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"White lie" re giyur status on shul membership application?
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amother




OP
 

Post Thu, Apr 08 2021, 11:30 am
Do you think it's an acceptable "white lie" to not disclose that I'm a convert on a shul membership application?

Dad is Jewish, mom did a non-orthodox conversion, grew up thinking I was Jewish, started becoming frum, realized my mom's conversion was a problem, and did an orthodox conversion with a highly respected beis din.

We're moving to a new area and the shul membership app asks if you're a convert. I've kept the conversion very private, and only a few trusted people know about it. Nobody would have any clue that I'm a convert -- Jewish maiden name, I don't "look" g*ishe, etc.

I asked our rav about the question on the app, and he said he thinks it's inappropriate for them to be asking (especially if we just have one baby and we're nowhere near shidduch years) and he doesn't like that shuls ask this.

I didn't want to ask him if it's acceptable to tell a white lie and just say no I'm not a convert. I'm curious what imamother thinks. Am I allowed to tell a white lie to spare my kid(s) potential embarrassment? I want to be able to explain things to my kid(s) on my timeline, and I don't want word getting around and they find out about it from some other kid on the playground. Who knows how many people in the shul office are seeing this application, and who knows who is going to keep what confidential. It's none of anyone's business, IMHO.
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Ema of 4




 
 
 
 

Post Thu, Apr 08 2021, 11:32 am
amother [ OP ] wrote:
Do you think it's an acceptable "white lie" to not disclose that I'm a convert on a shul membership application?

Dad is Jewish, mom did a non-orthodox conversion, grew up thinking I was Jewish, started becoming frum, realized my mom's conversion was a problem, and did an orthodox conversion with a highly respected beis din.

We're moving to a new area and the shul membership app asks if you're a convert. I've kept the conversion very private, and only a few trusted people know about it. Nobody would have any clue that I'm a convert -- Jewish maiden name, I don't "look" g*ishe, etc.

I asked our rav about the question on the app, and he said he thinks it's inappropriate for them to be asking (especially if we just have one baby and we're nowhere near shidduch years) and he doesn't like that shuls ask this.

I didn't want to ask him if it's acceptable to tell a white lie and just say no I'm not a convert. I'm curious what imamother thinks. Am I allowed to tell a white lie to spare my kid(s) potential embarrassment? Who knows how many people in the shul office are seeing this application, and who knows who is going to keep what confidential. It's none of anyone's business, IMHO.

I agree with you and your rav, it’s none of their business.
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mommy3b2c




 
 
 
 

Post Thu, Apr 08 2021, 11:36 am
I agree that it’s none of their business but it’s not a white lie, it’s just a regular lie. I would maybe just lie, but I like to be clear about what I’m doing.
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amother




Goldenrod
 

Post Thu, Apr 08 2021, 11:38 am
I will say that it is none of anyone’s business, but as I have learned here, their are people who thing Yichus is the be all’s bad end all, much more important that who you yourself are as a person. I would put in a white lie-the Rav Ike’s it, but you will find people here who will be up in arms. You asked your Rav who agreed with your gut. Why are you looking for people here to cause you self doubt and aggravation.
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amother




Yellow
 

Post Thu, Apr 08 2021, 11:39 am
I see this question on shul applications. I see it on school applications. I always thought it was strange and never really understood why it's there but didn't give it much thought, as I'm not a convert and certainly don't see being a convert as some character flaw (quite the opposite). But hearing your angle, I can understand your feelings and it is indeed unimportant for them to know this. Not that I think the office is going t publicize anyone's confidential information. But I don't think you'd be wrong to not disclose this.
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amother




Scarlet
 

Post Thu, Apr 08 2021, 11:39 am
I agree that it's not a white lie but there are times when you are allow to lie like I think if someone asks if you are pregnant since it's none of their business. I would suggest you ask your rav, is there a reason why you don't want to ask? is leaving it blank an option?
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Crookshanks




 
 
 
 

Post Thu, Apr 08 2021, 11:42 am
If your Rav says it's okay, you're fine. You have da'as Torah. If they find out in a few years and are upset, you can send them to your Rav and let them fight it out.
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Ema of 4




 
 
 
 

Post Thu, Apr 08 2021, 11:45 am
amother [ Goldenrod ] wrote:
I will say that it is none of anyone’s business, but as I have learned here, their are people who thing Yichus is the be all’s bad end all, much more important that who you yourself are as a person. I would put in a white lie-the Rav Ike’s it, but you will find people here who will be up in arms. You asked your Rav who agreed with your gut. Why are you looking for people here to cause you self doubt and aggravation.

We are not talking about something where yichus will make a difference, we are talking about shul membership.


Last edited by Ema of 4 on Thu, Apr 08 2021, 1:16 pm; edited 1 time in total
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number




 
 
 
 

Post Thu, Apr 08 2021, 11:46 am
mommy3b2c wrote:
I agree that it’s none of their business but it’s not a white lie, it’s just a regular lie. I would maybe just lie, but I like to be clear about what I’m doing.
It’s a lie by omission. She isn’t checking off the “convert” box. Which isn’t exactly the same as saying that she’s not a convert.
Op I think you should ask the rav.
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PinkFridge




 
 
 
 

Post Thu, Apr 08 2021, 11:54 am
I understand your discomfort and if you asked a rav, you have daas Torah on your side.
But what are the repercussions of them finding out you fibbed? I'm concerned about that. Is there any way of finding out how this info is used and who needs to know?
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mommyhood




 
 
 
 

Post Thu, Apr 08 2021, 11:57 am
PinkFridge wrote:
I understand your discomfort and if you asked a rav, you have daas Torah on your side.
But what are the repercussions of them finding out you fibbed? I'm concerned about that. Is there any way of finding out how this info is used and who needs to know?

She said she specifically didn't ask daas Torah if she could lie.
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mommy3b2c




 
 
 
 

Post Thu, Apr 08 2021, 12:01 pm
number wrote:
It’s a lie by omission. She isn’t checking off the “convert” box. Which isn’t exactly the same as saying that she’s not a convert.
Op I think you should ask the rav.


Oh. I thought they asked the question and she’s expected to answer yes or no.
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causemommysaid




 
 
 
 

Post Thu, Apr 08 2021, 12:06 pm
I would lie about it. It's not their business.

I don't think it's a big deal either. You are protecting yourself.
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amother




OP
 

Post Thu, Apr 08 2021, 12:08 pm
PinkFridge wrote:
But what are the repercussions of them finding out you fibbed? I'm concerned about that.


Repercussions? What could they do -- banish me and my family from the community? Unlikely? Find out I'm a convert and ask for my teudat and I provide it and it shuts them up? More likely?


Quote:
Is there any way of finding out how this info is used and who needs to know?


Why does it matter how it's used? My rav said more OOT / MO shuls sometimes ask this because they get people with fishy conversions and they want to know who is really Jewish. If I went to a well known beis din and I know I'm Jewish and I know that they wouldn't question my beis din...

You have to assume that the form will be scanned into a computer database, and anyone who every works in the shul office -- every rabbi, admin person, secretary, potentially board members -- will have access to the form forever. That's potentially a dozen people right now who could see the form.

mommy3b2c wrote:
Oh. I thought they asked the question and she’s expected to answer yes or no.


Yes, the app has essentially a yes/no question -- check the box if you're a convert. If you leave it blank, it obviously causes red flags. Someone might not notice you left it blank, or someone might ask you about it. So it wouldn't be a lie by omission.

amother [ Scarlet ] wrote:
I agree that it's not a white lie but there are times when you are allow to lie like I think if someone asks if you are pregnant since it's none of their business. I would suggest you ask your rav, is there a reason why you don't want to ask?


I was embarrassed at the time to ask if it's okay to lie. I can always ask him again.
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Rappel




 
 
 
 

Post Thu, Apr 08 2021, 12:39 pm
We told our town about DH on our application. The Rav asked him for a copy of his teudah. That was it. It never came up again, and no one knows unless he tells them.

It was frustrating to feel othered, but it's better than them thinking later that there's something fishy when they hear you actually did convert. Like, they'll ask in their heads "why did you lie?"
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amother




Amethyst
 

Post Thu, Apr 08 2021, 12:43 pm
amother [ OP ] wrote:
I was embarrassed at the time to ask if it's okay to lie. I can always ask him again.

If the reason they ask for it is because of fishy conversions then I would think twice about lying because if they found out later that you lied it will be even fishier
Is there a way for you to tell just the rabbi of the shul a bit deeper into the process?
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amother




Brown
 

Post Thu, Apr 08 2021, 12:43 pm
I’m a giores and just tell the truth. No one has ever cared and we’re well respected in our community. Why lie? Be proud!
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amother




OP
 

Post Thu, Apr 08 2021, 12:48 pm
amother [ Amethyst ] wrote:
If the reason they ask for it is because of fishy conversions then I would think twice about lying because if they found out later that you lied it will be even fishier
Is there a way for you to tell just the rabbi of the shul a bit deeper into the process?


I hear what you're saying, but if someone asks why I lied I would just confidently say because it's none of your business and my rav said it was none of your business when I asked him at the time and I know I'm Jewish and I didn't need to put it in writing so it can be on your computer database for all to see. Once they called the beis din any fishiness about my Jewishness would be removed. Maybe there would be fishiness about my midot in their mind, but not about my Jewishness.

amother [ Brown ] wrote:
I’m a giores and just tell the truth. No one has ever cared and we’re well respected in our community. Why lie? Be proud!


I'm proud, but there's a time and place for my kids to know about it.
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chanchy123




 
 
 
 

Post Thu, Apr 08 2021, 12:58 pm
Honestly, I think this is the definition of a white lie and the concept of לשנות מפני השלום. There are no consequences for you lying (or I omitting the truth) and you are sparring yourself potential embarrassment. I would have DH do it to protect you and I’m no rav but I think this is a textbook case where lying is permitted to preserve your well-being. You would also be protecting your prospective community from committing the issur Torah of onat hager. Why anyone would want to belong to such a community I can’t understand but I assume you’ve weighed the pros and cons.
ETA
I continued to read the thread and now understand why they ask. I wonder if you’d feel comfortable discussing this with the community Rabbi (or rebetzin) someone from the shul who is discreet just to avoid any discomfort in the future. Tell them you feel uncomfortable about having an official record around for all to see, maybe even ask special permission to keep the box blank.
If the Rabbi of the shul is the type to blab you don’t want to join anyway. This way you’re completely honest but keeping your life private.


Last edited by chanchy123 on Thu, Apr 08 2021, 1:05 pm; edited 1 time in total
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amother




Orange
 

Post Thu, Apr 08 2021, 12:59 pm
If you really feel it's not their business, and your rav said it's not, then lie.
I totally would, and in most areas of my life I try not to lie.
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