Project Genesis

Judaism and Non-Jews


Intermarriage, Conversion, and Circumsicion

Question: My partner and I have been seeing each other for two and a half years now, and have recently been talking about marriage. I am Jewish (as are both of my parents), but he has no particular faith (although he says that he understands and respects Judaism more than any other religion). I would like to marry him, but only in a synagogue. He is happy to convert to Judaism apart from one thing—he is 41 years old, and the prospect of a circumcision at his age is daunting to say the least. Is there anyway that he could convert and be married in a synagogue without first being circumcised?

Please help, I want to bring my children up in a full Jewish household, but you love who you love…

Answer: Thanks for your email. You are clearly an intelligent person, in love with a special person, and looking for a “way out” to obvious difficulties.

I think your last line is really the beginning. You wrote: “I want to bring my children up in a full Jewish household, but you love who you love…”

Experience, as well as the overwhelming evidence of studies, have shown that you are right—one needs a full Jewish home to keep families Jewish. It is also crucial to the longterm closeness of the couple. Converts are full Jews, but they must be sincere converts. If you were out of the picture, would he still want to convert? That is a good indication of sincerity. Know that conversion is a serious thing.

Furthermore, it is crucial that your husband know inside that he is a full Jew, and that your kids know their father is fully Jewish. Circumcision is central to Jewish law and to a male’s Jewish identity. He’ll never be part of the people without it. That being said, tens of thousands of adult men have gone through it. He should speak with other converts, as well as a mohel who performs adult circumcisions, to calm his fears.

All the best,

Rabbi Azriel Schreiber

No Follow-ups »

No published follow-up questions.

We respond to every follow-up question submitted, but only publish selected ones. In order to be considered for publication, questions must be on-topic, polite, and address ideas rather than personalities.


Powered by WordPress