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Choosing a Jewish Life: A Handbook for People Converting to Judaism and for Their Family and Friends Paperback – February 24, 1998
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From the Inside Flap
Here you will learn how to choose a rabbi, a synagogue, a denomination, a Hebrew name; how to handle the difficulty of putting aside Christmas; what happens at the mikvah (ritual bath) or at a hatafat dam brit (circumcision ritual for those already circumcised); how to find your footing in a new spiritual family that is not always well prepared to receive you; and how not to lose your bonds to your family of origin. Diamant anticipates all the questions, doubts, and concerns, and provides a comprehensive explanation of the rules and rituals of conversion.
From the Back Cover
--Rachel Cowan, Co-author of Mixed Blessings
--Dru Greenwood, Director, Commission on Reform Jewish Outreach, Union of American Hebrew Congregations
"Will deeply enrich the journey of anyone who is converting to Judaism."
--Rabbi David Woznica, Director, Bronfman Center for Jewish Life at the 92nd Street Y
More About the Author
When I was a child, the public library on Osborne Terrace in Newark, New Jersey, was one of the first places I was allowed to walk to all by myself. I went every week, and I can still draw a map of the children's room, up a flight of stairs,where the Louisa May Alcott books were arranged to the left as you entered.
Nonfiction, near the middle of the room, was loaded with biographies. I read several about Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt, Marie Curie, Amelia Earhart, and Helen Keller, with whom I share a birthday.
But by the time I was 11, the children's library was starting to feel confining,so I snuck downstairs to the adult stacks for a copy of The Good Earth. (I had overheard a grown-up conversation about the book and it sounded interesting.)The librarian at the desk glanced at the title and said I wasn't old enough for the novel and furthermore my card only entitled me to take out children's books.
I defended my choice. I said my parents had given me permission, which was only half a fib since my mother and father had never denied me any book. Eventually,the librarian relented and I walked home, triumphant. I had access to the BIG LIBRARY. My world would never be the same.
Top Customer Reviews
To convert because you happen to be engaged to a Jew is not a reason to convert and I think because that situation is becoming more and more common the book discusses conversion within a relationship or family as well as a single person converting for their own reasons.
As a single woman contemplating conversion I found myself questioning a lot of different things and I didn't know who or what to turn to. I met with a Conservative Rabbi that was not necessarily encouraging but was open to helping me the best way that he could. I don't know if it was because he was an Assistant Rabbi or because he wasn't the right Rabbi for me but I chose to discontinue meeting with him and continued my search for "my" Rabbi as the book mentions. I think the Rabbi you choose makes a huge difference in that he/she will be your guide and teacher on your journey through the conversion process.
This book has answered so many of my questions that I thought no one could answer. I thought I was the only one that was concerned with whether Israel would ever feel like a "homeland" to me or why some Jews I spoke with were so open and welcoming while others were close-minded and discouraging. This book has been a huge help to me and if you are contemplating Judaism, this is a great start. It's important to know that while the book won't answer all of a convert's questions (some questions will only be answered by you and your own feelings) it will answer many and be a great start.
I ultimately never made that leap, though I no longer really consider myself Christian anymore, either. I agree w/ Judaism too much for that. I guess i'm just a secular pagan Stoic, a friendly gentile w/ a deep admiration for Judaism and its traditions...and I'm probably too much the hellenic sensualist to fit the Jewish mold anyway. But it was a very spiritually uplifiting experience, my close encounter with Judaism, and this book was a profound part of that experience.
Highly recommend it to anyone converting or who knows a friend or family member who is pondering conversion.
Diamant's intention on writing this book was to provide an approachable and practical guide to those who are in the process of converting to the Jewish faith. At the beginning of each section, there is a list of questions which resemble the FAQ's (frequently asked questions) found in so many web sites. She then proceeds to answer these questions and her compassion and love of the religion shines in her answers. Diamant rarely has one answer for each question. Rather she formulates a reply with the consideration of individuals who have different needs and philosophies. For instance, in the chapter about informing one's parents about converting, she writes, "Every family is different. In some households, intimate conversations are completely taboo and there may be little or no discussion of your decision. There are families where conversion becomes the focus of unrelated and long-standing family issues. And sometimes converts confront the painful fact that members of their immediate family harbor anti-Semitic stereotypes about Jews and Judaism."
Many rabbis and advanced Jewish scholars would undoubtedly be annoyed with the brief coverage of some of the Jewish rituals and mitzvoth in this book. They many even have an issue with the proselyting tone coming from Diamant's gentle encouragement.Read more ›
One thing I found in this book that I have not found in many other books on converting to Judaism is information on children. As a single mother i am searching everywhere on info on how to best introduce Judaism to my daughter and how she can be included on this journey of mine. I am grateful about the inclusion of that subject in Mrs. Diamant's book but again it was geared towards interfaith families never single ones.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'm leaving a 3 star review for one reason only...I'm converting to Orthodox Judaism and I really wish this would've mentioned that its tailored to everyone converting to all... Read morePublished 5 hours ago by mwarfield
For someone preparing for the conversion process, this book is an excellent choice. It is easy to read, and it gives all of the information needed. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Jane Elizabeth Whatley
This is a great introductory book; but nothing takes the place of your own experience. It was the last book I read just prior to converting and I thought it was very helpful even... Read morePublished 1 month ago by MadeleineMatisse
After re-reading the book of Matthew a dozen times; added to what is taught about the Blessings of keeping the TORAH law. I chose the real thing over the diluted deception. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Thomas Paine
A very well written book. I am so happy to have found this. Rabbi Sarah suggested it to me and it really is the best choice for someone looking to convert to the Jewish faith.Published 3 months ago by Kmh_themom
I thought I was a pretty good jew before, but this book brought me to the next level. I can now latkes into shekels as well as summon Hanukkah goblins. Thanks, book.Published 4 months ago by Jake