About Me · Community

So, When Did You Convert?

Uhhh…, never.

 

Is of course my answer. And you too, if you have already read my previous posting and had the pleasure of reading (or hearing) any of my rants, would be just as well equipped to answer this question.

 

The other day, I had the pleasure of being asked two days in a row, “So, when did you convert?” Wow!! Some tact please!! I had just met each of these people that night and they had just heard right then and there that I was both Japanese and Jewish. It seemed a rather intrusive thing to ask on a first meeting. Though to be fair, perhaps these people were not coming from a place of understanding that perhaps “converting” to Judaism does not share the same proud feeling of “converting” to Christ or “declaring faith” to Allah in Islam.

 

Still, I think back to my fellow Jewish-something friends and wonder what exactly is going on. I once had a friend who had an Ashkenazi Jewish father and Anglo-Protestant mom (at least in heritage). No one seemed to question that she was Jewish. She had brown curly hair and white skin. She could have easily passed as Jewish and in fact after she converted, if she didn’t say anything, I think that people probably assumed that she *was* born and raised Jewish.

 

I often feel like I am meant to qualify my Jewishness. After a surprised gasp at hearing that I am Jewish, I am often pushed to say which of my parents is Jewish and which Japanese and to declare exactly what I celebrated how often while growing up in, of all places, Japan!! Wow!! If people don’t understand how that can sound like an interrogation, or if not particularly confrontational, just plain old boring, well, I can’t help you much more. Well, maybe I should just start exercising a little creativity there. ;)

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