The descendant of Brazilian marrans became Noahid
I am not Jewish. I am not born to a Jewish mother. My family is considered catholic, but we never got a religious catholic education. I am from Brazil, and my mother’s family descends from Portuguese people who were never connected with religion.
Five years ago, my uncle told me something that changed my entire life (I am 35 years old now, by that time I was 25). He told me that our family descends from “News Christians” or “marranos”, it means that we descended from possible Jews that was forced to convert to Catholicism in Portugal hundreds of years ago.
I was thrilled with the news (actually with the assumption, because although there’s no real proof) but I was skeptical and argue with him, but he told me that some customs of his grandmother and grand-grandmother and other older relatives (whom he knew before they died) was customs derived from Jewish practices (such as light candles at Friday sunset with no apparent reason, not entering catholic churches although they were considered catholic. He had a grand-uncle that just eat fish and vegetables, saying that it was “pure” (it was on the 1950’s in the country farms region, isolated from everything), this grand uncle always went to the woods to have his prayers alone, with no one around, etc).
Well, even if I was not much convinced, I was moved, and something changed inside of me. I was in a life time searching for meaning and purpose, but I thought that none of the christian sects or theologies had the answer for my questions, actually the only things that they provided me was suspicious and distrust.
So, I started readying some Jewish books. My uncle gave me a Chumash, which I started to read along the Parsha circles, he gave a Tehilim book in Hebrew but with translation, I started to ready some other books for myself, and also checked some Jewish web sites. I started to have my answer, and even better, the answers made real sense for me!
Time passed, I got married, and my wife and I started to become even more interested about the subject. So some time ago we decided to add some practices in our daily lives. By this point we knew about the 7 laws of Noach, and I was able to understand that even if I had some jew ancestor (just an assumption), it did not make me a Jew. Although I was happy with the 7 laws, a thought would not leave my mind: I could try more.
As we work and study at night and the fact that we’re not from the city that we are currently living, we do not have an exciting social life, and we do not have much friends, gentiles or Jewish. So I started to study Hebrew in a cultural institute. The Mora there just indicated me a conservative synagogue to have a conversion. I stopped the Hebrew because of the lack of time, but I visited the synagogue.
To make a long story short, we did not make the conservative conversion by that time…we were having financial problems (actually the situation is kind of the same right now, but I am happy for what I have), and I was also having doubts about the conservative conversion, as I know the halachic valid convertion is the kosher conversion, made by an orthodox Bet Din.
I am currently, listening, reading and participating in the Chabad online classes and articles (about Parashot, Talmud, Sefer Hamitzvot from Rambam, etc). Now I am touched by the chassidut and the teachings of the Rebbe, I think it is a true blessing… but the problem is that my wife did not share the same feeling, maybe because of the lack of knowledge about the subject. She wants to convert but she wants to do it on the conservative way…we had some arguing about the matter, so last year I decided to go with the flow and wait for something to happen. But in the mean while I made some decisions, for example, I just eat kosher meat. When I am out and do not have kosher, I have just vegetables. She accepted it nicely. I am following the studies of the parsha and 613 mitzvot studies online.
4 months ago we discovered that my wife is pregnant, I was happy, but with a sad feeling inside my heart…I wanted that my child, who is a boy, to grew up with a Jewish education. I am realistic enough to know that he will not born as a Jew, but I was wondering what can I do about his growth and education.
The doubt about the conversion still keeps hamming in my head, so I decided to write to Igrot Kodesh to have an answer from the Rebbe.
I’ve asked about my doubts and the answer, was to keep studying and look for what is kosher, but what really amazed me was that he told me not to argue with someone that don’t believe in chassidut, although just learn a lot of it and the darkness will be dispel. This advice was shocking!!!
So this is what I am trying to do now, I will not argue with my wife, instead I will keep on my way and look for a good Rabbi that can help me learn more, so the light of Torah and Chassidut can illuminate my family (with HaShem’s help, Blessed be He).
Thanks for the www.igrot.com web site and special thanks to you Rabbi Lougov, you are very patient and kind. I fell grateful for your help and the time that you spend with me. I hope we could keep contact.
Long live our master, teacher and the Rebbe King Moshiach forever!