5:33 pm - 01/30/2014

Natalie Portman's husband Benjamin Millepied reveals he is converting to Judaism for her

They married in a private Jewish ceremony in 2012.

And now Natalie Portman’s husband has revealed his plans to take the next step and become a Jew.

Benjamin Millepied is currently living with his wife in her native Israel, where she is filming her directorial debut.

And he told newspaper Yedioth Aharonot that he is already in the process of converting to Judaism after ‘falling in love with this country.’

The French dancer and choreographer said that becoming Jewish, just like his stunning actress wife, is ‘very important’ to him.

The happy couple and bouncing baby Aleph will be staying in Israel until March while Natalie directs an adaptation of Amos Oz novel A Tale of Love and Darkness.

The family usually reside in Paris, France but have called Israel a ‘great escape’.

They are currently in Tel Aviv, where Benjamin says he has been enjoying the fantastic restaurants.

While the 36-year-old claims Tel Aviv is his favourite city in Israel, he admits he could be swayed when he and Natalie, 32, move onto Jerusalem soon to continue filming.

‘It is the eternal dilemma between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem,’ Benjamin admitted. ‘At this point, Tel Aviv because of the nightlife and architecture, but maybe I'll change my mind.’

Meanwhile the couple, whose son is 19 months old, denied rumours that they are expecting a second child.

Natalie and Benjamin started dating in 2009 after meeting on set of Black Swan, which she starred in while he acted as choreographer.

Natalie then announced that she was pregnant and engaged in December 2010, and the couple married in Big Sur, California in August 2012.

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dyaus_screaming 30th-Jan-2014 04:57 pm (UTC)
Well that's good... or bad? IDK. I'm not sure what it means to convert for someone, if you convert doesn't it come from your own belief?
petecarl 30th-Jan-2014 05:06 pm (UTC)
That's how I feel. Going through the rituals doesn't change your beliefs.

I would never want to date someone who was willing to convert to my beliefs (Christianity). Like, it'd be one thing with picking which denomination's church to attend, but another to change your belief for someone.
ms_mmelissa 30th-Jan-2014 04:59 pm (UTC)
Congrats to him. I thought he was Jewish though.
alchimie_amour 30th-Jan-2014 05:30 pm (UTC)
i'm wondering if he isn't ethnically semetic but his family gave up practice generations ago. it's not uncommon.
lovepeace_soul 30th-Jan-2014 05:00 pm (UTC)
Great to see a man do this for his significant other instead of the other way around. It just annoys me when people expect the woman to give up who she is but the man can stay the same. Its expected to convert if you're marrying a jewish person right??

i dont care to convert to another religion for the husband i dont have. He can stay in his religion and im sure going to stay in mine.
calinewarkwc69 30th-Jan-2014 05:01 pm (UTC)
lol, my comment right under this. Go us!
lovepeace_soul 30th-Jan-2014 05:22 pm (UTC)
propera_parada 30th-Jan-2014 05:06 pm (UTC)
I thought in judaism the line continues through the woman, so a man doesn't have to be jewish for the kids to be considered jewish but the woman on the other hand has? I may be wrong.

In islam it's the other way around. It's respectable for a man to marry a christian woman but not the other way around, I believe.

I'm not 100% sure on any of these things though.
imnotasquirrel 30th-Jan-2014 05:07 pm (UTC)
i generally think it's weird when anyone converts to a different religion for their SO. like how committed and devout can you be if you're willing to change your faith because of a guy/girl? but i guess a lot of people participate in organized religion mostly for the community aspect? i think that's what my mom did... she joined up with a korean church when she and my dad immigrated because it gave her an immediate social outlet, even though i don't think she ever really believed.

...i guess i answered my own question.
ms_mmelissa 30th-Jan-2014 05:41 pm (UTC)
Its expected to convert if you're marrying a jewish person right??

Depends on how religious they are. My dad didn’t convert for my mom, but she didn’t ask him to, but another one of my friends is more religious so her boyfriend said that he would convert for her before they got married.
softbeds 30th-Jan-2014 06:30 pm (UTC)
idk, I'm a very lax reform Jew and interfaith marriages are pretty common. we also don't actively proselytize, so your point about expectation doesn't really sit right with me. the expectation may be different with more devout/orthodox jews though.

my mother converted to judaism, but it wasn't really for my dad. she adopted a jewish lifestyle informally but fully converted when i bat mitzvahed so she could join me at the bimah. my dad has never been the most religious of the two. my mom said that when she started learning about judaism it just clicked for her, and that growing up baptist she never really felt connected to the church. it's kind of funny now because she is a better jew than all of us and she is the convert.

these responses are kind of surprising me because they all seem to assume that a person was super devout in their first religion and then had some radical change in beliefs. but, especially in the US, i think it is common for people to be raised as nominal Christians of whatever brand but not really feel spiritually connected to it. so if you then find a partner who is more devout, or practices a belief system you click with, I don't think it's that strange or red-flaggish for someone to convert.
zparklemotion 30th-Jan-2014 07:14 pm (UTC)
If you're going to get married in Israel both partners have to be Jewish, since there are no civil marriages there.
bent_ley 30th-Jan-2014 07:49 pm (UTC)
TBH in judasim it's mostly a big deal because mom has to be jewish for the kids to be jewish. so no one is really checking for the dad's religion as long as he agrees to raise the kids jewish.
calinewarkwc69 30th-Jan-2014 05:01 pm (UTC)
I'm glad to see a man converting instead of a woman. Other than that, I give 0 fucks about what other people do regarding their religion.
preflyer 30th-Jan-2014 05:01 pm (UTC)
do we still think her bb is Aronofsky's?

Edited at 2014-01-30 05:01 pm (UTC)
laume28 30th-Jan-2014 05:47 pm (UTC)
What? wasn't he in a relationship with Rachel Weisz?
shiningautumn 30th-Jan-2014 06:07 pm (UTC)
i don't think it's impossible tbh.
propera_parada 30th-Jan-2014 05:02 pm (UTC)
I don't like the idea of converting solely for your so. If you accept and respect your so's religion and fi promise to raise your children with their religion, I'm all for it. But converting for sth other than your own belief system seems wrong and futile.

I was raised catholic-ish but I'm pretty much agnostic. I dated 2 muslims in my life and I would've happily raised my children as muslims as well had ione of those relationships worked out but I would never have converted. Ever. If you don't do it for your own spiritual development and identity then what's the point?
xtinkerbellax 30th-Jan-2014 05:11 pm (UTC)
It's odd, like one the one hand if you were really strong in your religious convictions it's weird to adapt new ones for a relationship, and then on the other if you are religious in general it seems odd to totally adapt one for a relationship. It seems like it's a lot of just going through the motions for me.
missingalphabet 30th-Jan-2014 05:14 pm (UTC)
I can see why people do it if incompatibility of religion is really going to be an issue, and maybe you don't care enough that you're okay paying lip service to it for the rest of your relationship. I have a friend who isn't really religious, but his girlfriend is Buddhist and he accompanies her to the big conferences they have even though he doesn't give a damn because it's chill. But I know for me religion is one of things I know I'm going to have to be upfront about early on. I'm an atheist and if our relationship is going to be you trying to drag me to church every Sunday, Bible this Bible that, praying for me to see the light, it's just not going to work.
propera_parada 30th-Jan-2014 05:28 pm (UTC)
I feel like, if you're very religious, you should be able to put yourself in the other's place and realise that he/she might not want to change their own religion. People who are very religious would never convert but they expect their other half to? Even if they do it just to keep the peace, you should realise it's not a valid reason to change your religion.

I don't understand what's so hard about respecting/accepting eachother's belief system as long as you can agree on a set of moral fundaments and which religion to raise your kids in, it shouldn't be a problem that you don't belong to the same religion.

For instance, as long as I get to teach my kids not to be racist, homophobic, close-minded assholes I couldn't give a tiny rat's ass what religion that is framed in.
magwildwood 30th-Jan-2014 05:37 pm (UTC)
I think it's mostly because the other person is more committed and faithful to a religion. What is the big deal if you have no strong beliefs in religion, but the other person's faith prevents them from moving forward in the relationship? Their commitment to their religion needs to be rejected in order to be with someone, because it's in poor taste to convert if you don't also hold those deep convictions? It's a compromise because for some people religion actually isn't that important to them personally. They care more about their partner than faith.
leonardy 30th-Jan-2014 05:03 pm (UTC)
That's sweet of him for real I doubt Ill ever make a man convert into islam for me. Tho i thought you couldn't just convert to judaism just like that? i thought Isreal doesn't officially recognize you if youre a converted Jew IDK someone answer this I don't feel like reading a dissertation online
speshsnowflake 30th-Jan-2014 05:05 pm (UTC)
lmao same, my parents will pretty much expect that any guy I bring home has or will be converting. Closeted atheist problems, I guess.
bangorilla 30th-Jan-2014 05:16 pm (UTC)
same here
I've told NOBODY I'm an agnostic atheist and I can't imagine ever telling my family
leonardy 30th-Jan-2014 05:37 pm (UTC)
are u muslim too? IDk I feel like I'm muslim only in name kinda like you I guess, but my dad has been dropping not subtle hints regarding my future muslim husband lol. Idk how hes going to feel once he finds out I've been attending church oop
maryastor 30th-Jan-2014 05:38 pm (UTC)
orthodox conversions are the most accepted. you have to find a rabbi willing to help you through the conversion process, which can be a year or more depending on the case. conservative and reform (most lax) are recognized by the jewish community but sometimes not by israel. converts are considered just as jewish as jews from birth once they've converted.
feministtheory 30th-Jan-2014 05:54 pm (UTC)
I'm actually pretty sure Reform conversions are becoming more easily recognized. But like even so, you can convert to Judaism without Israel's permission lol.
petecarl 30th-Jan-2014 05:04 pm (UTC)
How do non-Jewish people convert to Judaism?
fakevoices 30th-Jan-2014 05:07 pm (UTC)
you get rejected three times i think and then you have to take some classes
i could be wrong
propera_parada 30th-Jan-2014 05:09 pm (UTC)
petecarl 30th-Jan-2014 05:12 pm (UTC)
lol Doesn't seem genuine, but okay. I guess they make money, and people's families are happy.
maryastor 30th-Jan-2014 05:39 pm (UTC)
the rejected 3 times thing isn't actually widespread based on the rabbis i know. seems like it may be a thing of the past, or maybe just ultra orthodox.
propera_parada 30th-Jan-2014 05:09 pm (UTC)
Taking classes/tests, and then an initiation ceremony of some sort?
neverhft 30th-Jan-2014 05:14 pm (UTC)
It can be a religion or an ethnicity, someone can practice Judaism and not be ethnically Jewish and a Jewish person can choose to not be religious...honestly after all these years they really should come up with another word for one of them to make it easier to differentiate...like when someone tells me they are Jewish I always ask, "ethnically, religiously, or both?"
_cheshire 30th-Jan-2014 05:26 pm (UTC)
I just found a reform temple in my area, emailed them, and am taking classes on Judaism. It's a year long process (at least) to ensure you're actually dedicated to converting. 

Idk how it goes in conservative or orthodox branches though. 
maryastor 30th-Jan-2014 05:41 pm (UTC)
find a rabbi willing to help you, study and take classes, complete all necessary processes. doesn't matter what race/religion you were before.
softbeds 30th-Jan-2014 06:35 pm (UTC)
my mother took some hebrew classes, some conversion classes, and then there was a special naming ceremony or something. I was still kind of young then so I can't entirely remember it all. We are very reform, though, and she was living as a jew for years before she officially converted.
evett 30th-Jan-2014 05:06 pm (UTC)
a lot of times the other person gets pressured into converting before the wedding and then doesn't give a fuck about it after. So at least it seems like he is doing it for himself.
xtinkerbellax 30th-Jan-2014 05:19 pm (UTC)
Yea, it's nice it wasn't rushed before the wedding or anything, it definitely makes it seem like he came around the the idea for himself.
bent_ley 30th-Jan-2014 07:59 pm (UTC)
actually in my experience jewish converts are usually way more into being jewish than those of us born into it
heart_iswild 31st-Jan-2014 01:35 am (UTC)
callmeperhaps 30th-Jan-2014 05:07 pm (UTC)
fakevoices 30th-Jan-2014 05:07 pm (UTC)
i don't think i could convert to another religion for someone, plus it would hurt my mum
therealw 30th-Jan-2014 05:13 pm (UTC)
It's tough being a kept man.
beatlesluv 30th-Jan-2014 05:14 pm (UTC)
I would not. But it's nice that he's willing to do so for her.

petecarl 30th-Jan-2014 05:17 pm (UTC)

ezzykoenig 30th-Jan-2014 05:23 pm (UTC)
jewish prince of my heart
milkradio 30th-Jan-2014 05:30 pm (UTC)
arcticmonkeys 30th-Jan-2014 06:30 pm (UTC)
My bb <3
nene718 30th-Jan-2014 06:31 pm (UTC)
softbeds 30th-Jan-2014 06:40 pm (UTC)
bent_ley 30th-Jan-2014 07:56 pm (UTC)

but in case anyone is wondering- according to orthodox, nope. US senator from NJ corey booker is really into Judaism and the orthodox rabbi he studies with got into hot water about it. because non jews are inherently not supposed to be able to understand the jewish texts (which as a reform jew i think is bs but ya know)
bossm 30th-Jan-2014 11:06 pm (UTC)
>not supposed to be able to understand the jewish texts<

Never heard anything about that.
feministtheory 30th-Jan-2014 11:28 pm (UTC)
The Orthodox are full of shit tbh I was taking a flight and my friend was behind me getting lectured by a bunch of Hasidim on how he naturally has an inferior brain and can't understand the Torah of whatever.

But yay Corey Booker!! He keeps getting better and better!!
therearewords 30th-Jan-2014 05:19 pm (UTC)
Surprisingly sane comments all around.

maryastor 30th-Jan-2014 05:41 pm (UTC)
haha right?
softbeds 30th-Jan-2014 06:40 pm (UTC)
lol right?
bent_ley 30th-Jan-2014 07:56 pm (UTC)
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