Hello! I am a Chinese person living in Canada and I have been drawn to Judaism since childhood and have been thinking about converting to Judaism for about 3-4 years, but after having terrible experiences with Christianity for much of my life (my Chinese parents were areligious but we were very poor as immigrants and Christians helped us… now both my parents are devoutly Christian), I have been quite afraid of believing in any sort of G-d. I finally decided recently that I was going to convert, and while I’ve already been doing research for years, I’ve contacted a rabbi in order to ask questions about Judaism and maybe attend Shabbat services to “get a feel” for it. I’ve also been doing a lot of research from a prospective convert’s perspective instead of from an impartial outsider’s.
So, that’s a general idea of what my story is like, but I have some questions that are bugging me.
If I convert to Conservative Judaism (it speaks to me the most), will I be able to make aliyah? I’ve read news about converts having their conversions seen as invalid when they convert to any non-Orthodox denomination.
Are Jewish communities generally accepting of Chinese Jews (especially converts)? There aren’t a lot of Chinese people who are also Jewish, convert or otherwise, and I worry about not being accepted or feeling alienated for being both a convert and Chinese.
In the same vein of being accepted, are Conservative synagogues in Canada accepting of LGBT individuals? Am I still able to convert if I am gay?
This question is less about converting to Judaism and is more something that has been bugging me, and it’s about my own ancestry. (Feel free to ignore/skip to the end if you don’t want to read a huge block of text.) My father is from pretty close to Henan, which has the city Kaifeng (you can see where this is going). He also knows a lot, a lot about the Kaifeng Jews and about how their culture and religion basically disappeared. A lot of my family history from both my parents’ sides are just… not there, but for my dad, there’s not much I have besides some silver coins that his grandfather hid when the communists raided the house. To top it all off, my family name (my dad’s last name) originated from Kaifeng as well. What I’m asking isn’t whether you guys can tell if I have Jewish heritage, but I’m more asking for advice on what to do with this. My dad has said anti-semitic things before, and he’s now devoutly a Christian (still does some morally questionable things, but Christians weren’t always known to be extremely moral), so I’m not sure if it’s appropriate to ask him about our heritage, and if we have any connection to the Kaifeng Jews. And if I do ask him, does anyone have tips on how to go about it? Should I even ask him? Is it irrelevant?
Thank you so much and I’m very sorry my post is so long, but this really has been something I’ve been thinking about for a long time, and I just really want to… return home.