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CONVERSION TO JUDAISM IN JEWISH LAW

Essays and Responsa

1994 - ISBN 0-929699-05-X

Contents

Halakhah and Ulterior Motives - Rabbinic Discretion and the Law of Conversion - Mark Washovsky. .............1

Retroactive Annulment of a Conversion - A Survey of Representative Halakhic Sources - David Ellenson .........49

Sincere Conversion and Ulterior Motives - Bernard M. Zlotowitz .....................................................................67

Ambivalence in Proselytism - Moshe Zemer .....................................................................................................83

Without Milah and Tevilah - Richard Rosenthal .............................................................................................103

Conversion and the Developing Reform Halakhah - Walter Jacob ...................................................................115

Selected Reform Responsa

Conversion Without Formal Instruction ..............................................................................................................135

Gerut and the Question of Belief .......................................................................................................................141

Convert from Another Land .............................................................................................................................145

Conversion and Church Membership ...............................................................................................................147

Mental Competency of a Convert ....................................................................................................................151

The Pregnant Proselyte ....................................................................................................................................153

Converting a Married Woman .........................................................................................................................157

Conversion of a Young Child ..........................................................................................................................159

Circumcision of Proselytes ..............................................................................................................................163

Prospective Convert who Fears Circumcision and Miqveh .............................................................................171

Convert and Hebrew .....................................................................................................................................175

Miqveh and Reform Converts .......................................................................................................................177

Swimming Pool as a Miqveh ........................................................................................................................181

The Incomplete Conversion ..........................................................................................................................185

Layman Conducting a Conversion ................................................................................................................189

Privacy of a Convert ...................................................................................................................................195

Unprovable Claims to Conversion ..............................................................................................................197

The Course of Study for Gerut ...................................................................................................................203

The Proselyte and Her Gentile Parents .......................................................................................................205

Memorializing Christian Relatives ...............................................................................................................209

An Apostate Proselyte ..............................................................................................................................213

Contributors

David Ellenson is I.A. and Anna Grancell Professor of Jewish Religious Thought at the Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles as well as visiting Professor of History at the University of California, Los Angeles. He has published Tradition in Transition: Orthodoxy, Halakhah, and Boundaries of Modern Jewish Identity, and Rabbi Esriel Hildesheimer and the Creation of Modern Jewish Orthodoxy. Between Tradition and Culture is scheduled for publication in 1994.

Solomon B. Freehof (1893-1990) was Rabbi of the Rodef Shalom Congregation, President of the Central Conference of American Rabbis and the World Union for Progressive Judaism, Chair of the Responsa Committee of the Central Conference of American Rabbis. Author of eight volumes of responsa including Today's Reform Responsa (1990), as well as Reform Jewish Practice (1947, 1952), The Responsa Literature (1955), A Treasury of Responsa (1963).

Walter Jacob is President of the Abraham Geiger College in Berlin/Potsdam; Senior Scholar of Rodef Shalom Congregation, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; President of the Freehof Institute of Progressive Halakhah and the Associated American Jewish Museums. Author, editor, or translator of thirty-six books including Christianity through Jewish Eyes (1974), American Reform Responsa (1983), The Pittsburgh Platform in Retrospect (1985), Liberal Judaism and Halakhah (1988), The Second Book of the Bible: Exodus Interpreted by Benno Jacob (1992), Die Exegese hat das erste Wort (2002), Pursuing Peace Across the Alleghenies (2005), Hesed and Tzedakah - From the Bible to Modernity (2006); Napoleonís Influence on Jewish Law (2007), and more than twelve hundred published essays and sermons.

 

Richard Rosenthal is rabbi, Temple Beth El, Tacoma, Washington and Adjunct Professor at the University of Puget Sound. He has written essays on Jewish law.

Mark Washofsky is Associate Professor of Rabbinics - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati. His publications include studies on the development of halakhic thought in medieval and modern times. He currently serves as Vice Chair of the Responsa Committee of the Central Conference of American Rabbis.

Moshe Zemer is Director of the Freehof Institute of Progressive Halakhah. He is a founder of the Movement for Progressive Judaism in Israel and founding rabbi of the Kedem Synagogue-Bet Daniel, Tel Aviv. He is Av Bet Din of the Israel Council of Progressive Rabbis and Senior Lecturer in Rabbinic at Hebrew Union College, Jerusalem. He has also contributed numerous articles on halakhah in the Israeli press and scientific journals. He is author of The Sane Halakhah (1993).

Bernard M. Zlotowitz is rabbi and Senior Scholar for the Union of American Hebrew Congregations; doctorate in Septuagint from the Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion. He writes the column, "Q & A" for Reform Judaism. Author many books as well as scholarly and popular articles.

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