A Jewish Soul in a Gentile Body?

Dear Reb Shohama,

All my life I have felt a warm connection to Judaism, although I was born and raised in a gentile home. It kinds of feels like I have a Jewish soul in a gentile body. Have you heard of such a thing?

Shalom, Joseph

Dear Joseph,

Actually, you are in good company. There are thousands of gentiles who have felt as you do and sought out Jewish teachers in order to fully “become Jewish.” These newcomers are a great blessing to the Jewish people, as their motivation is so pure and their desire to live a Jewish life so deeply felt. Judaism does not proselytize to seek out converts, but when someone comes to us with a genuine longing to join the tribe, we welcome them with open arms.

You are wondering how this could happen, that a Jewish soul be placed in gentile body. The teachings of Jewish mysticism explain that when a person dies, the soul goes to “heaven”, and after a period of growth and renewal, returns in a new body to continue its mission of learning. My understanding is that because of the Holocaust, many Jewish souls were afraid to return as Jews, and chose to come into gentile families. Yet they “feel” a kinship to Jews and Judaism, and often seek to convert.

Many such stories are told in “Beyond the Ashes: Cases of Reincarnation from the Holocaust” by Yonasson Gershom, Jon Robertson, Editor.

To further explore your attraction to Judaism, I suggest you search for a rabbi and a Jewish community that feels right for you. There are many different beliefs and ways of practicing Judaism, and every community has its unique aspects. If you tell me more about your location and preferences, I will try to advise you.

Many blessings, Reb Shohama