Tuesday, October 25, 2011

It's Time for Your Opinion: Conversion for Marriage.

A friend is letting me post this here, so be kind and focused with your responses. I'll be writing my own, but I want to hear what you folks have to say first!
I live in a community with a lot of converts, which is nice in that there are a lot of people who I share a common experience with and who I can make feel more welcome and comfortable by saying "hey I did that too!" but it's also not-so-nice because of some of the sentiments in the community--being "one of the rabbi's converts," etc.

Recently some of my friends, who are single, have been complaining about the number of people in our community who got engaged/married right after their conversions were finalized. (The rabbi openly states he will convert for marriage, provided the prospective convert prove they would keep halakha even if the relationship ended.) A male friend says that he, as an ffb, feels cheated for doing what he was raised to do--only date Jewish girls--because people in the community date "out" and their girlfriends convert. A female friend, also born Jewish, feels like her odds to get a Jewish man are lower if there's a culture wherein it's essentially OK to date non-Jews who will convert.

I say this not to call out these converts--it's not my business and I can't read their hearts and minds--but because I'm frustrated with hearing my good friends saying "there's a problem with converts in this shul, no offense." While I think they have valid reasons for at least feeling upset (whether or not I agree with them), the "no offense" part hits me the hardest. Has anyone had similar experiences, either with this issue in particular, or simply with others criticizing others' conversions to you?