I thought about changing some of the details, but I’m just going to try to be as honest as possible.
I’ve been “in the [Orthodox] conversion process” for the past five years. This hasn’t been on any reluctance on my part, but simply because I’ve been moving around a lot. This means a new Beis Din every few years, and now with COVID they’ve essentially put everything on hold.
I’m way past the point of having difficulties with halachic observance. I’m fine with keeping Shabbos, davening, wearing a kippah + tsitsis, none of that bothers me.
But more recently, really for the first time, I’ve been having serious and profound doubts. Just some things that really bother me:
It occurred to me recently that if someone asked me “Would a society run by Orthodox Jews be a better or worse society than the one we live in right now?” I…actually have serious doubts that the answer would be “better.” This has led me to question a lot of the things I believe, and whether my religion actually has a positive impact on the world.
The fact that no matter how frum you are, there will always be a contingent of people who will consider you not-Jewish, and the expression of opinions objectionable to certain people will lead them to question the legitimacy of your status. I’ve seen this happen to several people. I realize, yes in theory, a convert is always a Jew, but I also realize that there are a sizeable number of people who would love to de-Jew you if you step out of line.
I don’t want to talk about where I live exactly right now, but let’s just say that the wearing of religious garments or symbols of any kind is deeply frowned upon, and viewed as threatening to national identity. This has sort of led me to an identity crisis.
I’m starting to worry that I’m only justifying my conversion because of the fact that I’ve invested so much time and energy into this. When I try to talk myself into going through with this, I realize I often give what seem to be bad reasons:
Without my community, I won’t have any friends. I can’t imagine how lonely I’d be without my shul.
I would love to bring my future children up in a Jewish household
If I’m not a Jew, what even am I?
Leaving now would mean I’ve been wasting my time for the past five years. I’ve put so much effort into halachic knowledge and Hebrew fluency.
Leaving now would mean I’ve failed at something.
Where would I find structure in my life?
Where would I ever find spiritual comfort and meaning?
I deliberately thought about changing the story to someone who was a ba’al tshuvah, because I know that there’s a tendency to say “This is Judaism. Don’t like it? Go away,” and waive off my concerns. Please don’t do that.