Conversion Crisis

Edited by J. Wolowelsky and E. Feldman

Format: Hardcover


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Conversion to Judaism has become a critical question for contemporary Jewish thought. Many modern people regard religious identity as one cultural option among others, defined, adopted and shed at will like other consumer preferences. Such an outlook is in conflict with the traditional Jewish idea that absolute, irrevocable commitment to a religious community is achieved through public engagement in particular legally binding acts that constitute conversion, as set down by Jewish religious law and its institutions. Understanding conversion thus becomes essential to understanding Judaism. The entrance to Jewish existence partakes of, and corresponds to, the reality of Jewish life as the gateway foreshadows the home.

The articles in this volume are taken from discussions in the Journal of Jewish Thought, Tradition, and focus on various aspects of the contemporary conversion crisis. Most take positions on contemporary halakhic problems. Some are concerned with the place of conversion within a broader Jewish theology. All contribute to a better understanding of this core institution of the traditional Jewish community.


Aharon Lichtenstein: On Conversion

J. David Bleich: The Conversion Crisis-A Halakhic Analysis

Abraham Carmel: My Chosen People

S. Zevulun Lieberman: A Sephardic Ban on Converts

Marc Angel: Another Halakhic Approach to Conversions

Shlomo Riskin: Conversion in Jewish Law

J. Simcha Cohen: The Conversion of Children Born to Gentile Mothers & Jewish Fathers

Moshe Yeres: Burial of Non-Halakhic Converts

Michael J. Broyde and Shmuel Kadosh: Conversion & the Acceptance of Mitsvot