This came up in a group discussion last night after a bible study: CAN ONE CONVERT INTO THE JEWISH FAITH? I promised the group that I would come back with an answer for next week.
I’m not a Jew but the answer is a resounding sort of!
Judaism can be broken into three main groups, these groups shouldn’t be looked at as denominations nor in the same light as the major archs of Christianity (Protestantism, Catholism, Orthodoxy). They are:
These are the most liberal Jews, don’t follow kosher law, etc. They accept converts.
These Jews are more conservative and generally follow kosher law, etc. and also accept converts however they aren’t quite as accepting of the Reform Jews and would question why you might want to.
The strictest of the three groups, very legalistic, follow the Mosaic law to the letter and all that. They range in opinion from an absolute resounding no you cannot convert, to a very hesitant “fine, you can convert”. They don’t tend to recognize those who convert to other sects as Jews, and following Jewish law don’t accept anyone whose mother was not a Jew as Jewish.
By the way, I’m not an expert in this, this is what I’ve picked up. If one of our Jewish members comes along and contradicts me, listen to what they say.
Yes, According to God’s laws yes, however, they must circumsize. According to man-made doctrines there are certain differences between different groups of Jews.
Sammy Davis, Jr. rather famously converted to Judaism. But, such conversions are rare, since Judaism is not an evangelical faith by nature.
*In early 1959, Elizabeth Taylor converted to Reform Judaism at Temple Israel in Hollywood and was given the Hebrew name of Elisheba Rachel.
For these sorts of general questions about Judaism, one of the most useful sites is ‘My Jewish Learning’ and here they are on the subject of conversion and the differences between traditions.
…not anymore, at least.
There was an episode on Law and Order several years ago where the adopted son of a Jewish business man had killed the father’s partner and fled to Israel. Israel would not extradite a Jew. The question was whether his conversion was valid. McCoy went to a Rabbinical Court in Brooklyn. The Court declared his conversion invalid. He had been circumcised but had not had the ritual bath.
I had occasion to discuss this, on another forum, with an American Jew now living in Israel. He told me that the story gave a very accurate portrayal of Jewish practice.
I don’t remember which branch of Judaism was involved.
People can and do convert to Judaism. It’s not “rare”.
Usually they convert when they marry Jews. Sometimes they move to Israel with Israeli spouses and convert there—difficult, a mandatory Orthodox conversion.
I have heard that Jewish rabbis, when approached by a convert, are required to discourage would-be converts “three times” before saying OK. Every largish synagogue has classes. The requirements vary–I do believe that circumcision is a given, however.
Anyone can convert to Judaism, yes.
Just a general note here. The requirements for conversion don’t differ much between one ‘type’ of judiasm and another. A Conservative Jew has to do pretty much everything an Orhtodox Jew has to go through in a conversion. The differences are more political. Orthodox Rabbis don’t consider Conservative Rabbis qualified to oversee a conversion.
The whole thread reminds me of a funny incident I had some years back. As a pagan, I wear a pentacle ring, which has a five-pointed star, not the six-pointed Star of David. A lot of times people confuse the two. So I was at a party and ran into a musician my wife had been working with, and he saw my hand and said “I never knew you were Jewish.” Well, I tried explaining the whole thing, but he was pretty well in the bag already, so distinctions of theology were lost on him. He insisted, “No, if you are Jewish, that’s cool with me” So I went with it. I thanked him for his tolerance and told him his name would be remembered in Israel as a righteous man!
**Sure they can, just ask Catherine Zeta Jones (what a tragic waste!) **:rolleyes:
This reminds me of a cartoon I saw some years ago. Wyatt Earp, the western lawman, married a Jewish lady and is buried in a Jewish cemetery in San Francisco. The cartoon showed a row of tombstones with the six pointed star of David. In the middle was one with the five pointed star of a sheriff’s badge.
They’re called proselytes. In the NT, “God-fearing.” Whether the latter were circumcized or not I don’t know, but at any rate these believed in the God of the Jews.