Converting to Judaism

Author : Bernice K. Weiss

Available : YES
Age Group :Adults
Historically, Jews have had an ambiguous and ambivalent attitude toward non-Jews who adopt the Jewish faith. Today, however, many Jews view conversion as one means of countering the losses to the Jewish community that result from high rates of intermarriage. Weiss, a rabbi who founded the Washington Institute for Conversion and the Study of Judaism based in Rockville, Md., is clearly among those who believe that the Jewish community should be aggressive in supporting initiatives to foster outreach efforts leading to conversion. She offers instruction to non-Jews who are interested in converting; most of these potential converts' interest in Judaism arises out of the decision to marry a Jew, although occasionally someone is attracted to her classes because Judaism appears to make more sense than other faiths. The book consists of autobiographical statements by Weiss's students who tell their life stories and frankly describe their struggles to become JewsAstruggles that include opposition from family members and the oft-agonizing first steps in carving out a Jewish identity. The book also contains effusive testimonials to Weiss's sensitive shepherding of these converts into the Jewish community. It concludes with a short history of conversion to Judaism, which might have been better placed at the beginning. The autobiographical stories are designed to inspire readers who are considering conversion, and it will achieve this objective for some.

Historically, Jews have had an ambiguous and ambivalent attitude toward non-Jews who adopt the Jewish faith. Today, however, many Jews view conversion as one means of countering the losses to the Jewish community that result from high rates of intermarriage. Weiss, a rabbi who founded the Washington Institute for Conversion and the Study of Judaism based in Rockville, Md., is clearly among those who believe that the Jewish community should be aggressive in supporting initiatives to foster outreach efforts leading to conversion. She offers instruction to non-Jews who are interested in converting; most of these potential converts' interest in Judaism arises out of the decision to marry a Jew, although occasionally someone is attracted to her classes because Judaism appears to make more sense than other faiths. The book consists of autobiographical statements by Weiss's students who tell their life stories and frankly describe their struggles to become JewsAstruggles that include opposition from family members and the oft-agonizing first steps in carving out a Jewish identity. The book also contains effusive testimonials to Weiss's sensitive shepherding of these converts into the Jewish community. It concludes with a short history of conversion to Judaism, which might have been better placed at the beginning. The autobiographical stories are designed to inspire readers who are considering conversion, and it will achieve this objective for some.

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