Is Britney good for the Jews?

I’m not one to dabble into gossip tabloids, but when this came across my Facebook newsfeed, I couldn’t resist (from The Sun):

BRITNEY SPEARS has never been one to take things slowly when it comes to relationships.

So it’s no surprise she’s considering converting to Judaism to show her commitment to new bloke JASON TRAWICK.

The singer has been spotted wearing a necklace with the Star of David symbol on during her world tour.

She has even recruited a rabbi to help her study the faith.

A source said: “Britney wants to try the religion Jason was brought up with.”

Brit, who had a Baptist upbringing, also dabbled in Jewish spin-off Kabbalah in 2005 after MADONNA suggested it.

I wonder how long it will be before the Scientology reps come knocking?

So the question is, is this another star toeing in the water of pop-culture Kabbalah, or is this a serious endeavor at becoming a giyoret?

And maybe the question should be asked, as it was in my Facebook newsfeed, is this good for the Jews? I have two opinions on the matter, one tongue in cheek, and one serious. The first is that every convert is good for the Jews, especially the Ashkenazi ones, it diversifies the gene pool and God knows we need that. Second, I think that Judaism, like all faiths, have the potential to bring incredible support and meaning to someone’s life, even a pop-star. Ultimately, the right question to ask is not, is anybody good for the Jews, but rather is being a Jew good for the person? So, my second opinion is that it could go either way.

Conversion is always a complicated matter, and a more public complicated matter when it’s a pop-star. Jews already have “star power,” and in the last decade, Judaism as a faith (thanks largely to pop-culture Kabbalah) has become a “star” in its own right. Jews (and anti-Semites) have an obsession with who is Jewish. Having worked in a Boston Judaica store, I can tell you there are almost as many “Jews in Sports” books as there have been Jews in sports. So does it really mean anything if, in two or three decades, someone prints a book that says “While many thought Madonna was Jewish, she was not, yet Brtiney Spears did convert.” Jews love to claim stars as their own, but I could see this potential convert not wanting to be claimed by some. Amongst the other questions I have include, when she converts, will the Kabbalah Center place more demands of observance on her? Will she perform on Shabbos and holidays? Will she convert her sons? And… do you think Britney is good for the Jews?

10 Responses to “Is Britney good for the Jews?”

  1. Was she turned away three times?


    formermuslim · July 12th, 2009 at 9:04 pm
  2. Being a convert myself… I think that even the news that seems to be generated by the possibility of her converting is Good for the Jews. Simply because it allows a dialogue that Judaism is a religion that people can become part of not just born into.


    Melissa · July 12th, 2009 at 10:44 pm
  3. Simply because it allows a dialogue that Judaism is a religion that people can become part of not just born into.
    Wow, what a revelation.


    Amit · July 13th, 2009 at 4:56 am
  4. I don’t care if her getting a Jew membership card is good for us. We’re required to welcome and love converts, and if she’s sincere whether it’s objectively good for us shouldn’t be the real question we’re asking.

    I’m more interested in knowing if conversion is good for her. Becoming non-Christian could alienate some of her fanbase.


    Kari · July 13th, 2009 at 8:25 am
  5. Word, Melissa.

    Cool it, Amit. The fact that you and I know that doesn’t mean everyone does.

    Kari, I’m not sure that’s really an issue. Her spiritual well being should be of more concern to us than her financial well being or her popularity.


    David A.M. Wilensky · July 13th, 2009 at 4:09 pm
  6. It seems to me that she’s very consciously converting for this guy Jason Trawick, not because she believes that becoming Jewish is good for her spiritual well-being. I certainly hope that whatever she ends up doing, it’s ultimately in her personal and spiritual best-interests. However, those issues don’t seem to be playing much of a role in her decision-making.


    Naomi · July 14th, 2009 at 8:43 am
  7. Naomi,

    Aren’t many if not most conversions sparked by marriage to a Jewish spouse? And in many such cases, the ger(et) enriches his/her spiritual life, and I would say the Jewish people as a whole.

    If the Britster does indeed become one of us, it will indeed be a zichus for Am Yisrael.

    And another verse will need to be added to the famous Adam Sandler song.


    jay · July 14th, 2009 at 10:38 am
  8. I can’t imagine that she’s going to take this seriously. Conversion takes quite a bit of time, dedication, commitment & learning – would she be willing to adapt her life to become a Jew?

    Ultimately, I think Britney is scampering around trying to fill a void in her life, and I don’t know if Judaism is really going to fill it for her.


    Y-Love · July 14th, 2009 at 4:17 pm
  9. Y-Love, you’re my boy, but we might be jumping to conclusions by assuming she won’t take it seriously. And isn’t anyone who converts “trying to fill a void” in their lives? You’re probably right, but still, you never know. Cat Stevens was a rockstar and he was serious about his conversion to Islam.


    shmuel · July 14th, 2009 at 9:24 pm
  10. Really funny stuff today from the new Yorker – www.newyorker.com/humor/2009/07/27/090727sh_shouts_borowitz


    Jason · July 20th, 2009 at 6:24 am

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"I may attack a certain point of view which I consider false, but I will never attack a person who preaches it. I have always a high regard for the individual who is honest and moral, even when I am not in agreement with him. Such a relation is in accord with the concept of kavod habriyot, for beloved is man for he is created in the image of God." —Rav Joseph Soloveitchik