singer..

Among others, Rav Hirsch z'tz'l, Rav Hildesheimer z'tz'l, and Rabbi Yechiel Yaakov Weinberg z'tz'l.

By congregational singing I mean things like Hallel on Yom Tov, L'cha Dodi, etc.

104

 Dec 28, 2009 at 09:17 AM anonymous Says:

X-mas in Vienna even before Hitler's Anschluss was not a pleasant time for a Jewish boy but the final k.o. I received in 1944 a few weeks after my arrival in Buchenwald. Block 66 was adjacent parallel to the Sonderbau an infamous place in Buchenwald . Here in our block we lived in dread fear, hungry some were beaten and in the evening of 12/25 1944 there is a loud singing of "Stille Nacht heilige Nacht silent night in Buchenwald with the crematorium chimney shooting up flames.

105

 Dec 28, 2009 at 12:34 PM Lawyer Says:

Reply to #97  
Charlie Hall Says:

The halachic status of Christianity is a machloket rishonim. To say it is flat out avodah zarah is to mislead as that is only one opinion, that of Rambam. Tosafot held differently, that Noachides were not commanded to avoid the kind of worship that Christians do. The third opinion is that of HaMeiri, who doesn't even seem to think that Christian worship would be a''z for Jews. (In that HaMeiri is clearly a Daat Yachid, but many others have accepted his favorable opinion of Christianity in other respects.) Rama held like Tosafot so that would normally be the definitive halachah for Ashkenazim.

(I just attended a shiur on this very subject the morning of December 25.)

Your post is highly misleading. There is a dispute as to how to read the opinion of the Baaeli ha Tosafos. (Rav Soloveichik was of the view that all that Tosafos means is that Bnei Noach are not barred from SWEARING in the name of two gods, not worshipping. There are acharonim who disagree, notably the Noda Be Yehudah)

More importantly, even acc. to the view you are espousing, that is only for Bnei Noach. Everyone agrees that it is Avoda Zarah for Jews. During the time of the Baalei ha Tosafos, many Jews who lived in that part of the world (Northern France and Germany) died al kiddush Hashem rather than adopt Xtianity.

As for the Meiri, nowhere does he hold that it is permissible for a Jew to adopt Xtian belief or practice. It is at minimum heretical, even if not Avodah Zara. His whole discussion is what is the status of non-Jews who maintain that belief and practice.

I would think it is obvious that a would-be ger or giyoret who maintains Xtian belief and practice cannot be accepted as a convert, and clearly lacks kabbalas ol mitzvos.

106

 Dec 28, 2009 at 07:02 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #60  
Charlie Hall Says:

Given the other things that have afflicted the Syrian community this year I would not hold it up as having "moral fortitude".

What has that got to do with anything? Why are you besmirching a whole community because of a few members of the community who go wrong in today's money greed world. What about the same problems in the chasidishe, litvishe, etc. communities? This is a universal problem today, as everyone is exposed to the evils of today's world. Not everyone has the highest morals, but the rest of the community should not be penalized, as there is no community anywhere that is immune!

107

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