A Noahide is a “Righteous Gentile,” which basically is someone who lives a life of holiness and practices as much as possible, Jewish thought and teachings (such as one god, doing good for others, being a good person, etc…). I could easily elect to be a Noahide, I could even go to synagogue for Shabbat and holidays… so why would I convert, what’s the purpose? Let’s back it up a bit and I’ll be able to explain better.
Firstly, conversion isn’t like other religions, when you convert you become a Jew forever, I believe Maimonides was the wise Jewish sage who said, “no backsies!” You become Yisrael, the people, and you are a part of the people forever, alongside the religion of Judaism. It is a lifelong commitment to be a part of the Jewish people, to live as a Jew, to die as a Jew, and to Kvetch as a Jew. I kid, I kid!
This all goes back to Ruth, who said; “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.”
So, with that out of the way, let me explain why I decided to fully convert…
I grew up without an identity and my family would tell me “I think we’re German,” when I’d asked them. Not having an identity led me down many dark paths, which greatly affected my life in negative ways. When I finally got my Ancestry DNA results, it found that I’m Scots-Irish and Ashkenazi Jew with a tiny sliver of German. This confirmed a family secret that came out, my Grandmothers mother had an affair with a Philadelphia Rabbi we’d always called Uncle Pinchas.
Aside from the revelation that my grandmother slept with Uncle Pinchas, it gave me an identity to explore and I began reading on the Jewish people, culture, history, and finally the religion of Judaism. I fell in love with it all, every single bit of being a Jew and the religion, I fell in love, and it felt like coming home rather than learning it. So, as a Jew on my mother’s side, I wanted to learn everything, I wanted to be counted among the tribe, and I wanted to be a part of the covenant with Hashem.
Just being a Noahide would not be enough for me, I want to be a part of the Jewish people and for my family to have that identity to hold onto for all of their days. Knowing that I’m ethnically a Jew, I want that for my wife (who also is converting) and my four children as well, to be a fully Jewish family. That’s why being a Noahide isn’t something I could just take up, because I want to be counted amongst and as Yisrael.
My mother’s line is Jewish, but they are Christians, so through me, I am also returning my Jewish bloodline to its people, and practicing the religion thereof. This is important to me, not just on a spiritual level, but also as someone who never had an identity, peoplehood, or culture outside of the melting pot of America, to call my own.