Question of the Week – Ask the Rabbi
Question:

I often hear rabbis complain that the Jewish people are shrinking due to intermarriage and assimilation. But it is you rabbis who are the major obstacle to Judaism growing! If you would make conversion a bit easier, many more non-Jews would join us. Why do you stubbornly insist on a long and difficult conversion process, when you are closing the door to many potential converts?

This question is definitely relevant considering I had thought I was going to complete my conversion to Judaism – which began some 38 years ago when I had my bris – sometime in the next few weeks.  For the last year I have been corresponding with a Rabbi from Chabad.org who was trying to help me arrange to complete my conversion by going to the mikveh (ritual bath).  When I was adopted as an infant, the Rabbi who officiated over my bris told my mom and dad that I didn’t need to go to the mikveh unless I was going to be an orthodox rabbi.

After my bris I was raised by my family as a Jew and even completed by bar mitzvah studies and came before the community to read my Torah portion.  For all I knew, I was as Jewish as the paschal lamb and matzah.  You can imagine my surprise, a year ago, when I learned through my own study of Torah that my conversion is not considered complete until I immerse in a mikveh under the supervision of a beit din (rabbinical legal court).

My revelations came after I wrote My First Tefillin. As soon as I realized the problem I contacted the “Ask a Rabbi” program through Chabad.org and then spent several agonizing months corresponding with the Rabbi from Chabad.  He asked me to provide proof of my bris, so I tried to contact the orthodox rabbi who officiated at my bris only to find that he passed away a few years back and his grandson had taken over his practice.  Luckily, he was able to find the paperwork for my bris and send me a copy which I forwarded to the Chabad rabbi.  Finally, I was informed that my bris was kosher and I only needed to immerse in the mikveh to complete the conversion process.

Unfortunately, there is no beit din within a hundred miles of where I live so, we determined to wait until I would travel to Los Angeles for my sister’s wedding to do the mikveh.  Now my sister finalized her wedding plans and we are preparing to travel down for the happy event.  So, I contacted the Chabad rabbi about arranging my immersion and he referred me to the Rabbinical Council of California.

Today I spoke with the Rabbinic Administrator and was informed that they are not willing to arrange my immersion unless I am going to move into and join an orthodox Jewish community!

There is no orthodox Jewish community where I live and I am already practicing the most orthodox form of Judaism of anyone in my area.  I am the only person in this area who even puts on tefillin or says Shemah on a daily basis.  Even the local rabbi doesn’t wear tefillin, yet somehow I am not good enough yet to be immersed in the mikveh.

Let my story be a lesson to any Jewish couples adopting a non-Jewish child.  Have the child’s conversion completed properly.  Do not leave it to the child to “decide” when they are older because it becomes prohibitively difficult.

This can also serve as a lesson to those of you who may be frustrated at trying to convert to Judaism now.  If it is this difficult for someone like me, who spent the last 38 years believing he was truly Jewish, then I’m sure whatever hardships you are facing in your own conversion process can be overcome. I can’t help but think that if it was this difficult for Avram Aveinu then Noah would have never been born.

G-d willing I will eventually find my path to join with my brothers and sisters as b’nei Yisrael and will merit to help bring the light of H-shem to the world.

Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean – A7 Exclusive Features – Israel News – Israel National News

Apparently, there is a book titled Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean: How a Generation of Swashbuckling Jews Carved Out an Empire in the New World in Their Quest for Treasure, Religious Freedom–and Revenge which details how many of the Pirates of the Caribbean were actually Jews fleeing the Spanish Inquisition.  Of course, this makes perfect sense, since the Pirates were funded by enemies of Spain it only makes sense that Jews would be among those supporters.

This book does not provide proof that Christopher Colombus was Jewish, it seems clear that he was at least sympathetic to the Jewish plight of religious freedom.

An American soldier makes a blessing on the Four Species in a sukkah set up with the help of the Aleph Institute at a base in the Middle East.

An American soldier makes a blessing on the Four Species in a sukkah set up with the help of the Aleph Institute at a base in the Middle East.

Special Shipments Bring Holiday Cheer to Jewish Soldiers Stationed Abroad – Stories – Chabad-Lubavitch News

I just wanted to share this story about helping our troops feel at home as they fight to bring liberty and democracy to the rest of the world.  The greatest promise of America is that we can be Jewish, Buddist, Muslim, Hindu, Christian, there is no law against practicing any religion.  We can live our lives as pious and observant members of our own religion while also living as patriotic Americans who revere and uphold the Constitution and Bill of Rights upon which the laws of our great country were founded.

Teruah – Jewish Music: Aharon Razels Crembo Song

I remember hearing a great song about an amazing little cream-filled chocolate treat made in Israel called a Krembo.  When I googled the song I found it with this cute little video.  It’s a great song, I be those Crembos are tasty, too.

^^

Tonight and tomorrow the world celebrates the day that G-d gave all mankind a divine soul and the counting of the 5769th new year since Adam and Eve were born.

Rosh Hashanah in a Nutshell – Rosh Hashanah 

L’shana tova (happy new year) to all children of Adam and Eve. (8^D

Airshow in progress to celebrate Israel's 60th anniversary

Israel celebrates its 60th anniversary – Israel News, Ynetnews

More Israeli Independence day news:

IAF Takes to the Skies to Celebrate Israel’s 60th Nationwide

Russian President Medvedev congratulates Israel on Independence Day

Parachutist lands in Tel Aviv beach crowd during independence day bash; 3 seriously hurt

Please, help me continue to spread the truth. Support this blog and feed the kids.

Shop Amazon for Israeli Independence Day

In my quest for understanding my own role in G-d’s plan for the world, I have been blessed to learn some of the wisdom that G-d has been trying to teach ALL of his children. Unfortunately, men have taken these teachings and attributed them to other men. People who truly yearn to understand G-d’s will are misled into violating the number one law to acknowledge the on true G-d and to not replace Him by worshipping idols, other people or our own desires.

In other words, by praying “in the name of…” anybody other than G-d is strictly forbidden. G-d is the only one who can forgive our sins. A man who preaches falsehoods that completely defy G-d’s law as delivered to Moses on Mt. Sinai – like the falsehoods found in the teachings attributed to the Muslim “prophet” Muhammed – is not a prophet of G-d. Those who follow his teachings are being led astray and will be cut off from G-d’s divine holiness if they fail to repent from their dark path and embrace the light of the Seven Laws of Noah.

I found this list of those laws here:

Universal Morality – Action

THE 7 LAWS

1
Acknowledge that there is only one G-d who is Infinite and Supreme above all things. Do not replace that Supreme Being with finite idols, be it yourself, or other beings. This command includes such acts as prayer, study and meditation.

2
Respect the Creator. As frustrated and angry as you may be, do not vent it by cursing your Maker.

3
Respect human life. Every human being is an entire world. To save a life is to save that entire world. To destroy a life is to destroy an entire world. To help others live is a corollary of this principle.

4
Respect the institution of marriage. Marriage is a most Divine act. The marriage of a man and a woman is a reflection of the oneness of G-d and His creation. Disloyalty in marriage is an assault on that oneness.

5
Respect the rights and property of others. Be honest in all your business dealings. By relying on G-d rather than on our own conniving, we express our trust in Him as the Provider of Life.

6
Respect G-d’s creatures. At first, Man was forbidden to consume meat. After the Great Flood, he was permitted – but with a warning: Do not cause unnecessary suffering to any creature.

7
Maintain justice. Justice is G-d’s business, but we are given the charge to lay down necessary laws and enforce them whenever we can. When we right the wrongs of society, we are acting as partners in the act of sustaining the creation.

The Jewish people were chosen to teach these laws to the rest of the world. We were also given the task of keeping all 613 of the laws given to us in the Torah. Understandably, we’ve been having a hard time just keeping our own laws. Fortunately for the world, we are awakening and these universal laws are being spread among the faithful once again.

For those of you who come from a Christian background, please understand that Jesus was a very holy and righteous Jew to whom all Jews are eternally bound, but even Jesus would be very disturbed at the way his image has been elevated and worshipped in the place of G-d. So, by all means, study his life and the writings he inspired, but don’t make the mistake of idolizing him or the people who would ask you to violate G-d’s law in the name of any man.

If you want to know more about how you can serve G-d find your nearest Rabbi and see if he can help you find a proper Torah study group. I have found the following websites helpful:

http://www.noahide.com/

http://www.noahide.org/

http://www.noahidenations.com/

http://www.israelnationalradio.com/

http://www.chabad.org/

You can also google “noahide” and “seven laws of Noah” to find other organizations in your area who can help you learn how you can help bring about G-d’s plan for the world to come.