I generally agree with the things you say, Mr. Runner. Can I call
you Beach? But I feel obliged to take issue with a couple things
>I really enjoyed the episodes on Orange is the New Black.
>As for the concept of Jews by Choice, it is somewhat different
>than a conversion, and of course does not follow any orthodox law.
Not necessarily. While it very often doesn't refer to an Orthodox
conversion, it may. In a previous post, iirc I pointed out that
those [liberal Jews] who used "Jew by choice" for invalid converts
would use the same term for valid, Orthodox converts. So there's one
kind of example.
Now of course I don't rely on them to decide who is a Jew and who
isn't, but that works in both directions and it also means I shouldn't
rely on their terminology to conclude an O Jew who had an O conversion
isn't a Jew, just because a liberal Jew calls him a Jew by choice.
But this time, I decided to see if any O Jews used the term. I don't
want to rely on my memory for that, and indeed, I found several who
All of the cites below were found using http://4torah.com
what Google calls its Custom Search, and which only looks at domains
that those who manage 4torah.com
have vetted and found to be reliably
Orthodox. But there are many good O websites that 4torah does not
" A Jew by choice is a Jew indeed."
"The man you marry can be a European Jew or an Oriental Jew, a black
Jew or a white Jew. He can be a Jew by birth or a Jew by choice."
This is a video of a talk by Rabbi Manis Friedman and the title is "A
Jew by Choice: A Relationship"
"Jews by Choice - A Look in the Beit HaMidrash of Avraham Avinu and
the Future of Judaism" Speaker: Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo 51
Shlomo Riskin "the Book of Ruth... shows that Jews by choice are
worthy of much praise......Moreover, is it not remarkable that we read
of the odyssey of a Jew by choice specifically as part of our
celebration of the giving of the Torah at Sinai?.....Boaz, perhaps a
bit embarrassed by his burgeoning amorous interest, responds by
comparing Ruth to the first Hebrew, the primary Jew-by-choice,
This isn't many, but I only went through 25 of the links, and my point
is not that "Jew by choice" is used a lot, but that it's used by some
O without fear that someone else will say the term is invalid.
** (This means they may have missed thousands of small Orthodox
websites. For example, I don't think a shul website has ever come up
in any of my searches, even though were I to have used regular
Google, most shuls have websites, most announce lectures and classes,
and many of them have serious essays online that might use the words
Jew by Choice.)
>It is simply a person making a personal conviction that they have
>decided to be a Jew.
No, not always. I would guess 1/3 of the time or less. Maybe there
are exceptions but my understanding is that all C "conversions"
require mikvah, and for a man, bris, and for all, an acceptance of the
commandments as the C people see them. (There is probably a big range,
but the details don't matter. They have to do these 2 or 3 things so
it's not merealy a person making a personal conviction.
As to R or R or R "conversions", 1) there have been quite a few public
disputes where Reform rabbis wanted to use the kosher mikva for a
conversion and have been turned down, but that shows they want to do
mikvah. When it happens, they usually look further or find a
non-kosher place to simulate tevilah. In the decades of the 50's
(maybe much earlier) until 70's, 80's maybe even until now, some
Reform "conversions" have used swimming pools. 2) In most cases
from the beginning of R until now, bris has been required for a male.
3) And I'll bet you a dime to a dollar that they do something sort of
like or in place of accepting the commandments. I would think they
get the bris part right, but I'm no authority. But even if they skip
one part and get the other two parts wrong, there is still a 2 or 3
part ceremony and it's still not merely a person making a personal
It's no more valid, but they are all entitled to the facts.
My guess is less than a third of the time, probably for the spouse of
a Jew, do the R or R or R (but not the C) just accept someone with no
ceremony at all. And I suppose there might be some lazy people who
move some place new and say they've had a conversion when they
haven't. Perhaps they don't want to take the classes that are
Oh, did I mention that C and probably R require attendance at group
classes in cities big enough to have groups, and I think they all
require individual study or discussion with the rabbi.
(I can't even guess about humanists, but they are a very small
>Of course they would not be recognized
>as a valid conversion according to Orthodox law, but there
>are many people that are members of reformed congregations or
>affiliated with Jewish life that have not gone through a conversion
>process or ceremony.
Not all of the non-Jews in liberal congregations claim to be Jews or
think of themselves as Jews. Sometimes they're there because of a
spouse and sometimes they just like it there.
>Of course, this means little accept for instances such as when a
>warden decides who should be a Jew, and of course it effects
>being accepted by law in Israel.
>I do know Jews by choice, and in fact, they are enthusiastic,
>involved but I know you wouldn't accept them as Jewish.
Aren't you still talking to Shelly?
>The real issue is that Judaism does not seek converts, with one
>When the Macabees were fighting for Israel, they were demanding
>inhabitants of Israel convert or leave. I was on a dig in Israel
>of a non Jewish home from the period. Prior to leaving they destroyed
>everything they weren't taking as their home was 4 stories in the desert.
>The top floor for living, the 2nd downstairs a pidgin coop, (the chicken
>of the desert), another level below the ground for cool living, and finally
>a bottom floor with an anchient yet still working olive press.
>The third level was filled with debris as the family threw all their posession
>into the level as a garbage dump, which of course was a great historical find.
>It was fascinating to find there was ONE period where Jews sought converts.
Very interesting. Where was the dig, do you remember? I'm planning
my next trip. Do you think I could get a 4 hour gig on a dig?