I don't usually rant against religions (except for Christianity…and that's mostly an 18+ year annoyed grumble), but this really got me last night when I was doing some book research.
You must find an Orthodox rabbi–he's the only one that can convert you. You must study the Torah for the rest of your life. You must keep kosher–and therefore, be prepared to have three sets of cookware and table settings. (Two for regular kosher dining and one for Passover.) Your rabbi will tell you that you must move to a Jewish neighborhood so you can get the full Jewish experience. [And on, and on…]
No, you must NOT. Not unless Orthodoxy is calling you in the night. Not unless it's singing to your heart. Not unless you cannot find any other way of living; that you must convert to Orthodox Judaism or you'll die a little inside for every day that you live.
There are plenty of denominations of Judaism out there that don't all require the same thing. Some might be lax on the kosher issue. Some might say, "Make the Torah important, but you don't have to study it every day for the rest of your life." I sincerely doubt most non-Orthodox rabbis will say "you have to pick up your life and move to a Jewish neighborhood!", but what do I know?
Take it from a Gentile priestess: don't get into that type of Judaism unless you're really sure it's for you. (It's the rabbi's job to dissuade you a little, anyway; but be sure even before that!) Out of all the things I read last night–especially on that site–is that once you make "the Covenant", you're stuck as a Jew forever.
One last humongous piece of advice? If you identify with the female gender and you're ever thinking of getting married, do your research on chained women. The short version of this is that if you get a divorce, your husband could refuse and you could be stuck in your marriage indefinitely.
I'm not even kidding.
Oh, sure…the legal system will say you're divorced, but that doesn't matter shit one to the religious authorities. If your husband refuses to give you a get (the thing that allows the marriage to end), you're stuck. And no one can make him, either. Sure, the Beit Din (religious court) can condemn him and put the religious hurt on him and whatever, but he can refuse to show up and go along on his merry little way, not giving a damn. Ever. Meanwhile, you're chained to this asshole until he decides he's good and ready to let you go. And if you have to wait for his death–despite the fact he's an abusive freak–then so be it. Hell, you can even take it to the state supreme court, but it won't matter.
So if you can be 3,000% certain (I'm not even lying…be THAT MOTHERFUCKING CERTAIN [And I HATE using MFing, just so you know.]), then go ahead and become Orthodox. Or marry an Orthodox man. Or both.
Me? You couldn't pay me a billion dollars to marry an Orthodox man. Just because there's "a chance" that your husband won't leave you an agunah doesn't matter one fucking bit. I value my freedom. I value my life. And I won't place either of mine in any man's hands.
Fine Print: I did a little research last night to see if a dip in the mikvah really was a part of the conversion process (like in Sex and the City) and the third page I read was by an Orthodox Jew. And you can see how angry that made me.
Almost as angry as poor Rivky and her agunah bullshit. If murder wasn't illegal, I'm sure Yoel would be dead by now–especially since if one of her other supporters hadn't killed him by this point, I certainly would've!