I converted Conservative in the US in a small and warm community. My reasons for converting were spiritual, I guess. But I was also looking to just belong to something bigger than myself. Judaism just feels right for me. I learned a lot about Judaism and Jewish cultures, I learned some Hebrew, celebrated the Jewish holidays, made friends, and even taught at my synagogue’s Hebrew School. I grew up in the US. For personal reasons, I moved back to Mexico two years after completing my conversion, figuring I could just integrate into a community here.
Upon arriving, I contacted a few Ashkenazi Orthodox shuls to get to know the community since most people here seem to be Orthodox and because I was interested in becoming more observant (and maybe converting again lol). I was “interviewed” by two young adults around my age at a Starbucks on Shabbos and didn’t hear from them again. I later learned from a rabbi that I can’t be allowed into an Orthodox synagogue due to “security issues” and because my conversion wasn’t Orthodox, though I suspect it’s mostly the latter. “Ok”, I thought, “I respect their reasoning for excluding me because to them I’m not Jewish. I’ll just contact the Conservative communities and see what’s up.”
After constantly being ignored by leadership in the Ashkenazi Orthodox communities (I never contacted the Syrian ones), I noticed the same thing was happening with the Conservative ones. Assuming I wouldn’t be allowed into those either without someone’s approval, I played along and pretended a shul I was in contact with was too “busy” to consider my membership for a few months. Their rabbi then called me and basically said it’d be difficult for my membership application to be approved, given the anti-convert sentiment there. “Not convert-friendly” was how he put it. Needless to say I haven’t heard back from them either. Chabad is the only place where I’ve been allowed in, but I don’t feel comfortable with how male-dominated it is compared to other Chabad places I’ve been to (I’m a guy btw).
It just hurts to identify with something for a while and then get totally rejected and ignored by what you think is the same group of people, just in a different country. I still keep in touch with folks in the US, but am now less observant and struggling to work out which Jewish stuff to keep in my day-to-day life, since Judaism focuses more on community and family life than the individual level. Judaism is still important to me in some way.
Also, for now I wouldn’t want to move back to the US to alleviate this. I like it here a lot. Why should I move just because a few stuck-up privileged people weren’t nice to me?
TLDR; I converted Conservative in the US, then moved to Mexico City where I’ve felt rejected by the “not convert-friendly” Jewish communities here ever since. I’m less observant as a result, but Judaism is still kind of important to me.
Edited to say I only approached Ashkenazi communities here, not Syrian.
submitted by /u/pal-in-drome_428