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Converting to Judaism: Choosing to Be Chosen : Personal Stories Paperback – October 1, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 150 pages
  • Publisher: Simcha Press (October 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558748202
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558748200
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,007,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Historically, Jews have had an ambiguous and ambivalent attitude toward non-Jews who adopt the Jewish faith. Today, however, many Jews view conversion as one means of countering the losses to the Jewish community that result from high rates of intermarriage. Weiss, a rabbi who founded the Washington Institute for Conversion and the Study of Judaism based in Rockville, Md., is clearly among those who believe that the Jewish community should be aggressive in supporting initiatives to foster outreach efforts leading to conversion. She offers instruction to non-Jews who are interested in converting; most of these potential converts' interest in Judaism arises out of the decision to marry a Jew, although occasionally someone is attracted to her classes because Judaism appears to make more sense than other faiths. The book consists of autobiographical statements by Weiss's students who tell their life stories and frankly describe their struggles to become JewsAstruggles that include opposition from family members and the oft-agonizing first steps in carving out a Jewish identity. The book also contains effusive testimonials to Weiss's sensitive shepherding of these converts into the Jewish community. It concludes with a short history of conversion to Judaism, which might have been better placed at the beginning. The autobiographical stories are designed to inspire readers who are considering conversion, and it will achieve this objective for some. Others may find this anecdotal approach too simplistic. (Oct.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Rabbi Bernice K. Weiss is the founder and director of the Washington Institute for Conversion and the Study of Judaism, located in Rockville, Maryland. Following an undergraduate education at the University of Pittsburgh, and graduate work at George Washington University, upon graduating from the Academy for Jewish Religion in 1989, she entered the rabbinate. Rabbi Weiss received the prestigious Melton Senior Educators Fellowship for Jewish Education in the Diaspora and spent 1995/1996 at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. A member of the United Jewish Appeal Rabbinic Cabinet and the Washington Board of Rabbis, she has served as interim associate rabbi for the 1200 families of Congregation Har Shalom, also in Rockville. The unique program of the Washington Institute is derived from Rabbi Weiss' experiences as a parent and active participant in the Jewish Community of Greater Washington. Her areas of expertise, upon which she speaks include: Journeys into Jewish Life, Living Judaism/Loving Judaism, the History of Conversion and the Conversion of History, and Setting the Course for Adults Studying Judaism.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
The book is very fast moving with personal testament from people who converted to Judaism. Some of these people wanted to create a more spiritual environment for the spouse and future family. Some never found meaning in their own religion. I think that the interesting part is that the stories are so personal and real. It's possible to relate.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Eliana B. on July 5, 2012
Format: Paperback
I didn't convert to Judaism for marriage. In fact, converting was the farthest thing from my mind at that time. I was intensely studying a Catholic devotional, hoping to one day become part of a secular third order. I was attempting to deepen my relationship with Mary, attempting to deepen my faith period. Although, I'd always had great respect for Judaism and for Israel, I was and forever expected to remain, a Christian. One day that all changed and in my confusion and turmoil I found this book on Amazon. I bought many books during those first weeks and months hoping to find answers, something that could explain what was happening to me. This book was the first I finished. Discovering I was not alone, that there were others like me, no matter the differences in our backgrounds or stories, was of great comfort to me. Surprisingly, the stories that touched me most in the book were the struggles of Jews by birth, who for whatever reasons were returning to their long lost faith. There's something for everyone to enjoy; and I personally did not want it to end. I'm really looking forward to her next.

Later, so taken by this wonderful book, I wrote to Rabbi Weiss asking for advice and inquired whether she would be willing to help me in my conversion journey. I had never before or since had the courage to write an author. Nevertheless, and although I lived thousands of miles away, she willingly took on the challenge. Fortunately for me, we had six wonderful sessions together via Skype. Unfortunately for me I was unable to continue, at that time, due to personal & family obligations that superseded. Happily though, I did complete my journey here in California and was accepted into the Jewish faith on Dec 22, 2011 through the Masorti/Conservative movement at AJU in Bel Air.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ali Dimashkieh on October 24, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Whether you are considering conversion, or you already converted to Judaism, this book will show you that you are not alone. Through smooth story telling and testimonies, Rabbi Bernice Weiss go deep into the drivers for conversion with first hand experience. This book will tell you how satisfying and fulfilling is to listen to the voices of your heart and your brain combined. The unique style of the author gives you snapshots of very personal experiences that, regardless of your faith or believes, will touch a piece of your mind and soul. It is a heart warming read.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Anyechka on September 28, 2009
Format: Paperback
Though I converted entirely for myself, as did Ezra and Elizabeth, and had already been Jewish for going on ten years when I finally met my (extremely non-observant) beshert, this book really helped me to understand what goes on in the mind, heart, and soul of a fellow JBC who converted for the sake of a romantic relationship. I once felt that converting just for marriage is a very insincere reason, but the people in this book aren't like that at all. There wasn't the mindset that was much more common a few decades ago, "Ooh, I'm getting married, I have to convert!" Rather, these people were moved to start (or, in some cases, continue) exploring Judaism because of the catalyst of a Jewish love interest. Many of them had been looking for deeper spirituality or the grounding of a religious faith for some time, and had been being led towards Judaism anyway. This book also helped me to understand how the Jewish partners came to be interdating in the first place. While I remain 100% against interdating and intermarriage, and am sad that so many people nowadays think it's no big deal to date people who aren't co-religionists, I came to see that these people weren't doing it out of self-hating reasons or because they deliberately wanted to marry a non-Jew and risk having their descendants lost to their birthright. Typically, most of the Jewish partners weren't very observant to begin with, and were more "culturally" Jewish than religiously so, but they still had a very strong sense of peoplehood and the need to pass that on to their future kids. The fact that many of them drew their partners into a much deeper and committed level of observance also gives me hope that someday I'll be able to bring my non-observant beshert to a deeper level of religiosity for the sake of our own future child(ren)!Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By HappyShar on October 28, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I always knew that I wanted to convert to Judaism, but hadn't started the process due to marriage to a Christian. After my divorce, I wanted to learn about the process and found Rabbi Weiss's book here. I couldn't put it down. Every story is so different, yet so similar. I was so touched and moved by the stories that, even though I'm not converting because of a relationship or potential marriage, I knew that conversion was absolutely the right path for me. I have since started my studies and am on my way. This book paved the way for me and I can't wait to read her next book!
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