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I want to convert to Judaism (Orthodox), but the nearest synagogue is 3 hours away (Bible belt!)

Okay, so for background. I am technically Jewish already, I just have no way to prove it, so I may as well not be. My great grandmother was fully Jewish. She had my grandma, who was raised somewhere in between Christianity and Judaism in terms of religious practice. We are from Latin America and Judaism doesn’t fly there, so they publicly went to church but practiced Judaism at home, if that makes sense. My grandma ended up fully converting to Christianity (although retaining some random Jewish customs) later in life because of a LOT of antisemitic trauma she went through. My mother is Christian and has always been Christian. However, in terms of maternal lineage, I am Jewish. I just can’t prove it (I think). My family still has menorahs and star of David necklaces and other Judaica that have been passed down. There is only one synagogue in my home country but it was only established 20 years ago. Maybe there was one before that, when my great grandmother was alive. But in any case, as far as I know, there isn’t really any documentation. It’s just family knowledge. Some random family members have returned to Judaism. They live all around the world, though.

Anyway, I want to convert Orthodox because I want to be recognized as Jewish by the wide Jewish community, not just by Reform standards or by Conservative standards. I also have a deep sense of imposter syndrome and am interested in following the Torah and performing mitzvot very closely since I sort of missed out on the whole Jewish upbringing thing for ~20 years. Anyway, there are only two synagogues in my town but they are Reform and Conservative. The nearest Orthodox synagogue is 3 hours away! Should I email an Orthodox rabbi about this? I mean, since there’s a pandemic, it’s not like we’d be meeting in person anyways. But I still feel weird emailing someone who is 3 hours away. Would I likely be turned down since I’m so far? SOS 🙁 Should I just reach out to the Reform/Conservative people? From what I understand, Reform wouldn’t consider me Jewish anyway if I wasn’t raised Jewish. I feel a real pull towards starting to practice Judaism but doing it alone is both difficult and lonely and also a bit confusing.

submitted by /u/sincerelysleepy1
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