I am an aspiring orthodox Jewish convert.
The first time I walked into a more orthodox home, I grew more curious by the second. Before, I only experienced Judaism by reformed Jews who basically only celebrated Hanukkah by lighting a menorah and eating latkes. But the orthodox home was dripping is Jewish culture and tradition. It’s not an understatement for me to say I finally felt close to G-d.
The home I walked into was my future boyfriend’s. Now, we have been living together for 11 months. Understandably, I need to convert for us to marry. However, I love Judaism so much that even if we aren’t together I still want to convert. I sincerely look forward to the day I can invite G-d into my home weekly for Shabbats and love the traditions I continually keep learning.
However…. my boyfriend has NO interest in joining me on this journey. Him AND his family keep telling me that “he’s already Jewish” so he doesn’t need to do or learn anything. While I read endless books, learn Hebrew, learn prayers, learn traditions, learn history, and learn to be myself while dressing modestly, my boyfriend just sits by saying his family wants me to go to shul regularly and reach out to a rabbi they’ve found for me. (I’m waiting to go to shul regularly until I can participate! I know very little of the prayers and I want everyone to see how much I’m growing. For now, I feel like my shabbats are better spent learning how to participate and then using it! The idea of spending hours traveling to Brooklyn to meet with a rabbi also seems like it’ll take more time away from learning! I don’t feel ready yet to show a rabbi my weekly progress. But my boyfriend and his family care more about me showing face I often feel. Quantity over quality….)
My boyfriends family seems to see little progress where I see much! I’ve repeatedly heard from my boyfriend that his family thinks I’m insincere, lack motivation and momentum. (Allow me to also add that I moved to another state to move in with my boyfriend and have gone through 3 jobs this year before finally finding my current full time position. He didn’t work AT ALL these past 11 months…. he also has ADD, which he keep blaming for his lack of adult progress, and I’ve repeatedly found him doctors and health plans that got us nowhere… he also didn’t help around the home much the first six months and he holds his ADD against me every chance he can whenever we discuss how I need him to do more things to show that I CAN trust and rely on him)
Back to Judaism…. Since moving in, I asked to start making the house kosher. He said it was expensive and unnecessary at the time, and has showed no interest. Now, I keep hearing its my fault the home isn’t kosher and he’s waiting on me….. even though I’ve been asking for his help literally since moving in. Now, I’m focusing on learning the Shema, improving my Hebrew reading skills, and I’m reading a book on how to have a kosher kitchen. But he GREW UP in a kosher kitchen yet knows “nothing” according to him. I don’t believe that, and I feel like if he loved me and cared about helping me to make life easier then he could have gotten started on that over these past 11 months of being home ALL DAY.
I’m expected to see his family regularly as well, yet he never reaches out to mine.
I also want to start grad school soon, and I think his family will further think my conversion is going too slow. But I have no idea what rabbi would approve my conversion anyway knowing I’m living with someone Jewish who doesn’t want to LEARN anything Jewish. No prayers, no blessings, no practice shabbats at home, no motivation to help plan our Jewish home, no NOTHING. (But i better learn it all…..) He says occasionally helping me with Hebrew is enough…. I’ve tried simplifying books, making outlines to go over with him, even general discussion. But he has almost no interest….
Often I think his family helps him feel like not learning anything is ok since “he’s already Jewish”. But the idea of having children with him terrifies me. Am I expected to teach them everything alone?? It’s also ironic in a way because I’m converting out of true love and sincerity, yet it feels like his family only cares for marriage….
Our past October went HORRIBLY because he had zero motivation to help plan our schedules so that we wouldn’t miss any of the holidays. However,we missed quite a few of them because of how much I had to balance and keep up with in life. “He’s already Jewish” yet his mother also keeps saying “He doesn’t know any of that! I do the planning.” While his family acts disappointed in us for missing important things, I feel like they keep looking at me and inferring I don’t want this enough, I should be on top of everything alone, and that my boyfriend doesn’t need to have any motivation.
I’m so close to moving out… I feel like if I leave then I’ll have even more time to study, and I could convert AND return to grad school without unnecessary stress. I don’t mind if the process takes 2 years! It’s a lot to learn! The people around me should be proud and supportive, but I feel nothing for the sole burden of responsibility for me AND my boyfriend.
I’m heartbroken that my dream of us learning this together is dead. Clearly him and his family expected me to deal with this alone. (All while being the sole provider and taking care of his adult needs….. idk why my conversion is what determines if we marry because he’s done nothing to show he can take care of himself, let alone kids, or work to save money for a home or life in general! But my actions determine is we marry…. yea ok….)
If I’m expected to completely do this alone (since his family’s excuses for why he doesn’t need to learn anything or help make it extra clear past my own assumptions based on his actions….), then why don’t I just move out and do it as alone as I feel? I also won’t feel so responsible for taking care of myself and my boyfriend, feeling complete responsibility for OUR success, making ends meet alone, and loosing sleep over the idea that if I get sick then everything will fall apart…
Conversion is an indicator of how a marriage may go, and it’s scaring me….
Thoughts?? 🙁 have you experienced this before?? And any thoughts of how that could impact my conversion??