Ask Amy: Converting is a touchy topic

February 15, 2014 

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. Should I say anything, or should I hold my peace until moving out of the house in five years? Honestly, I don't think it can wait that long.

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!"

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)?

— Confused

Dear Confused: 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 the process of conversion and to gather his wisdom about how to approach this with your folks.

At some point you are going to have to speak with your parents about this. You should start the process 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.

Dear Amy: This is a suggestion for "Drowning in Baby Supplies."

I am an aunt to 13 nieces and nephews. Birthdays, Christmases and special occasions can get expensive for me.

I decided that at age 5, instead of giving a present I put money into an investment account for them to receive when they are 18.

Although my gift is lame while they are too young to appreciate it, I become the coolest aunt when they get a huge check on their 18th birthday.

— Aunt money bags

Dear Aunt: This is a fantastic idea. Thank you.

 

You can contact Amy Dickinson via email at askamy@tribune.com, follow her on Twitter @askingamy or "like" her on Facebook.

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