| Teen Diary Serial |

Vered’s Story: Chapter 16     

        I found myself debating, back and forth, whether or not to write “convert” on my profile


A good friend of mine encouraged me to register on a frum dating website. Despite the fact that using a shidduch website wasn’t my speed, I checked it out.

There were no public résumés or pictures; it was a database with real human shadchanim making the matches, not a robot. It looked fairly well designed and like it might actually be helpful.

While working on my profile for the site, I found myself debating, back and forth, whether or not to write “convert” on my profile. I couldn’t decide. Eventually, I reached a level of clarity: if someone didn’t like that I was a giyores, then why bother getting started? Why waste emotional energy on something destined to die a premature death? It seemed like an efficient and painless way to weed out people who, in any case, would not be suitable. With a surge of confidence, I typed “convert” and hit send.

Sometime after I submitted my profile, I met with a shadchan in New York. A good friend of my mother’s from the community, Mrs. Shapiro, had recommended her highly and kept promising me, “You’ll see, Vered, Rebbetzin Wilner is amazing. She’s really great.” At this point, I’d already learned not to trust everything everyone says, but I went home cradling hope in my heart anyway. Maybe this Rebbetzin Wilner would really be helpful.

Rebbetzin Wilner was friendly and warm and soon I felt at ease. She looked through my résumé, but then her lips puckered. “I like your profile, Vered,” she said, “but this has got to go.” She tapped the word “convert” with her manicured nail. “It’s only going to hurt you to have this here.”

“You think I should take it off?” I said hesitantly.

“Absolutely,” Rebbetzin Wilner said. “It’s not going to help you. It’s only going to hurt you.”

Once again, I went back and forth in my head, and left feeling confused and unsure. I thought she was wrong… but she was way more experienced than I could ever be. Later that night, I decided to take Rebbetzin Wilner’s advice and change the profile, thinking I could always change it back again if I wanted to.

I logged on to the site and submitted my change, selecting “FFB” in place of “convert,” and receiving the standard, “your requested edit has been submitted and will be approved shortly.”

But the next morning, there was a short email in my inbox. I read it with mounting frustration. By the time I reached the end, I was angry. Excuse me? This is my profile! If I want to change it, I should be able to! Trying to check my anger, I began writing a reply, my lips pressed tightly together.

I typed furiously:

I’ve been frum since I was a little girl, and raised in a religious environment most of my life. I’ve been Jewish since I was eight years old. When people see the word “convert” on a résumé, they generally assume it means I converted as an older teen or adult; most people will not even imagine that I’m a Bais Yaakov graduate who converted as a child. “FFB” is significantly closer description to what I am than “convert” is.

It didn’t take long for me to get a clipped response. “We discussed this with our board,” it said. “We feel that this would be a dishonest change.”

I tried to take a deep breath, but frustration, confusion, and helplessness overwhelmed me.

It was my profile, and although I’d originally wanted the word “convert” to appear, the people running the site had now taken away my ability to choose. I was labeled, branded. Different.

When I calmed down, I reminded myself that some people are always going to be uncomfortable with my being a convert, and there is nothing I can do to change that. I may as well continue being myself, and being comfortable with who I am.

to be continued…


(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 949)

Oops! We could not locate your form.