Read an important article in the NY Times, by Shmuly Yanklowitz, who is an Orthodox Rabbi and executive director of Valley Beit Midrash, an adult education and leadership development program and president of Uri L’Tzedek, a social justice group.
I wanted to share these quotes from his November 2014 article in the New York Times, "Judaism Must Embrace the Convert."
"The fact that anyone with the drive and perspicacity to convert is allowed to do so is one of the most important checks on the Jewish conception of chosenness; being Jewish is not a genetic condition, but a complex hierarchy of identity and choice."
"The difficulties faced by those yearning to convert is especially painful for me. This is because my father is Jewish, while my mother is Christian. I converted — twice. After learning the traditional significance placed on matrilineal lineage, I underwent a liberal conversion as an adolescent. Later I underwent a rigorous Orthodox conversion."
(This is the same path as mine! Two conversions...)
"I chose not to share my journey previously because I am now an Orthodox rabbi and, unfortunately, Jews by choice are sometimes perceived as being less authentic or authoritative than those who are Jewish from birth."
"Converts, like immigrants, should feel pride about their journeys and be viewed as courageous for responding to their transformative calling. Deuteronomy tells us, “You shall love the stranger as you were strangers in Egypt.” No other commandment is more essential to the moral destiny of the Jewish people."