Is a convert considered just as Jewish as a person who was born Jewish?
I was raised as a Muslim, a traditional Muslim, but I never felt that way, so when I was about 15 years old, I called myself a non-believer. As a part of Muslim belief we were taught about the biblical stories about Moses and Christianity as well, and I was fascinated by the Jewish religion (sorry about my English, I am not very good at it). I studied Economics at college and I was always into social studies and personally read a lot about history. I am now 23 years old and I believe that there must be an order in the world and I feel Judaism very close to my heart. The question is that it’s a very common belief around here is that ‘you cannot become Jewish but could only born as one’. I wonder if I could be assumed as a real Jew if I converted, or if it would never be like being born and raised as a Jew? I would be very glad if you could answer this for me.
Thanks for your question. You can 100% convert and if you do it in accordance with Jewish law, you will be considered Jewish by everyone. The Torah itself speaks about conversion. Moses’s wife, Tzipora was a convert, and the most famous conversion story in Judaism is written about Ruth in the book of Ruth.
You must keep something in mind though: not only do we not proselytize within Judaism, we don’t take converts unless they are truly sincere. While a Jewish life is a rewarding one, there are also many responsibilities that it entails. I personally feel that it’s well worth it, but when a person attempts to convert, a rabbi will try rather hard to dissuade him from doing so. This is not because we don’t allow conversion or consider converts to be real Jews, but rather because we don’t want someone taking on the obligations of being Jewish if they’re not serious about follow through with them.
Once a person converts (according to Jewish law), not only is he considered 100% Jewish, you’ll be glad to know, the Torah instructs Jews to treat the convert especially nice because it reminds us that we were once “strangers in a strange land.” Meaning we should be extra sensitive to those coming from a different place as well.
Good luck with your journey, whatever you decide.
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