Hello! I am hoping to convert to Judaism at a Reform temple. I’ve been attending events and services and have really been enjoying myself. Most of the congregation is very kind and welcoming to new people.
For background on my situation, I have autism. This means that when I become interested in things, I tend to become REALLY interested in things. It’s a classic trait of the condition. These intense interests are called “special interests” and are often marked by a strong desire to talk about and research the interest. I would say that various aspects of Judaism have become a special interest of mine. I’m reading about various aspects of Jewish culture, I enjoy coming to this subreddit, and I attend as many temple events as I can. I talked to the temple’s Rabbi about this, and he said that this isn’t a problem.
However! When I discussed my special interest in Judaism to a member of the congregation, they warned me about something called Philo-Semitism. They characterized it as a bad thing to be avoided, and I got nervous. When I looked up the definition on Wikipedia (an admittedly limited source), the characteristics of Philo-Semitism seemed to describe how I feel. In short, I admire and respect Jewish people and Jewish culture, and love learning about Judaism. However, I don’t claim to know much about Judaism, especially since I just started going to Temple. I know less than one percent of what there is to know about Judaism, but I love what I’ve learned so far and hope to learn more. Does that make me Philo-Semitic? If so, is this a bad thing?
I don’t want to step on any toes here. Please let me know if I’ve said anything inappropriate or incorrect. Thank you for taking the time to read such a long post!