I’m sure this is a common post on this sub, but I need advice and, frankly, don’t have many places to go. Anything is much appreciated.
I am fully Jewish – my family emigrated from the former USSR and both my parents (and both of theirs) are Jewish. However, we’re all very Reformed aside from my grandparents, who only recently transitioned to Modern Orthodoxy. We rarely attend Shabbat dinners, celebrate only the high holidays, and do not keep kosher. However, I am even less interested in Judaism than my immediate family; keeping kosher and regularly celebrating Shabbos aren’t on my radar right now.
My parents have always been open to me dating non-Jews. But since it’s important to me for my kids to be Jewish, I haven’t once considered marrying a non-Jew until now. I met my current girlfriend in law school and we recently moved in together. She’s kind, beautiful, smart, comes from a successful family, and believes in me just as I believe in her. Dating her is like dating my best friend. I couldn’t imagine being with someone else. But as the title states, she is not Jewish. She was born Catholic, although her immediate family rejected all religion after a series of family tragedies following her birth; as such, she’s only been to church twice with her grandmother. My girlfriend is the only one in her immediate family of five to believe in G-d, but was never exposed to any religious education whatsoever. Nevertheless, we talked about conversion. She is obviously scared because she’s never experienced religious education, but actively states that she would go through Guyur if it meant marrying me. This is after we’ve both read up on it.
Initially, my mother was incredibly supportive of our relationship. She encouraged us moving in together and – like any good mother would – was thrilled at how much my girlfriend loves me and makes me happy.
Fast forward a couple weeks: the problem arises. I realized… I do not want to go through Guyur. While I want my children to be raised Jewish, I do not want to transition to an Orthodox lifestyle. I do not know how to read or understand Hebrew. I do not want my girlfriend and I to go through such a difficult process at the start of our legal careers. But as soon as I told my parents this, they disapproved. To them, it’s Guyur or nothing. Guyur or I “cannot” marry this incredible girl. Guyur or my children are not Jewish to them, despite them being the farthest thing from Orthodox.
Fortunately, I pay my own rent, insurance, tuition, etc. I made it a goal of mine to be financially independent from my parents because of my mother’s extremely controlling tendencies. But the arguments between my mother and I create a constant, unresolved tension. My family won’t disown me, but in her words I will “destroy them” by marrying this girl without her having done through Guyur. I don’t understand why she can’t just go through a lesser conversion, as we could just convert our children in their infancy. Either way, I want to know how to resolve this dispute without alienating my family. It goes without saying that my girlfriend won’t start converting until after we’re engaged, but I don’t plan to propose for another year. This just seems like a problem with no currently actionable solution.