I am a Gentile trying to convert to Judaism, but I am also disabled and dependent upon my immediate family for my food, shelter, etc. I am afraid that if I tell my family about my intended conversion, they will stop all support of me at an instant and I would be helpless in terms of money, shelter, and the like. Telling family about conversion is intimidating enough under normal circumstances, but in addition to that I am afraid for my material well-being should I tell them. I know G-d will provide in all things, but I sometimes wonder if I am meant to stay a Gentile in order to make sure I am provided for. I sincerely believe in the Tanakh and G-d's oneness, and want to live a Jewish life, but I have no idea how to do so without endangering my well-being. Any advice would be helpful.
The Rabbis teach that G-d does not seek to impose tyranny on His creations. This means, among other things, that G-d does not ever demand that a Gentile become Jewish, and that a Gentile who believes in G-d and His Torah and tries sincerely to follow its directives for all humanity merits eternal life. The rabbis frame such directives as the “Seven Noachide commandments”, and there are formal Noachide societies in the United States. But it is not necessary to join such a society to be a true servant of G-d, let alone to convert.
All that said, you may feel that only conversion can truly fulfill you religiously, or enable you to be who you understand yourself to be. You may also be frustrated that your economic dependence is a restraint on your spiritual independence. These feelings are absolutely legitimate. But in general, Judaism discourages reliance on miraculous intervention when nonmiraculous means to the same ends are available, and I’m very glad that your family is providing for your material needs.
In any case, I don’t believe that anyone can tell you with confidence that you are meant to remain a Gentile, or not. I encourage you to think less in terms of fate and destiny – all based on circumstances that can change in an instant - and more in terms of what you can and cannot practically do right now, if nothing else changed.
It seems to me from your narrative that you have the option to study Judaism, and in any case conversion should be an extended process that requires a great deal of learning and mentoring. So there is no reason not to start, just because there is a chance you may be unable to finish. You may find that the relative religious autonomy of Noachides is a better fit than the discipline of Jewish law, or your family may come around if they see that Judaism is a source of joy for you and seems an authentic expression of your soul.
My suggestion is that you seek to develop a deep relationship with a rabbi whose counsel seems wise to you, and perhaps options will open that are not currently apparent. I also want to make clear that disability is not generally a relevant factor in conversion conversations.
I wish you all blessings and success on your journey.
Your passion for monotheism, the Tanakh and for living a Jewish life is commendable. My suggestion would be to find a local rabbi with whom you could develop a relationship and who could truly guide you through the tricky but meaningful path that lies ahead. Clearly there is no absolute obligation for you to become formally Jewish and in addition, I would not want you to put your welfare at risk. However, in working with someone close at hand, perhaps a path to conversion could be found that would allow you to be at peace with your family and maintain your livelihood. In addition, the advice given to continue to study I think is excellent advice. If you are interested in finding a Conservative rabbi near you perhaps www.uscj.org might help. Behatzlakha – Be well!
I am so sorry that you find yourself in such a predicament. There is really not enough information in this brief paragraph for me to provide you with meaningful advice. I would want to know more about your disability and relationship with your family as well as some of the specific reasons that you are so interested in converting to Judaism. My best advice to you would be to get in touch with a local rabbi who can counsel you as to your specific situation as well as explain to you what would be required for you to take the steps necessary for conversion. Typically this would include as much as a year of study, reading, discussions with your rabbi, etc.
In order to contact a Reform rabbi, I suggest that you explore the website for the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) at www.urj.org. I am certain that you will be able to find a rabbi who can better help you explore your Jewish spiritual path.
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