I want to Convert- despite my Jewish boyfriend...

Question:

I have been dating a Jewish man secretly for several years now. The reason for the secrecy is that I am not Jewish; if his parents found out we were together, they would not approve. My boyfriend has now decided to end the relationship; however, we are both not happy with the situation. We were so happy together. I have never met someone like my boyfriend before... We both talk about getting married yet that would involve me converting to Judaism.

I have read up on everything that is involved in converting and I know it is a long and challenging process. Yet, I'm not happy with who I am right now and I feel as though reaching out to the Torah will help me get through this difficult time and in the end, hopefully be with the boy I love. I know I cannot convert just to marry someone but that's not my reason, I know I will be much happier being a Jew, I am so intrigued and fascinated by the Jewish religion. I want to be able to reach out to spirituality and find out who I am, and I believe that reaching out to the Torah will help me.

I am curious as to what you have to say about my situation. Is it right what I am thinking and leaning towards?

Answer:

You ask if what you're thinking about and leaning towards is "right." Only you can answer whether it's right for you.

Judaism does not encourage converts. Judaism does not believe that all the world must be Jewish. Basic to Jewish belief is that every single human being on the face of this earth must recognize and acknowledge G‑d as Creator of the universe, and to serve Him by acting in a supremely human – i.e. G‑dly – way. But this is for each individual to do in the capacity of his/her own life. For someone born Jewish, the Jewish religion is the path to this service. For someone not born Jewish, the path is the one outlined in the Seven Noahide Laws. There are times, however, when someone not born Jewish feels inexplicably compelled to serve G‑d as a Jew, when one feels the soul's desire to act in Jewish garments. That is when a conversion takes place.

As you are well aware, the relationship between an individual and G‑d is a private and intimate one. Therefore, conversion to Judaism can never be based on a relationship between two people. I applaud you for recognizing this.

My best advice to you would be to continue to pursue and explore your relationship with G‑d. Should you feel at any time that this leads you to the path of Judaism, then you will contact an orthodox rabbi to guide you and instruct you.

In the meantime, it is far, far better for you to be exploring this without the additional emotional complexities of a romantic relationship with a Jewish man.

For more, see an article on this topic from our "Dear Rachel" advice column: Conversion and Marriage.

Wishing you all the best...