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May 6, 2021 11:33 am

‘Real Housewives of New York City’ Star Defends Her Decision to Convert to Judaism After Facing Criticism


avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Leah McSweeney during her appearance on “Watch What Happens Live.” Photo: Screenshot.

“Real Housewives of New York City” star Leah McSweeney was forced to defend her decision to convert to Judaism after facing backlash online.

The 38-year-old, who is the head of two fashion brands, is Irish-Italian and was raised Catholic. She revealed her plans to convert during the season 13 premiere of the reality show on Tuesday. According to the New York Post, after the episode premiered one person wrote online, “I hope she finds what she’s looking for. But this kinda reminds me of when celebrities got into Kabbalah as a cool trend.”

McSweeney, who is the mother to 13-year-old daughter Kier, shared the fan’s criticism on her Instagram Story and replied saying, “Ok I’m not going to respond to every dumb thing people have to say regarding my conversion but this is so ignorant I must. Converting and studying Kabbalah are very different. And to compare my conversion and refer to it as a ‘trend’ is highly dumb AF and offensive.”

During Tuesday’s episode, she revealed that an Orthodox rabbi is helping her with the conversion process. She called her sister, on Yom Kippur, and told her about the conversation process and then spoke to her father via video chat to ask him for forgiveness, a practice traditionally done ahead of the Jewish holiday.

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“I’ve been thinking about converting to Judaism for many, many years,” she explained in a confessional. “Then when COVID hit, I was having, I would say, the only period of my life where I felt very disconnected from a god. I quit drinking again and I got a very deep calling to convert to Judaism.”

She added, “I’m attracted to the challenge. I think I’m attracted to all the rules and the rituals and the prayers. And look, it’s not like I’m going to convert and like, that’s it! I’m a Jew! The conversion is the beginning for me.”

During her appearance on the talk show “Watch What Happens Live” she said about her conversion, “It’s a long process and I think I will probably be Jewish by the High Holidays this year, which is exciting.” She added that her parents “have definitely come around, and they’re supportive.”

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