December 7, 2005


Conservative Jews set a conversion campaign: Aim at offspring of intermarriage (Charles A. Radin, December 7, 2005, Boston Globe)

Trying to counteract the loss of membership and vitality in one of Judaism's principal groups, the Conservative movement yesterday launched what its leaders said will be an aggressive effort to convert to Judaism the gentile spouses and children of Jews who have married outside the faith.

The move is a break with a centuries-old Jewish tradition of shunning conversion efforts, an aversion traceable to the hostility that such efforts generated in countries with Christian or Muslim majorities. Even in the United States, Jews did not consider the idea of converting gentiles until the late 20th century.

The new policy is needed to preserve Jewish families in the face of high rates of intermarriage and assimilation among American Jews, said Rabbi Jerome M. Epstein, chief executive officer of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, a union of the 760 Conservative synagogues in the United States and Canada.

Quite an honor to be chosen by the Chosen.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 7, 2005 10:16 AM

Hey, you. Yeah, you. Convert.

(We're still getting the hang of this evangelizing thing.)

Posted by: David Cohen at December 7, 2005 10:38 AM

I heard that the Jews secretly rule the world and I want in.

Posted by: Bryan at December 7, 2005 11:15 AM


Now that I can get in, I may. Hard to find a Conservative Temple around here though.

Posted by: oj at December 7, 2005 11:31 AM

Jews for Moses?

Posted by: Rick T. at December 7, 2005 11:34 AM

If you could meet Osama bin Laden, would you like to

a) Praise him
b) Forgive him
c) Kill him

If you picked c, congratulations, you may be eligible for ...

Posted by: Matt Cohen at December 7, 2005 12:21 PM


What? No fair trial?

Posted by: oj at December 7, 2005 12:28 PM

No time for secular jurisprudence in the upcoming Jewification of America.

The cabal I'm forming has only to determine a good name for our glorious Jewish Inquisition before we get rolling.

Posted by: Matt Cohen at December 7, 2005 1:26 PM

Jewish evangilism always reminds of of Mel Brooks' Rabbi Tuckman from Robin Hood: Men in Tights.

It's the latest craze! The ladies love it!

Posted by: Mike Earl at December 7, 2005 1:33 PM

People drive for hours to get to our temple.

Posted by: David Cohen at December 7, 2005 1:45 PM

You're black?

Posted by: oj at December 7, 2005 1:48 PM

There's a chapter of Jews for Jesus right in downtown Hanover.

Posted by: Bryan at December 7, 2005 2:24 PM

Yes, but they're headed in the opposite direction.

Posted by: oj at December 7, 2005 2:33 PM

It's too much work to convert. I'm jewish by ancestry (though I'm not religious now) and have a couple of friends who converted. They had to take classes and put a lot of effort in - like studying for a bar mitzvah. And they're just reform! It doesn't seem to me like they'll get many takers.

Posted by: Bret at December 7, 2005 6:29 PM


If you are going to get anywhere with this, you will need to find comparables to eternal paradise and eternal damnation. I suggest lox with cream cheese and gefilte fish.

Posted by: Peter B at December 7, 2005 6:41 PM

And what's wrong with gefilte fish?

Posted by: Bret at December 7, 2005 7:35 PM

It's all about marketing. The Conservative movement is being squeezed by the Modern Orthodox on the right and the Reform on the left, as the Reform have become more traditional. I'm a perfect example -- raised Conservative, when I was rediscovering my Judaism ten years ago found the Conservative liturgy and worship service to be distant and made me twitch just like it did when I was a kid, and then found a new home ten years ago at a terrific Reform synagogue in Manhattan -- Central Synagogue. Website is When I was a kid Reform was one step removed from Unitarian due to its German Jewish origins. I can also testify that a Republican can happily belong to a Reform synagogue with a (no surprise) liberal orientation. The political bent doesn't get in the way of what's most important.

PS. What would be the Yiddish equivalent of Orrin? Beats me.

Posted by: Jim Siegel at December 7, 2005 9:51 PM


Does the spirit of Jonathan Edwards live on at your congregation?

Posted by: jim hamlen at December 7, 2005 10:34 PM

David Cohen:

Interesting to learn it's a Conservative synagogue -- for some reason, I was under the impression you were Reform. I suppose, knowing your politics, that was very silly of me.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at December 8, 2005 12:43 AM

No, I'm not black.

Gefilte fish is nasty, nasty stuff.

Although our temple is definately liberal, I, too, feel at home at the service. Because of the academic community in Northampton, the services tend to be a little more free-wheeling and open to debate than is the norm.

Posted by: David Cohen at December 8, 2005 6:28 PM

Isn't the dude in that icon on the left black?

Posted by: oj at December 8, 2005 7:37 PM

Actually, he's green. It is a detail from Marc Chagall's The Green Violinist, which was the inspiration for "Fiddler on the Roof." I was not the model.

Posted by: David Cohen at December 9, 2005 8:55 AM

Jim: More than he does at the Northampton church named for him. I hear that this Sunday's sermon is "Sinners in the hands of compassionate clergy who would never dream of being the least little bit judgmental, because one man's sin is another man's husband."

Posted by: David Cohen at December 9, 2005 8:58 AM

You're Martian?

Posted by: oj at December 9, 2005 9:02 AM

Jim, i believe the Yiddush equivalent of Orrin is Oiving.

Posted by: Rob Swadosh at December 9, 2005 10:45 AM