A Former Southern Baptist Speaks Out

About Jewish Conversion and The New Testament ©


Dear Editor,

I found your "sight" quite by accident. The reading has been very interesting to say the least. I must say, first of all, that it is very regrettable that you must expend so much time and energy responding to the ignorant views presented by Christians/Messianics who e-mail you and who, it seems, wish to use your "sight" as a forum for presenting their trash. If these people would just do some historical research, and learn exactly what Mashiach really is, they would see that Jesus just did not fit the bill...nor for that matter did Sabbetai Zevi. And even if Jesus had really been Mashiach, that would not make him "Son of G-d", or G-d Incarnate, or anything of the sort. The whole basis of Christianity is a sham in this
respect. I recognized this fact many years ago. I should note at this point, that I was born to nominally Christian Protestant parents. I became disillusioned with what I recognized as a tremendous falsehood, at a very early age. Consequently, I studied about Judaism and earnestly sought gerut (conversion) over the course of several years. It wasn't until my late 20's that I completed a conversion process under the auspices of the Conservative movement. I was bothered almost immediately by the knowledge that such a conversion would not be considered kosher throughout all of Klal Yisrael, and so I approached a strict Orthodox rabbi here in Denver regarding gerut. I knew what I was asking for, after years of study. I spent two full years associated with the aforementioned rabbi's shul, studying for kosher gerut. The one great stumbling block--so it seemed to me at the time--was that I was married to a non-Jewish woman, who would also need to convert, if I was to proceed. I tried to be as observant as I possibly could, shomer Shabbat, keeping kosher, observingtaharat hamishpachah. The only problem was, that I always fell short, and suffered tremendously as a result--always guilty, always felt that I was too weak to really be observant. I grew progressively more miserable. In addition, the joy that I had once felt in Yiddishkeit had been eclipsed by my obsessive preoccupation with the minutiae of observance. Ultimately, I had a kind of emotional breakdown, which was accompanied by the collapse of my marriage. My divorce would have afforded me the prime opportunity to continue with gerut, but instead, I disassociated myself from the Jewish community. That would seem to me the surest "sign" that I was not meant to become a Jew. Several years have passed since all this, and while I still have strong feelings about Yiddishkeit, and a great love of Torah and Klal Yisrael, I realize that from a practical standpoint, I could never be totally observant--I have a job that requires me to work most Saturdays, and kosher food is prohibitively expensive--though I do have strong leanings toward vegetarianism at this point in my life. In addition, I have remarried...a non-Jewish woman, who is a very kind and loving individual. So while I wholeheartedly accept the binding aspect of Mitzvot, the practical aspect of that eludes me. And in truth, a Jew is such by virtue of practice. I hope that you may refer to this letter any time someone approaches you regarding conversion. From someone who knows, it is very difficult, and would require such a great change in lifestyle--as much as, if not more so than in belief. I have such great love and respect for all of Klal Yisrael, but I do really believe that non-Orthodox gerut does a real disservice to not only the Jewish People, but to the ger as well. A hundred years ago, non-Othodox conversion would not even have been an option--there was only one way, the kosher way--as indeed there still is only one true way of gerut. I now accept myself as a goy, but one who has a special affinity for the Jewish People. I continue on my spiritual quest, but finally feel at peace and whole. May G-d bless you always.

With warmest regards,

Ken S.


Shalom Ken,

As I understand this situation you were a Southern Baptist, your wife was Viet Namese and your children were somewhere in between. This is a most difficult situation. It is more difficult than our readership will comprehend.

First, your conversion was actually Traditional. It was not performed by the senior rabbi of that particular congregation which then was Traditional but now is Conservative. Actually I know of rabbium who accept the conversions of the rabbi emeritus even after the congregation went from Orthodox to Traditional.

Second, as I understand it, you, your former wife and children all converted under Traditional auspices.

Third, as you stated in your correspondence with us at JewishPath your conversion is NOT accepted by Orthodox Judaism. Yet it is accepted in Yisroel and you could do aliya under your present conversion, G-d forbid!

Fourth, since your conversion is recognized in Yisroel then the question of a Get {a Jewish divorce} comes into question. Have you considered this?

Fifth, you remarried without a Get. Even though that is the situation, your marriage is not recognized by any branch of Judaism because it was to a non Jew.

Sixth, are you Jewish according to the Torah?

Well, the Orthodox position is that you don't need a Get. You're not Jewish. You're former wife was not Jewish, etc.

However, this being the situation, your situation still demonstrates the extreme intricacies of a Jewish conversion and divorce, etc.

Thank you for taking the time to write to us at JewishPath. Thank you for your effort. Few will ever understand all the time { 5 - 7 years}, money, energy and learning you invested just to have the opportunity to make a clear choice not to convert to Orthodox Judaism.

Wishing you the best,

Dr. Akiva G. Belk

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