The news of a second cousin of mine turning into an Orthodox Jew (a process referred to as "Hazara BeTshuva") has been taken rather harshly by my family. It seems they feel as if this could mean the family may lose the guy; memories of a similar fellow referring to his mother as a whore for wearing makeup were quoted aloud.
My sole contribution to this news was to comment that when you play with fire, you should expect to get burnt from time to time. You stick a Kippa on kids' heads during holidays and teach them that they're members of an elite group, god's bestest friends upon this earth, and some of them might take it literally. Needless to say, when I said this aloud I was blamed for being a heretic (I thanked them for the honor); being a Jew is a necessary part of their identity, my family members claim. They are unable to imagine people having a fine sense of identity without associating themselves to a religion.
The way I see it, the only difference between the guy who is about to turn orthodox and the rest of my Jewish family is in the former actually paying attention to the literal instructions of the bible, while the latter don't really believe what they claim to believe in; they're in it for that cozy feeling of belonging to a group. They are fine with it because they do their best to ignore the contradictions of their faith. Otherwise, were you to truly believe in the Jewish god, how could you ignore that god's promised wrath for committing certain acts they do on a daily basis? For example, how could you violate the Sabbath, a felony committed by my family as I type these words and they are watching TV, when you know the god you believe in will send you to eternal damnation as a result?
Image by danny.hammontree, Creative Commons license