The Bow-Tied Blogger

The life and adventures of one soldier and his various journeys.

  Sunday, February 11, 2007

Time for another review.

I should post more often, but work is draining all my energy and spirits, and then our leadership has been giving constant barracks inspections the last week.

Now for my next review:

Becoming a Jew, by Maurice Lamm.

This is the ultimate book for anyone interested in Judaism (including born Jews) and especially for someone curious about conversion. The first part of the book gives details about people who have converted and their stories. Some people convert out of marriage, while others convert because they have found a spiritual home in Judaism (like myself).

The conversion stories are interesting to read about, and I took an additional interest in conversion stories from former Catholics, especially reading about one who was a Dominican priest. In addition, there are explanations given about the reluctance of some Jews to welcome the idea of converts and in fact one Sephardic sect will not acknowledge any convert. The reasons date back to Rome as well as the Middle East and Medieval and even early modern Europe, where the entire Jewish community in a village could face heavy persecution if a Muslim or Christian converted.

The second part of the book talks about the process of conversion including circumcision and the symbolic circumcision for civilized men who were circumcised at birth, along with the mikveh, and the Beit Din. Additionally, there are two chapters devoted to the Jewish holidays, and explanations about some of the mitzvot, especially the more visible ones like the mezzuzah, tallit, tzitzit, and kippah.

For a potential convert this is excellent reading. Also, it is a good book for many Jews who are not as knowledgeable about their faith as they'd like, or if they are curious about why someone would convert, they'd enjoy the stories.

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