Song about Jewish conversion struggle

Iraqis in Pajamas, featuring Loolwa Khazzoom of Bainbridge Island, just released a new single, “The Convert’s Quest,” just in time for the Jewish holiday of Shavuot.

The song challenges the anti-convert trend in the Jewish community. The alternative rock album features the first-ever Iraqi Jewish punk rock song.

Khazzoom says in an email that her mom made the decision to convert to Judaism as her family was a mix of Quaker, Protestant and Catholic.

Shavuot celebrates the Bible story of Ruth’s conversion to Judaism.

Khazzoom knows firsthand about the challenges of conversion. Rabbis deny conversion three times before approving to make sure the person is sincere. Judaism actually forbids proselytization, due to historical persecution by Christianity and Islam.

She says in a news release that converts in some circles “are not real Jews,” so they might face hostility and rejection.

Khazzoom is a singer, songwriter and bass player for the Seattle-based group. Their songs tell personal stories about cancer, domestic violence, racism, mental illness, street harassment, family caregiving and national exile.

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