My fiance is Jewish but I am not -- advice, please?

I love Jewish culture and Jewish customs with such a passion that it sometimes makes me cry. I would love to convert to Judaism -- however, I don't believe in God (no matter how hard I try -- because, really, I have tried). So obviously this prohibits me from converting, because I won't be able to follow the 613 Mitzot.

I know it's not a huge problem -- we can still observe Jewish traditions and raise the children Jewish, etc., but it bothers me, because Traditional Judaism does not permit interfaith marriages. Also, I really want a Jewish wedding ceremony (but of course we can't have one if I'm not Jewish)...

In case it's relevant, my fiance and his family don't practice their Judaism and have never tried to get me to convert (or even encouraged me to).

What should I do? Should I just get over it? Or should I try harder to believe in God? If so, how? Please help.

Thanks.

Update:

Bethnyc: Thanks for the info. As for my fiance, he'd be happy to have a Jewish wedding if I wanted it; but if we couldn't have one, he'd be okay with that, too.

And my family think a Jewish wedding would be totally fun, so no problem there. :)

Update 2:

Cher: When I said, "tried to believe in God", I meant tried to see God's work in things and have belief of his existence. I do kind of believe in a unified energy of the world that's more than what we are, so it's very good to know that that's close enough. Thank you.

In regards to converting to Reform Judaism: I just feel that Orthodox Judaism is more right for me. Also, I read that only converts to Orthodox Judaism are recognised as Jews by all Jewish movements, and this too influences my decision...

And thanks so much for the information about Reform Rabbis who perform interfaith marriages; I'll definitely look into that. Thank you very much!

Thanks everyone for all your answers!

8 Answers

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I'm not going to try to answer the whole question (because it's very late), but want to ask...

    What do you mean by not believing in God? What have you "done" to try? (I mean these questions the opposite of "you should")

    If you mean that the concept of a personal God doesn't make sense to you, but you have a sense of a unified energy of the world that's more than what we are -- you're believing close enough. If the idea of God seems improbable, but you wonder -- you're believing close enough.

    Judaism isn't about believing. Its about actions. If you choose the actions, it often happens that the believes & feelings follow. If they don't that's okay. But how does one try to believe in God instead of acting with what we imagine God is, what God would be, & let the rest be? You can be a fantastic Jew by acting with God inside you, without an ounce of "belief". The point is to bring the energy into this world & elevate it, not to meet someone's standards on what to believe. In a modern world of science, the beliefs make less sense against this backdrop - intellectually, but it doesn't change the value of acting within them.

    Also, God is a complicated concept. Maybe you've been trying hard to fit a picture that is too rigid. The Jewish concept of God is multi-faceted. Maybe if you learn more about it & revisit it, you will feel more comfortable.

    From what you describe at being touched by the traditions, I'd think -- you are already connected to God or at least to what it means in Judaism, you just don't recognize it yet because you were expecting something else, maybe something with more fireworks?

    Even if you're not connected to God, I hope something in here gives you a new way to look at it. It sounds best if you start talking with a Rabbi, take some classes, find others to talk to about their feelings on their relationship... I hope you find the answer your looking for, in one way or another one. You deserve it.

    ==============

    Plushy

    Never heard that one about Reconstructionist not believing in God (I've attended various ones including one particular for a long time).

    (Edit: After looked at the jrf site, it appears to be a synoguage specific view & not a Reconstructionist one. This page has reference to the relationship: http://www.jrf.org/showres&rid=141.)

    Humanistic doesn't "believe" in God and they also are not officially accepted as a branch of Judaism. After reading a bunch of mission statements, I found most seem to have a concept of universal energy just not a personal God concept, although it varied greatly.

    Edit: I know what you mean. My answers get long when I try to be fully clear & accurate, so sometimes I try for a generalized statement that's good enough :).

  • 1 decade ago

    There are some good posts (and some irrelevant posts as well, but that's R&S!)

    If you really do wish to look into conversion, check out not only Reform, but also Reconstructionist and Humanistic Judaism. The Reconstructionist party line is that they do not believe in G-d as a deity, but of course you know that there are many Reconstructionists who DO (like me - 20 people and 40 opinions!). Humanistic Jews do not believe in G-d as well.

    It's often a question of (as Mark S. would put it) - doing Jewish. Being a good person and doing good things in your life for others is doing Jewish.

    Check out: www.jrf.org for more information and good luck to you! Mazel Tov!

    Cher - true; it's a confusing point, but wanted to simplify it for the answer, hence the link. Thank you for the actual page!

    I still stand by this though - 20 of us with 40 opinions! :-)

    Source(s): Reconstructionist Jew
  • 1 decade ago

    OK--couple of things:

    1. You don't have to believe in G-d to convert. My rabbi didn't believe in G-d until maybe 12 years ago, give or take. This is Reform Judaism, however, and it will be a bit of a hurdle, that's for sure. Having said that, one famous Chassidic story goes like this:

    Rabbi Moshe Leib said:

    "There is no quality and there is no power of man that was created to no purpose. And even base and corrupt qualities can be uplifted to serve God. When, for example, haughty self-assurance is uplifed it changes into a high assurance in the ways of God. But to what end can the denial of God have been created? This too can be uplifted through deeds of charity. For if someone comes to you and asks your help, you shall not turn him out with pious words, saying: 'Have faith and take your troubles to God!' You shall act as if there were no God, as if there were only one person in all the world who could help this man--only yourself."

    2. As far as getting married by a rabbi--some Reform rabbis will do interfaith marriages, many will not. You will have to do some research iif you're going to go this route.

    I suggest contacting the following website--there are people there who specialize in dealing with interfaith and Jewish issues.

  • 1 decade ago

    You can have a ceremony if you are married by a reform rabbi. I've been to weddings where the only officiant was a rabbi and they were married under the Chuppah etc and the groom was not jewish. If they aren't observant than they wouldn't be involved in a conservative or orthodox synagogue. Perhaps your fiance doesn't want a Jewish wedding. Have you discussed this with him? I would discuss this with him and see what you will both be comfortable with and also, have you considered your family? Will they be happy if they are not represented? Ultimately it is your wedding but you may have to consider others as well..

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  • 1 decade ago

    Only comments from the peanut gallery

    Really like Cher's comment/answer. I could not have put it as well as you just did.....I was thinking the same thing

  • 1 decade ago

    Don't worry about pesky religion and enjoy life.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Pray for him to convert to Christ. Jesus is the only way to Salvation.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    My advice: find a new fiance.

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