As a convert of almost seven years, I have learned that this kind rabbinical behavior toward Orthodox converts described in the article, “Outreach Rabbi Resigns Amid Cloud Of Scandal” (Dec. 18), in which Rabbi Leib Tropper is alleged to have revoked a woman’s conversion on learning that she occasionally wore pants, is not uncommon. What converts hear is “Do as I say, not as I do.”
If converts are Jews, then aren’t we allowed to transgress as born Jews are? Part of being Jewish (and human) is the spiritual struggle that comes from being imperfect and mutable. Holding converts to a single act of conversion with no room to struggle spiritually or to simply change how they feel about their Jewish experience over the course of their lifetime is simply impossible and unethical.
The next time you hear of a rabbi revoking a conversion or Israel’s Chief Rabbinate turning away American conversions, it is about scapegoating the convert for religious, ideological or political reasons. These same rabbis and rabbinical institutions should ask themselves if their behavior has more to do with themselves than any single convert or conversion.