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Ask Amy: Boy must talk to folks before converting to Judaism

  • Article by: AMY DICKINSON
  • February 15, 2014 - 2:00 PM

Dear Amy: I am a 12-year-old boy in a strict Italian Catholic family. Recently I have been reading lots of Jewish texts. I want to start conversion to Judaism after my 13th birthday in March, but I don’t think my parents will be supportive.

There is a burden on my heart that can only be eased by freedom to worship at a temple, celebrating Shabbat and keeping kosher. Whenever I make the slightest reference about Judaism, my mom says, “You’re not Jewish, so stop talking about it!”

Recently I tried celebrating a Jewish holiday and my siblings teased me. I want to convert before college and celebrate Judaism for the rest of my life.

I have thought deeply about this for a long time — almost a year. What do you think I should do? How would I go about telling them (if that is the right idea)?

Amy says: Your parents are already aware of your interest in Judaism, and I hope they choose to support this important spiritual journey. If it is possible for you to do so, you should meet with your local rabbi to find out about conversion and to gather his wisdom about how to approach this with your folks. If your family members are regular churchgoers, you could also speak with your church’s youth pastor or parish priest.

At some point you are going to have to speak with your parents about this. You should start by asking them, seriously and sincerely: “I would like to explore converting to Judaism. Will you support me in doing this?” Asking them outright: “Will you support this?” may prompt a “yes.”

If they dismiss your effort at conversion, you may be able to get them to compromise by allowing you to attend Jewish services without converting.

Facebook guests not welcome

Dear Amy: Facebook has created problems with unwanted guests. We are seniors living in the mountains. Everyone wants to visit our area.

We do not know many of these people and live remotely by choice. With Facebook and GPS they are able to land right on our doorstep. Then they would like us to drive them around, take them to dinner, pick up the check, etc.

Some will intrude for days! Yes, we are open to FB friends, but not as guests. How do we head them off at the pass?

Amy says: I hope you are exaggerating. First of all, turn off the “location services” in the settings area of Facebook. There is no need for every Facebook friend to be able to triangulate your location and land on your doorstep. Don’t say exactly where you live and don’t let FB disclose it, either.

Most important, you need to learn to say no. It’s simple. You just say, “Sorry, we don’t want to have houseguests.”

Send questions via e-mail to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribune.com.

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