Olivia Fisher (pawn_of_pawns) wrote in little_details,
Olivia Fisher

Questions about Jewish beliefs

I'm trying to write a short story about an Orthodox Jewish family living in California. Only, I'm not Jewish. I've been researching the religion, but there are a few aspects that I can't find information on.

I know that when a Jewish family adopts a non-Jewish child, the child is converted as early as possible. Most sites I visited say this is so the child will not have problems getting into a synagogue later in life, and if they chose not to follow Judaism they can convert back when they become of age.

But what if a child is adopted at a later age, around 7-9, already knows he does not want to follow Judaism? Is he forced to convert? Or is he be allowed to skip out on the ceremonies? After all, circumcision is a requirement, and I think that would be rather traumatic for an older child.

One of the family members kills another man and covers it up for years. How can he ask for God's forgiveness, in a manner of speaking? I've searched for Jewish penances, but I've only found information about smaller sins and--not surprisingly--nothing about murder. (Except for creepy anti-semitic sites that talk about Jewish Ritual Murder...)

I know that some Christians believe that they will be forgiven for all their sins, including murder, and that they will still be accepted into heaven. Would a Jewish man simply accept that he no longer has a place in the after life, or is there still hope that he will be forgiven?

Either insight or search suggestions would be helpful. Thank you!
Edit: Wow, thank you! A lot of the comments are really helpful. It's evident that I have a lot more research to do. Thanks for getting me on the right track!
Tags: ~religion: judaism

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