Columns - 1999

    Conversion rates

    by Doug Brook
    Southern Shofar Columnist

    Dear Superman,

    On behalf of the Metropolis Rabbinic Council, I welcome you as a recent convert to Judaism. We hope that your newfound religious beliefs will bring a greater spiritual and communal quality to your everyday life.

    There are just a few issues that we on the Council want to bring to your attention. While we see these as only minor concerns, we hope that you will give them your full consideration.

    First, we understand that several members of the media have been asking you whether your sudden leap into Judaism was, in fact, in a single bound. (Sorry, a little rabbinic humor there.) The media has been curious whether your sudden leap into Judaism had anything to do with any sightings you had of the Almighty while you were flying in the heavens. We hope that, instead of providing any potentially headline-grabbing replies, you will simply remind them that according to Jewish belief the Almighty is everywhere.

    We also hope that you will continue to refrain from comment when asked whether or not you think that you could "beat up" the Almighty on Pay-Per-View.

    As you are aware, while you have performed in exemplary fashion in all other matters related to your conversion, after several attempts to resolve the issue, the matter of your not having had a bris is still pending. Please contact our offices so we can again try to resolve the matter in person.

    While we recognize that the standard for attire at many synagogues throughout the country has become more lax in recent years, we have received a few complaints about your not wearing a jacket and tie during the recent Shavuot services. Also, after consulting several rabbinic texts, we have determined that your cape does not, in fact, qualify as a tallit unless we can come up with a way of attaching tzitzit to the four corners. Mr. Goldsmith, whom you have probably met at services, is a retired tailor and would be happy to work with you on this at your convenience.

    Several of our community's medical authorities have expressed concern regarding your powers. In particular, the use of your x-ray vision. While we are sure that you only use it in the line of duty, there is concern that you might inadvertantly use it in the direction of a pregnant woman. As you know, this presents a significant danger to the unborn child. We hope you will consider refraining from further use of your x-ray vision except when extreme precautions are taken.

    Though I hoped this would not become an issue, questions have been raised about the halachic validity of the use of your powers on the Sabbath. While many members of our community are not so stringent, some more traditional members are concerned with various activities of yours, such as flying to and from Shabbat services. While you are not using electricity in any conventionally known form, since we are uncertain of the nature of your power source we hope that you will refrain from flying on the Sabbath until further research can be conducted.

    We realize there could be serious repercussions if you refrain from using your powers on the Sabbath. No doubt it occurs to you that once the criminal elements of our society pick up on this practice, that they will exploit it to the fullest advantage. We do not turn a blind eye to these concerns. Indeed, it would benefit us greatly to have you out there on Shabbat, especially considering such recent incidents as the senseless Friday burning of three synagogues in Sacramento and the cowardly shooting by a white supremacist of, among others, our Orthodox brethren walking from services the following Friday night outside Chicago.

    Therefore, we hope that you will be able to devise alternate means of working for the increasingly paradoxical "Truth, Justice, and the American Way" on the Sabbath. For example, while flying might not be acceptable on Shabbat, you can still do many things such as deflect bullets. Consider the resolution of this dilemma an intellectual exercise. We on the Council eagerly look forward to working with you on this matter.

    On a potentially more personal note, we must bring another subject to your attention. While many members of our community are becoming more accepting of this as a part of modern society, we are compelled to discuss certain of your social habits. Now, we feel that Ms. Lane is a perfectly charming, attractive woman. However, now that you have converted to Judaism, the question of intermarriage becomes a sensitive issue. Of course, any of the rabbis on our Council would be happy to discuss all the options with you both.

    Finally, if you have a few minutes between averting nuclear war and rescuing kittens from trees, we hope you can look into another matter for us. Around the time you started coming to services regularly, another recent addition to our community, Clark Kent, mysteriously stopped coming every Saturday. We would appreciate any help you can provide in locating Mr. Kent. He was our best Torah lifter.

    Thank you again for your increased interest in being an active member of the Jewish community. We hope this letter is only helpful. We do not ask of you any more personal sacrifice or adjustment of lifestyle than we ask of any other members of our community. In fact, several congregations have expressed an interest in your serving on their boards as the parliamentarian.

    The Metropolis Rabbinic Council

    Doug Brook is a technical writer and recurring theatre presence in Silicon Valley, currently appearing as Judah in "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat". This month's column came to him in a dream in a field one day, the corn gave him a sign...

    Copyright Doug Brook. All rights reserved.