DEAR ANNIE: I’m 20 and attending college near my parents’ home. Despite what my Catholic family wants, I’ve been exploring other religions for the past five years and have decided that Judaism is the right road for me. I want to let my family in on this process, but I’m afraid they’ll react badly and insist that my Jewish fiance is swaying my decision.
My mother is starting to pick up on the fact that I haven’t been going to church with her. She has informed me that she would be greatly insulted if I became Jewish because all those years of putting me through Catholic school would be for naught. She recently hoped loudly that eventually I would “do the right thing and come back.” I’m tired of lying when they ask where I go on Friday evenings. Help? — At the Crossroads
There is some validity to the claim that your fiance may be influencing your decision, but that is to be expected. Even if he isn’t making a concerted effort to convert you, his preferences and beliefs would be persuasive on their own.
We respect the fact that you have spent five years considering your decision, which indicates you’ve done a great deal of thinking. But we also recognize that most of this five-year period took place while you were a teenager and quite young for such a life-changing decision. Regardless, please stop lying to your parents. If this is the path you have chosen, you must be able to stand up for your beliefs in the face of their disappointment. The sooner you start the more time they will have to reconcile themselves to the situation. You also can enlist the help of your rabbi.