Why I Rarely Do Conversions
Rabbi Yehudah ben Shomeyr
In the past and in recent days I have had many people come to me desiring to convert to Natsari Judaism but I have had to turn them down. Why? Do I believe in conversion? Yes, absolutely, as opposed to many in the Messianic movement who feels it is moot and unnecessary. Then why will I rarely take someone under my wing and lead them in the path of conversion?
1. Because I am just one man and taking on a convert is a one to three year commitment of time and money and other resources (depending upon the candidates progress) of both parties involved, that I simply do not have, coupled with my family and ministerial responsibilities. Also, it is a deep commitment of time and resources that many potential converts are simply unwilling to make. Many people really have no idea what all is involved in the conversion process and when they hear the whole schpeal, they decline anyway.
2. Being one man with a ministry with very little manpower, I have no one at this time to delegate such a responsibility to on my behalf.
3. Just like long distant relationships rarely work, long distant conversions rarely work out due to the fact one can track the candidates academic progress but without meeting one on one, face to face it is very difficult to gage ones spiritual progress. I actually tried a long distance conversion program and it was a miserable failure and it was made clear to me by HaShem that this is not the right way to go about filling this need in the Messianic/Natsari community.
4. I take conversion very seriously and have great trepidations in taking on a potential convert whom I have not personally met nor have been able to spend time with. It is like birthing a child who must be cared for and I am not willing to give birth and leave a baby on someone else’s doorstep. I do not want to be like a spiritual gigolo converting people left and right and not able to effectively disciple and help such a person afterwards to grow in the Faith.
Perhaps in the future the LORD will make it so that Abrahams Descendants International will be able to take on candidates for conversion; however, that time is not now.
One must understand also that a conversion under a Messianic and Natsari movement will only carry weight within these movements and is not recognized by Mainstream Judaism or the state of Israel. Sadly, some have ulterior motives and only want to be converted in order to make aliyah to Israel and be officially recognized as a Jew.
I realize there is a great need for Messianic and Natsari Rabbis willing to take on converts, but the sad fact is we are such a small movement in ratio to the population that congregations who do conversions are few and far between and far away from the one desiring conversion.
My suggestion to those who wish to convert is to make the commitment in your heart, because that is where it begins anyway. Make the conversion privately between you and GOD first. Live as if you already are a convert. It all begins and has to be solidified in the heart before it can be made manifest outwardly. Make sure your heart is circumcised before you seek conversion. Then pray the LORD leads you to a place and a people that can help walk you through the conversion process. Keep in mind a sheet of paper issued by man in the scheme of things actually means very little. It is what is in the heart that counts.
I DO NOT recommend that you convert under a non-believing Jewish sect because if they find out you are a believer in Messiah Yeshua they will persecute you and boot you out or they will try and get you to renounce your belief in Yeshua.