The World of ‘Jews By Choice’ According to Schvach
by: Schvach Yid
I’ve recently taken up the habit of reading blogs by self-labelled ‘Jews by Choice’. I enjoy their accounts of discovery and self-fulfillment realized through the aegis of religious conversion to Judaism, which they relate through their writings.
First, I want to extend a hearty mazel tov to them all. Secondly, I wish to invite each and every one of them to stop sweating over their decisions to convert to Judaism. Lastly, I encourage these Jews to once and for all accept themselves as Jews. Evidently, some of them don’t; I do!
We Jews come in a great variety of sizes, shapes, complexions, nationalities, races, etc. You get the point. Some of us have succeeded in tracing our Jewish genealogies back many generations. A Simple Jew has posted one such account at http://asimplejew.blogspot.com/2008/01/guest-posting-by-rabbi-shlomo-slatkin.html; it’s a beautiful story told by Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin.
If you’re like me, then the account of one’s Jewish roots can only be traced for four generations or so, yet we are taught by our rabbis that we are Jews by virtue of our matrilineal descent from Sarah. The Kabbalistic account deals with ‘misplaced’ neshamot and their rediscovery. Frankly, I have no idea if my family’s Jewish identity extends back to Sarah, but my ‘Jewishness’ has never been called into question. It could be that my claim as a so-called ‘Jew by birth’ is an unintentional fraud – how can I knowledgably and accurately account for my maternal lineage from a Jewish Biblical origin?
Despite this very real possibility, I have never questioned my Jewish identity; I’m a Jew – the genuine article, and so too I accept converts to Judaism, without proviso.
For the purpose of highlighting our varied forms (I hate using the term ‘diverse’ – it’s become so politically charged, clichéd, and trite), here are some bits from YouTube. Again, the message is clear.