“I assume that you’d consider yourself a ḥozer beteshuva, right?”
As somebody who was raised by parents who self-identify as traditional, ḥiloni Jews, and chose himself to live a life committed to and guided by halakha, I’ve come to expect some form of this question from people in conversations about Jewish faith and practice.
But this term does not sit well with me. For reference, here’s the Wikipedia definition (emphasis mine):
Baal teshuva literally means “master of repentance or return (to Judaism)”. The term has historically referred to a Jew who had not kept Jewish practices, and completed a process of introspection and thus returned to Judaism and morality. In Israel, another term is used, ḥozer beteshuva (חוזר בתשובה), literally “returning in repentance”. Also, Jews who adopt religion later in life are known “baalei teshuva” or “ḥozerim beteshuva”. Continue reading