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Pledges of Jewish Allegiance: Conversion, Law, and Policymaking in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Orthodox Responsa (Stanford Studies in Jewish History and C) Hardcover – January 18, 2012
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The book is very useful as background for anyone who wishes to understand and debate contemporary Jewish life and to follow the intense debate, especially in Israel, over this issue. It's a serious book, scholarly rather than popular. It's hard, though, to imagine a more interesting or valuable book on the subject.
1. There is a good, strong index and bibliography.
2. The research appears to be very thorough and exhaustive.
There are some things that could have made this book a lot better:
1. The sourcing of the references is such that it is very difficult to know where to go to find them;
2. There are many Hebrew words written in transliteration. It might have been nice to have the word written in Hebrew in parenthesis.
Who is this book for?
1. Obviously, it is for Rabbis that want a broad discussion of conversion law over the past couple of hundred years.
2. It can be useful for a potential convert who wants to have an idea of where a Beit Din is coming from in accepting him or rejecting him. (I am trying to get an Orthodox conversion and am having a lot of problems with the Beit Din. This gives me a decent number of sources with which I can press my petition.)
Even if the Jews who wrote it are Reform/ Secular, that does not seem to diminish from the scholarship in any way.
Verdict: Recommended at the new price.