I want to be a Jew

Yup, I have decided that I want to be a Jew. Not one of those religious Jews, I want to be one of the non - religious Jews. I like the food, Israel will confer citizenship on me, and I really like the idea of a commitment to education and learning a trade. Yup, I want to be a Jew. I have been told that it is not a racial thing, and it is not exclusive, so can anyone tell me, as a non religious person, how to be a Jew?

You must convert. ;j

The only way to be a non-religious Jew(so that you can get Israeli citizenship) for someone who’s not ethnically Jewish is to convert to Judaism. After you get citizenship you can be as non-religious as you want.

Give this website a look-see.

[sub]Google is fun[/sub]

The State of Israel’s “Law of Return” grants automatic citizenship to any Jew upon request. This law defines “Jew” as someone who has a Jewish mother, or who converted to Judaism.

There is currently a lot of debate in Israel, and in the Israeli courts, concerning the definition of “conversion” for this purpose. For example, does the conversion have to be done through an Orthodox Jewish rabbi, or are more liberal definitions also acceptable.

I could be wrong, but I cannot imagine any Jew or Jewish organization who would accept a conversion under terms such as you have described. Jews are very split on what it is that the Jewish religion requires of us, but (as far as I know) all agree that it IS a religion, and someone who wants specifically to become a non-religious Jew will not be accepted.

I have found that conversion to Judaism is similar to acquiring American citizenship. Some people are born into it; they are Jews/Americans regardless of their beliefs. Certain actions might result in the loss of certain priveleges, but membership in the group remains inviolate. But that refers only to those whose membership is by right of birth. Those who seek to join the group must follow a specific path, and demonstrate a willingness to share in the official stated goals of the group.

Enjoying American culture is not sufficient grounds to become and American. See page 28 at http://www.ins.gov/graphics/services/natz/insfnl.pdf for the text of the oath which a person must take to become an American citizen. Judaism requires no less.

Yes, I know that conversion is possible by accepting the faith, but I don’t want to accept the faith. I want to be a non - religious Jew. I understand that there are Jews who do not accept the faith, I like that idea. How do I become Jewish without accepting the faith?

You can’t.

Why not?

Well of course not. Enjoying Israeli culture is not sufficient grounds to become Israeli, but being Jewish is.

Keeve is right. A non-citizen can march around the United States proclaiming how much he/she loves America all he/she wants, but that doesn’t make him/her American. You need to go through a formal, recognized process.

Also, as Keeve mentioned, there is debate in Israel on the “who is a Jew” question. However, among Orthodox groups, there is no debate - either you convert according to Halacha (Jewish Law), or you’re not Jewish.

Okay, Sweet Willy. We get that you think Judaism is the biggest racist group of people on the planet today. This thread is just merely one more of your feeble attempts to make Jews look bad.

However, all you’re doing is making yourself look worse than you did before.

OK, let me get this straight. I can accept the Jewish faith and become Jewish. If I don’t accept the faith, I am not able to be Jewish. So why is it that the faith accepts birth rights if accepting the faith is so important? You know, people who are only Jewish by ancestry. Why?

Monty , I would like to develop an understanding of just what “Jewish” means in a way that doesn’t set off my internal “racism” alert. There are athiest Jews. Most insist it is not a race. So how do I join, absent race or religion?

Sweet Willy, there are two ways to become Jewish. You can be born Jewish, or you can convert. It’s too late for the first route, and you’re not willing to take the second route. It follows that you cannot become Jewish.

I don’t see why you’re having a problem with this.

Bingo. We have comprehension.

Why do we automatically confer American citizenship upon kids born to parents in this country? It’s not like the baby pops out of the womb reciting the pledge of allegiance and swearing an oath of fealty to the U.S.A. However, for someone wishing to immigrate to this country, they must jump through a few hoops before being granted formal citizenship. Why the different treatment? We do it because that’s the way the rules are set up, and tough noogie to anyone who doesn’t like it.

The Jewish tradition is to state that a child born of a Jewish mother is Jewish. It’s more or less that simple, and has nothing to do with your angle on conversion.


This is not a complicated issue.

Jews are, as has been said, either born Jewish or converts. You were not, I assume, born Jewish, so to be a Jew, you need to convert.

Now, unlike both Christianity and Islam, Judaims is not a proselytzing religion. There has never been a Jewish Crusade or Jihad; Jews let non-Jews believe any old thing they want.

And, while it is possible to be Jewish, it aint’ easy.

You’ll need to convince a Beit Din (Rabbinical Court) that you’re serious. The Talmud instructs such courts to turn most petitioners away as a matter of policy.

Now, you’re asking this question so that you can call Israel’s Law of Return racist. I’m not sure what the fancy name for such an argument is… I call it silly and longwinded. A Jew is a Jew. Jews get to live in Israel. You’re not a Jew. You don’t. Period.

Sweet Willy, if become a Jew, then I want to become a Gentile. :smiley:

[sup]How do I convert to Gentile?[/sup] :confused:

Why do you try to equate citizenship with being Jewish? I hve been to great lengths to establish the connection of Israel with Jews. I have been reminded that Jews <> Israel. What is your point on citizenship? America does not confer citizenship on anyone due to religious birth rights.

Well, for some anyway. For others it is very, very, easy. All you have to do is be born.

You could if you wanted to.


I’m not trying to equate citizenship, American or otherwise, with being Jewish. I was drawing what some folks call an analogy. You do know what an analogy is, do you? I only ask because sometimes it pays not to assume what another person knows in debates.

You forgot to finish that last sentence. It should read, “…be born to a Jewish mother.”

Err… no. Not actually. You see, Judaism does not allow one to “renouce his/her religion.” If I decided right now to stop practicing Judaism and begin practicing Buddhism, I would simply be a non-practicing Jew.