Conversion tests friendship
By Kathy Mitchell & Marcy Sugar Annie’s Mailbox January 24, 2013 1:28PM
Updated: February 26, 2013 6:27AM
Dear Annie: I am in the process of converting to Judaism. Among other things, this involves eating only kosher food. Initially, it was difficult, but I know that doing this brings me closer to understanding more of my new religion.
My problem is that most of my friends, including some Jewish friends, have an issue with my eating habits. They say eating kosher is “outdated,” or they imply that I think I’m better than they are. They actively discourage my efforts. This confuses me because I don’t scold my friends for eating cheeseburgers or pork, and I never insist on any special treatment.
Conversion is not an easy process, and I’d like the support of my friends, but it’s hard to keep my head up sometimes, especially during meals together. How do I approach this? Do I need new friends?
Questioning in California
Dear Questioning: Maybe. Your friends think conversion will change who you are and the relationship they have with you. They feel marginalized by your new religious interest and are trying to undermine your convictions. This is all about them and their needs. If you are truly committed to conversion, you should not be so easily derailed. Please talk to your rabbi. If you attend services at a synagogue, see whether they have a social group for those in your age bracket. You are more likely to make new friends and find support there.
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