8 thoughts on “Converso Dot Com

  1. Is being Jewish just membership in a group, or does it mean something deeper than that?
    Should be expect anyone who wants to convert to be ‘observant’, or is it enough just to get that census title ‘Jewish’ and join the non-religious masses?
    If the X-ians are so pro-Israel and pro-Jewish, should we try to convert them?
    Should we be pro-actively attracting more people to pad our numbers, or is it more important to try to do outreach (without talking about real tshuva) to Jews who have wandered away?

  2. Honestly, I think both are important. I don’t think we should convert anyone just to “pad out our numbers,” but a more pro-active approach couldn’t hurt. I mean, I know many gentiles who know nothing of Judaism and don’t know that its even possible to convert (they think you must be born Jewish to be a Jew). I’m not sating we should become evangelical, but some good PR couldn’t hurt. Make it clear that Judaism doesn’t require everyone to be Jewish, but those that are searching for a stronger connection to God may wish to investigate conversion. If nothing else don’t we have an obligation as a “light unto the nations” to at least educate others about the Torah and our faith? On the other hand, you are quite correct that we have an obligation to do outreach to our unobservant (or less observant) brothers and sisters.

  3. I read an article in the New York Times Magazine a few years ago about a strong trend in conversion to Judaism in the South.
    My husband has a friend who is an Orthodox Rabbi in Alabama and he turns away hundreds of potential converts a year (this is what we are supposed to do, see the book of Ruth).
    These people want to find a way to be closer to God and from the Bible it seems like become part of the Am Ha’nivchar is like getting in the express lane.
    I thank God everyday that Judaism is not a prostylitising (sp?) religion. I think the Jews need good PR but I don’t think it’s our job to convert the masses (unless they are really, really serious about becoming fully dedicated to the faith and God and our people.) All we need are a bunch more half ignorant Jews making us look like some kind of embarresing cult (like Madonna for example).
    The seven noahide should pretty much do it for most people, and if you want to support the State of Israel too, so much the better!

  4. We definitely need better PR. As for converting, it’s a strange subject.
    On a somewhat related note, there was (is?) a rabbi with the same last name in KC. He’s oldschool reform (anti-ritual, anti-tradition, pro-values, high emphasis on social justice, etc.) and I think he’s also from Brazil. Must be from the same great rabbinic family. Anywho, I once did a feature story on intermarriage/interdating, and he was the only Rabbi I talked to who enthusiastically said he’d perform intermarriages. He went on and on about love.
    Incidentally, the reform movement is bolstering its numbers by accepting mixed marriages and their children, and is growing by leaps and bounds. What about this as a form of growing the religion? Or does it harm the idea of nationhood?

  5. Judaism is not Christianity. We do not go around trying to convert non-Jews. We are not missionaries. If someone wants to convert it is he/she who should make the first move rather than we going to them.

  6. That’s an interesting question.
    When I was in college it was said that the Orthodox movement was the only one with much of a second gen. or any kind of growth.
    Now things are very different…
    I think the growth of the Jewish people is NOT a numbers game. It really boils down to what kind of Jews these people will become and why they have converted. You can increase the Jewish population anyway you like but unless these Jews or “Jews” are committed to action (torah, political, national etc…) it’s not going to make any positive difference.
    As for your use of the word “nationhood” I don’t think that adding new members to our ranks dilutes the purity of our nation or any of that Nazi malarky.
    I’d be happy to accept anyone who is genuinly ready to accept all that being a Jew entails, I just think that’s a rare find….

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