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I Want to Be Accepted For My Chosen Religion

Dear Sugar
I was born and raised to Christian parents. I attended church, my mother taught Sunday school and I sang in the church choir. As I got older (around 12), I renounced Christianity converted to Judaism, which I still practice. My problem is that I've lied to my friends and current boyfriend about being born a Christian. I've told everyone that my Mother is Jewish (even though her Father was the Jewish one - but non-practicing, and she was raised Christian). I am very serious with my boyfriend and I want to get married. He comes from a powerful and conservative Jewish family that would forbid him from even dating (let alone marrying) a non-Jew. I hate that I've been dishonest. I've never completed a conversion about this, but it's something that I want to do. My only wish is that everyone will accept me as a "real Jew" and I am frightened of the reactions and repercussions. But the lie has gone on for too long and now the guilt is eating me alive. I want to have honest relationships with the people close to me. Is there any hope? Religious Divide

Dear Religious Divide
You have made a more powerful and conscience choice than most of us by studying religion and taking an active role in pursuing an education about who you want to be. Not only do I think that you have nothing to be nervous about, but I think that you should be very proud of who you are. Most of us just go along with the religion we were born into and follow along with similar traditions and cultures as our parents. Actually, studies show that each generation takes religion even less seriously than our parents. And communities in this nation will suffer for the next generation if we don't start being more active members of our religious communities. I believe that your boyfriend and his parents will be pleased with your choice and will feel honored that you've chosen to join Judaism. I would focus on your remorse for lying to them - not for being born a Christian. In the Jewish community, once you have officially converted, you are viewed as a Jew through and through. And if you need further proof - the fact that you feel any kind of guilt is evidence enough. Guilt is practically an emotional requirement in the American Jewish culture!

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