The easy-to-read format invites readers to explore some of the most sensitive and troubling questions about becoming part of the Jewish community. Plenty of inspirational anecdotes and true stories about converts illustrate the vibrant and exciting spiritual path of conversion and highlight the topics explored with real-life examples. The first section of the book deals with issues about becoming Jewish and includes questions about who converts and why, how to tell parents about the decision to convert, asking someone else to consider conversion, where to obtain more information and advice about conversion and Judaism, and the steps of the conversion process. Following these discussions, post-conversion concerns are dealt with, including such emotional aspects as the convert's relationship to Israel and feelings about the Holocaust, as well as painful points of conflict such as honoring one's gentile parents, telling children about conversion, and the Christmas dilemma. The final section of the book focuses on conversion in Jewish thought, history, and in the modern community.
While this unique reference book is mainly intended for those who are considering becoming Jewish and are looking for answers to their initial questions, it will also prove helpful to those who have already converted, to Jewish communal professionals who work with converts, and to anyone else interested in the subject. Of course, anyone seriously interested in conversion should consult with a rabbi, but the information and advice contained in these pages will serve as a useful beginning and a convenient guide for those who wish to embark on the rewarding and fulfilling journey of conversion to Judaism.
Lawrence J. Epstein is professor of English and chairperson of the Division of Humanities at Suffolk County Community College. The author of Samuel Goldwyn (1981) and Zion's Call (1984), he has also written more than 100 articles, stories, and reviews on Jewish life that have been published in various major Jewish periodicals. Dr. Epstein served as Middle East advisor to a U.S. congressman from 1981 to 1986 and currently lives in Stony Brook, New York with his wife Sharon and their four children.