Hi all. For most all of my life I’ve been a secular Jew. I’ve always enjoyed the culture and sense of community, but recently I’ve been slowly discovering the religion of my ancestors, and I feel an extremely strong connection. I have explored the idea of being a practicing Jew, studied a little bit of Torah, and I think Reform Judaism might just be a good choice for me. However, there are some questions I have.
Firstly, I am 16. My mother is a secular Jew as well (as are both of my maternal grandparents), but my father is a gentile. I know that this in itself presents no obstacles, but it leads into my big question: do I have to go through the full conversion process because my mother is non-practicing, or am I exempted? I would also add that I am already circumcised.
Secondly, I never got a Bar Mitzvah. I don’t know whether I’ll have to get one or not.
Thirdly, regardless of whether I have to go through the conversion process or not, where do I begin in terms of further study? I’m a bit lost. I don’t know Hebrew, I’ve never been to Shul before, and I don’t know any prayers besides the first two verses of the Shema. I really just want to learn.
To close it off, I have discussed it with my parents and they are both supportive of it. There is a Reform synagogue in my area that advertises itself as open to all, so I figure that’s my best option to start this journey.
Ultimately, I want to be a religious Jew because I feel like it will add an element to my life that I had no idea I had such a longing for. Any help is appreciated. Thanks.