Talk:Conversion to Judaism

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This page is a double duplicate. It should be merged with either Religious conversion or the exclusively Jewish Ger tzedek. JFW | T@lk 23:21, 4 Aug 2004 (UTC)

"Jew by choice"[edit]

This section is awfully confusing. It seems completely redundant with the general topic of conversion, but then it talks about the notion that all Jews are Jews by choice in this day and age. I'll try to clean it up, but don't want to do so without giving notice on this page. --Leifern 16:08, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

Not many would agree with the notion that all Jews are Jews by choice. This is a modern concept for which I have seen no widespread acceptance. It is a perspective held by some Reform Jews, however. --Geofferic (talk) 21:13, 6 April 2010 (UTC)


Note: This is back in the News - one of the people who may have had their conversions annulled is no less than Ivanka Trump Shanac (talk) 22:32, 20 August 2016 (UTC)

I think we need to be more clear about the basis for so-called annulment - a reader may infer that a beit din may at any time annul a person's conversion if he/she is observed violating any element of halacha. I don't believe this is true, because it would end up being awfully arbitrary. I am only familiar with one such case, the so-called Paula Cohen case, and that was when she married a Kohan immediately after her conversion; and it became known when she tried to enroll her kids in an Orthodox day school years later. As far as I know, there is no ritual element to the annulment - the London Beit Din simply announced that they weren't going to respect her conversion but didn't want to put the original Beit Din in a bad light. But we can not lead a reader to believe that a convert is being watched with eagle eyes, and if he/she (and particularly she) slips up, her conversion is considered null and her children are no longer Jewish. --Leifern 16:32, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

The Paula case is somewhat different - the LBD simply did not recognise the giur. To annul a giur there needs to be a lot of evidence that the convert is not interested in keeping halakha. The annulment is a legal matter - whether the convert actually needs to be notified I do not know (although this makes sense). There is no ritual for it. Whether the children are retroactively gentiles is even more difficult. If during their birth the mother was living according to halakha this may not be so obvious. JFW | T@lk 19:55, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
Do we have examples or other sources on this issue? It is not as if there is an indefinite "probation period" for a convert, during which time a beit din can annul it if the convert throws off the yoke, so to speak. If there is any meaning to the notion that a conversion is irreversible, then you can't leave this kind of power with a beit din indefinitely. In the Paula Cohen case, it turned out that the Bet Din in Israel also "annulled" its initial conversion, partly also because she emigrated from Israel. It's all very messy; which is why this needs to be pretty precise. --Leifern 20:14, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
I found a case here in the Jerusalem post [1], in which the Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel reserves the right to withhold "final documentation" and possibly annul the conversion if the convert is found to have misled the original bet din about his/her intentions; but implied in this is once the documentation has been granted, it's irreversible. The article also mentions that this came up when a man wanted to annul his marriage to a convert without getting a divorce; and that many Orthodox rabbis opined that such annulment is contrary to halacha. --Leifern 20:22, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
There is no such thing as formal annullment of a conversion in halakhah. Period. There is only one thing: To conclude that a bet din was misled, and that it conducted a conversion under false pretenses, in which case the conversion isn't "annulled" but is rather considered never to have truly happened in the first place.
This, however, is extremely rare. In serious halakhic contexts, it is normally only used when there is a need for a halakhic pretext to annull a conversion for other halakkhic reasons (such as to remove the stigma of mamzerut, as in the famous case with Rav Goren of "the brother and the sister"). In fact, because of the biblical prohibition not to "oppress the convert," a process of "checking up" on converts might even be halakhically forbidden in normal circumstances!
In the current political climate, where Orthodox rabbis often condemn other Orthodox rabbis with the accusation that their conversions are too lenient (we won't even get into non-Orthodox movements now), sometimes the claim is made that people should be better supervised after their conversion (more to supervise the process conducted by the rabbi in question than to actually deal with the convert!) or that their conversions should be "annulled." Nevertheless this is usually rhetoric and not practice, such that the invalidation of a conversion rarely actually happens.Dovi 20:43, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
Just to be clear, "annulment" means exactly what you are talking about: to decide that an event never took place in the first place, typically because it was made on false pretenses. This is, then, not the same as to reverse a conversion, but to say that it was all a misunderstanding from the very beginning. --Leifern 20:55, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

Truthfully, Leifern is correct that "annulment" means that we know that the convert never intended to commit even minimally to Torah and Mitzvot. In such a case we realize with an unambigous knowledge that there was *never* the bais for conversion. Therefore there is no conversion. See a short Responsa by Rabbi Feinstein Yorah Deoh 157 where he states that in a situation of "umdenoh demuchach" (undeniable assumption) that the convert never intended to keep the commands of G-d there is no conversion whatsoever.


Sorry, I was editor IP 88. Thought I was signed in. My remark on the article history page was unnecessary, I apologize for that. --Yodamace1 10:54, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

Orthodox/Conservative differences[edit]

There are significant differences between Orthodox and Conservative Judaism on these issues -- will try to address --Shirahadasha 07:30, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

Marriage to kohanim[edit]

The halachic issue of a union between a female ger and a kohen is involved. I don't have the time to look it into it in detail right now, but if I remember correctly, a marriage may be accepted after the fact though it is always disallowed before the fact. The mechanics and enforcement of this are complicated. In any event, the children of such a union have a perfectly normal status and inherit in fact the kohein status, if I remember correctly. --Leifern 13:30, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

You remember incorrectly. In Orthodox Judaism, a kohen who marries a ger loses kohanic priveleges and children born of the union do not inherit Kohen status, although the marriage is nonetheless considered a valid marriage after-the-fact. Many Orthodox rabbis will not perform such a marriage, although and some will. In 1996 the Conservative CJLS abolished the rules entirely, holding that such a marriage is fully permitted and there is no effect on Kohen status or children's inheritance. See [2] In doing so, the paper claimed that the prohibition on marrying a convert was Rabbinic rather than Biblical in origin and that the CJLS has the power to overrule all rules of Rabbinic origin. The companion paper [3] abolishing the prohibition on marriage between a cohen and a divorcee, however, went much further. It has a section called "On Uprooting a Biblical Prohibition" which specificially acknowledges the prohibition involved is Biblical in origin, but declares that the CJLS has a power to abolish Biblical commandments which it deems inexpedient for modern times. It invoked the concept of "Horaat Hasha", exigency of the hour, the canonical example being Elijah the Prophet's dramatic sacrifice on Mount Carmel, violating a prohibition against sacrificing outside the Temple in Jerusalem when the Temple was standing. It said:
  • Horaat Hashaa speaks of crisis. Should the current rate of intermarriage be reversed, a future Law Committee may well decide to review this issue. At this time, however, we face a crisis of such proportion we dare not, in good conscious, stand between the marriage of two Jews whose union as forbidden by virtue of his being a Kohen and she a divorcee.
Best --Shirahadasha 19:32, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Attempts to solve the "Who is a Jew?" issue[edit]

In this section of the article, I was rather surprised to read the following regarding the 1997 Neeman commission:

The plan has been effectively rendered non-existent due to denunciations from haredi rabbis, causing some other Orthodox rabbis to back out, and causing the Israeli Chief rabbinate to not support this program.

It is indeed true that Haredi rabbis harshly denounced the findings of the Neeman commission, and that the Chief Rabbinate disliked them. However, from there to "non-existent" is quite far from reality. The recommendations of the Neeman commission were ratified into law by the Knesset, namely: That there be established a pluralistic institution to train potential converts, who would then go before the batei din of the Chief Rabbinate. The Chief Rabbinate is required by law to give fair conversion hearings to the Institute's graduates, whether the judges are pleased with the institution or not.

This has in fact happened. The Institute of Jewish Studies has been operating since 1999, and thousands of its graduates have been converted through the Chief Rabbinate. It also operates in the army, and nearly all of the thousands of immigrant soldiers converted in recent years have gone through its programs. For more information see here. NetanelY 13:34, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

You are incorrect. The joint conversion institute, as originally envisioned, never even happened. If you are claiming that any significant fraction of Orthodox rabbis respect as valid the original Neeman proposals, please provide firm sources. I do not know of any such institute, which has its converts accepted by Orthodox Judaism in Israel. The current institute does not allow for joint Reform, Conservative and Orthodox teaching and conversion. Even the Religious Zionists and the Modern Orthodox have also lost control. This institute that you refer to is now controlled by Ultra-Orthodox rabbis. They have created a new halakha that is stricter than anything known to pre-1970s Orthodox Judaism. They now force everyone to convert their families to Orthodoxy, and not just themselves. Since this is very hard to do the result is that fewer people than ever are being allowed to become Jewish. Mark3 16:18, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
The Joint Institute was established in 1998 as part of a plan by a government-appointed commission to break the decades-long deadlock between the Orthodox and non-Orthodox movements over control of the conversion process. The commission, headed by then-finance minister Yaakov Ne’eman, called for conversion candidates to undergo preparation at a special institute whose board and faculty would include Orthodox, Reform and Conservative rabbis. The plan reaffirmed the monopoly of the Orthodox chief rabbinate over the conversion ritual itself, but it called on the rabbinate to create special conversion tribunals that were expected to act more leniently than before.
Instead, according to Ish-Shalom and others, the tribunals have been stricter than ever. They cite cases of would-be converts who were required to show their intention to practice Orthodox Judaism by moving to Orthodox neighborhoods, sending their children to Orthodox schools and proving that their entire families have adopted Orthodoxy. That, liberals say, puts undue burdens on hundreds of thousands of people who live in Israel and want to be accepted into the mainstream.
Pluralist Body Blames Rabbis for Reopening ‘Who Is a Jew?’ Crisis Orly Halpern, The Forward. Feb 16, 2007

It is quite true that the Institute accuses the Rabbinate conversion courts of being too strict (even within the bounds of halakhah). In fact, this past week they just announced a "boycott" of the batei din for this reason (see recent article in Hazofe). They claim that up to half their candidates are rejected in the first visit to beit din. (The majority of those are later accepted on their second or third visits.)

However, all of this simply proves what I initially claimed, namely: That the institute has brought thousands of converts through the courts in recent years (the half that were accepted). Even the above article correctly points out that the majority of Russian immigrants who have converted in recent years have done so through the Institute:

The Institute of Jewish Studies, which is the body jointly managed by the Israeli government and the Jewish Agency, and whose graduates are the majority of new immigrants who convert...
Since the Institute of Jewish Studies was set up six years ago, it has succeeded in increasing the number of conversions in the civilian sector two and a half times, and five-fold among soldiers.

So despite all the controversy, the Institute for Jewish Studies has become a very important part of the world of conversion to Judaism in the State of Israel, through the Chief Rabbinate. The article should surely be corrected. NetanelY 21:44, 17 March 2007 (UTC)


I am shamanist. Can I join the Jewish?

Teşekkürler, iyi çalışmalar. XD kızılsungur 20:21, 6 October 2007 (UTC)

This really has nothing to do with the article... I recommend you see your local, or closest, rabbi. You cannot converto to Judaism, however, while still believing in and practicing shamanism. Tomertalk 00:31, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

Random but amusing point[edit]

The webcomic One Over Zero starts as a pointless for-the-sake-of-it webcomic and grows into some kind of philosophical examination of metafiction in self-aware comic form. At one point a golem character, Zadok, expresses interest in his originating faith, but since his fictional universe consists largely of a couple meters of desert and a handful of artificial people, he has no way of fulfilling the rituals required to convert. He is literally incapable of Judaism.

This may be the amiable brain-sprainer kind of thought, or just a dull self-evident statement to those with more than casual knowledge of the matter. Let's hope it's the former. --Kizor 01:00, 23 March 2008 (UTC)

Pre-adulthood Conversion[edit]

  • This section needs to be rephrased and/or rewritten because it claims that renunciation can be achieved after the age of majority by "declaring the commitment to remaining a Jew." This, obviously, makes no sense, seeing as this is consistent with adherence to Judaism and would not extricate one from the faith. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Absurdatheist (talkcontribs) 19:24, 15 May 2008 (UTC)

Law of return[edit]

One possible reason for undergoing a conversion to Judaism would surely be to be eligible for immigration to Israel under the Law of Return (for example if you self identify as Jewish but still "not Jewish enough" for the Israeli authorities granting the right of return). Why no section on this?--Soylentyellow (talk) 20:39, 9 September 2008 (UTC)

turn away three times[edit]

Since some people believe the urban legend that a rabbi is supposed to turn away a convert three times before converting them, allow me to state unequivocally right now: this is an urban legend! It doesn't matter how many people "believe it" or even if it's "common knowledge" - just as with many other urban legends common belief does not mean anything. If you can find me one single reliable source then I will happily withdraw my objection, but I say this knowing that there are none. (Please note that all information added to wikipedia must be backed by a reliable source). All of the sources you will find (and there are plenty on the web) are unreliable - people who are not experts simply giving their opinion and quoting this common misconception. Please remember that we accept reliable sources. There is no source for this urban legend in the talmud, rambam, rama, the shulkhan aruch, or any other source I've ever seen. You can also read the RCA's geirus procedures or Marc Angel's book (which is cited elsewhere in the article). It is simply not true. Please do not add this information again without a reliable source. --Bachrach44 (talk) 20:52, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

Here's your source: BBC which is considered reliable by Wikipedia standards. Also, Ruth chapter 1 speaks about discouraging potential converts. The fact that there are many, many, many conversion blogs and conversion related websites that talk about being turned away clearly says this is common knowledge and that it actually does happen. I understand that these cannot be considered reliable (though one should never discount dozens of stories of it happening to them and the dozens of other websites that says it happens). However, I have now provided you with two reliable sources to show that this is not simply some "urban legend" and will edit the article to include this information. Please do not revert unless you can show something reliable that says that it is an urban legend, as opposed to your above original research. --132 02:17, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
To clarify, there are many sources (such as Ruth, which you quoted, and the gemera), which mention discouraging conversion. I have no problem stating (with a source of course) that conversion is discouraged, or something which quotes the talmudic dictate to "push a convert away with the weaker left hand and draw them nearer with the right hand" (from memory so not a direct quote). My objection is rather narrow - it's with the "turn away 3 times" rule only. I've talked to plenty of rabbis who perform conversions, including some who are considered expert in the field (at least in the US), and they've all said there is no source for this rumor.

Some rabbis used to test would-be converts by turning them away three times, in order to see how sincere and determined they are. This is unusual nowadays.

Firstly they emphasize that it's not done today. Secondly, although I don't know much about conversion in the UK, but I have a feeling they've fallen for the same urban legend. As you say however, wikipedia's holy grail is verification, not truth. If you want to say that this is common practice, or even practice at all, you must show where it is implemented. It is not mentioned in the Orthodox, conservative, or Reform procedures for conversion. If you can find another organization which does conversions which does do this, then we can say so, but we need to identify such an organization first. --Bachrach44 (talk) 13:14, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
We have a reliable source that says it which means the statement can stay, whether or not individual groups have it listed in the official procedures. Period. The reliable source verifies it and that is all that is necessary for inclusion. Besides that, the source says that it's "unusual," not that it doesn't happen. If it doesn't happen, the source would have said, "This doesn't happen anymore though." Stop with your original research. It's not an urban legend (as is shown by the source, many conversion websites, and individual testimony) so stop acting like anyone who believes that it is true is gullible and falling for something that YOU have decided is an urban legend. It has happened, it is happening, and it will happen. Even if it's not happening to every single convert or isn't listed under "official" procedures, that doesn't mean it's an urban legend. Unless you can find a reliable source that actually says it is an urban legend, all this babble is original research, which has no place in any Wikipedia article. If you keep fighting this, I will take it to higher powers. --132 15:00, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
There is no need to threaten - I feel that we have been able to disagree very amicably up till now and are working well to come to a resolution which meets wikipedia's policies and procedures. I'm not putting WP:OR into an article, nor am I doing any. (Okay, I suppose calling it an urban legend was my own term and is WP:OR, but I was doing that conversationally and would never dream of putting it in the article). I simply said that this fact, if included, had to have a WP:RS. I have presented about a dozen or so sources, none of which include this. You have found one source, which is far less reliable than any of the ones I have brought, which mentions it as something rarely done today. I'm simply asking that this fact be sourced properly and that that be reflected in the article - something which you seem to be open to as well. If we use the BBC source, then we should probably also mention that none of the three major rabbinic organizations include this rule. (Citing their rules which I included links to in my previous comment). To clarify I'm not suggesting we use use the phrase "urban legend" in the article at all - I'm just saying that we need a better source than the original one and that the scope of the source be reflected.
Frankly I understand your somewhat visceral reaction. This idea is so pervasive that it has almost become a reality in and of itself in that perception frequently affects reality. I was taught that it was true, and took it as fact until recently when I had a conversation with a rabbi who does conversions for the RCA and helped draft their policies. Only afterwards did I start digging and realized it had no source. It is impossible to prove a negative so I can't prove to you that it doesn't exist "somewhere". However I can insist that we use a WP:RS. If you can find a reliable Jewish source, either classical or contemporary, for this then by all means include it with that source, but so far none has been located. --Bachrach44 (talk) 15:45, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
As a side note here's another article on Marc Angel's group's website which would probably count as a RS - it's not in the description there either. --Bachrach44 (talk) 15:45, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
You need to understand that omission from "official" procedure listings does not mean it doesn't happen (which, by the way, two of those four sources are not "official" procedures at all, as opposed to commentary on the process). I'm sure official procedures do not say, "Invite the potential convert to your house on Friday evening." or "Have the potential convert do a Jewish-oriented community service project." or "Have the potential convert participate in a local Jewish organization." etc, etc, etc, but there are many rabbis who do just that.
I suggested higher power because you're being unreasonable. I gave you a source that is reliable according to all Wikipedia standards and you decided it wasn't reliable and that they were buying into the "urban legend." I told you that it happens and that there is personal testimony of it happening and you decided it couldn't be because it's not listed in official procedures. You are advocating removing an entire sentence that many converts around the world would consider as common knowledge, as an urban legend based on nothing that you can actually prove. I'm more than willing to work through this, but only if you actually acknowledge what is and what isn't. It isn't an urban legend and my source is reliable. --132 16:07, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Here are some more sources: A rabbi says it happens Conversion information that says it happens Another AllExperts response stating it Another conversion site SoYouWanna

Most wouldn't be considered reliable, but I wanted to include a bunch of .org sites that state this, a few general "information" sites, plus something from an actual rabbi.

Here's one more RELIABLE source that lists an author:

--132 17:46, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

And I have now found an official statement by an official group (Reform): here. --132 17:54, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

I have changed this to reflect not only reality, but also the cited source, which contracted the previous wording. Short of a rabbinic source of which I am unaware, I cannot see how anyone can use the word 'required' when discussing the tradition of turning converts away 3 times. Also, the use of the word 'adamant' seems to me to imply that the rabbi was supposed to flatly refuse and turn them out, which I have never heard of happening even among those who have ever followed this tradition. Unless someone edits this to use a reliable source that actually says that rabbis have *ever* been *required* to turn anyone away for conversion any number of times (which is purely hogwash - it's just a tradition among some Ashkenaz that few follow these days), I believe my edit is proper and reflect the actual information in the actual cited source. --Geofferic (talk) 21:18, 6 April 2010 (UTC) How about someone check shulchan aruch, hilchos geirut? or mesechet geirut? (or is it sofrim?) both mention this. Likewise check the references in toldos aharon on the mentioned verse in ruth. (talk) 15:02, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

I am an orthodox rabbi who works with those converting. I never practice the "turn away" in a formal manner. I simply hand those interested in conversion a copy of "The Gerus Guide" and ask them to read the first fifty pages before scheduling their next meeting with me. About 1 in 4 calls to schedule it. The guide gives a realistic picture of what it takes to convert and only the serious will show up. It is not 100% perfect and I'm sure that something more thorough will be written in a few years. After that, about 1 in 2 will finish their conversion with me. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:10, 9 October 2011 (UTC)

3O opinion[edit]

Hi all! I have not read the arguments so far but I will in half an hour (have meeting to attend). I have checked the BBC reference and would say this (initially); it does not say who the author is, nor does it give its sources. As such, I'd say that it is not the best reference that could probably be found, but it may technically meet WP:RS. I think it would be better to find a second party source that states the author and/or states its references. Using a primary source is perfectly possible here as long as you can show that primary source referenced by a reliable third-party. Back soon. :-) fr33kman t - c 17:19, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Perhaps starting with this search at Google Books? fr33kman t - c 17:24, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
I've found another source (here) that I believe would be considered reliable as well. --132 17:47, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Without speaking of the relevance of the content, this source is reliable and can be used. fr33kman t - c 18:51, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
I've also found an official statement from an official source about this: here. I will add the two new citations to the article, with the official one listed first. --132 17:54, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
  • However, this one is an official source from someone with a vested interest in conversion and therefore looks primary to me. Whilst it can be used to support arguments, it can't be the only reference to support that argument (which ever that is). It would be better if a source can be found that references it, then we can use it, and the primary source. Wikipedia, can't be the first place to quote a primary source, we need quote the person who quoted it (if that makes any sense). fr33kman t - c 18:51, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Have reviewed it more. It can be used for Reform Jews, the organization behind it has a widely respected reputation (checked). :-) fr33kman t - c 18:58, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the help! I really appreciate the clarification and the source reviews. --132 19:18, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

sources so far, proposal[edit]

The bnet article is by far the most definitive thing found so far, however I don't think the business network is exactly a RS when it comes to Jewish law. As for most of the other sources you've found, (including the "fly fishing rabbi"), they all say the same precisely what I've been saying, which is that they would NOT turn away a convert 3 times. In fact, the Reform site you found says exactly what the reform site I originally posted said, which is not to do that.

Anyway, I think we're close to a resolution here, so let me take a stab at a proposal that I think will make us all happy (or unhappy depending on your view of compromise :-)) - it's based largely on the changes you've already made. Let me know what you think:

A tradition holds that a prospective convert should be turned away three times as a test of sincerity, though most rabbis no longer follow the tradition.<bbc><bnet?> Neither the RCA nor the Rabbinic Assembly, the leading American Orthodox and Conservative organizations, mention this action in their conversion policies<RCA><RA>, with the CCAR and URJ insert something here actively opposing it's practice.<ccar><urj>

Where I say "insert something here", a line should be added explaining who exactly those two orgs are. (I'm not sure exactly how to describe them). Frankly it's not ideal from my point of view, as I would think that a Jewish law or tradition should have a Jewish source to cite, but I'm willing to compromise. Thoughts? --Bachrach44 (talk) 21:12, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Change "mention this action" to "suggest taking this action" and I think that would be fine. Remember that I never said it was a common practice or that it happened all the time, just that it did happen, which meant that it wasn't an urban legend as you claimed it was (because an urban legend would be that it never actually happened, which is quite far from the truth on this subject). As for the "insert something here," I think links to the appropriate articles might be sufficient. --132 21:31, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
Either sounds quite neutral and generic to me. Someone should just go ahead and make the changes perhaps? fr33kman t - c 01:36, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
Whether or not something happens does not make it a tradition. Judaism has an extensive legal system, known as halakha, which comes with it. Conversion is one of the things which would be covered by halakhic rules. Tradition is also carefully defined in Judaism, in part because tradition can become law. To say that there is a Jewish tradition of X, or that X is required, should require a halakhic source. Google searches, blogs, and BBC reports do not decide the halakha. My initial challenge was to find a halakhic source for this "tradition". (As a side note, there is no halakhic source for this, however I can't prove it because I can't prove a negative). I could stick to my initial position by insisting on a RS, but then it would escalate into a massive wiki-argument and frankly I've already spent far more time on this than I'd have liked. I'll go make the changes we've agreed upon above and keep my eyes on the halakhic and academic literature - if someone publishes "the origins of the myth of turning away a convert three times" I'll reopen discussion. :-) --Bachrach44 (talk) 20:27, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
That seems reasonable. Thank you for doing so; you show yourself to be a good editor and someone others could work with by doing so! :-) fr33kman t - c 01:35, 26 September 2008 (UTC)
In the name of full disclosure I also changed the phrase "A tradition holds" to "There is a tradition". I simply felt that the word "holds" isn't usually used that way by most people, and I wanted the phrase to be easily understandable to all people. --Bachrach44 (talk) 02:57, 26 September 2008 (UTC)
That's fine. Also, I thought I'd let it be known now that we've settled on something that I converted through Orthodox standards and I was, indeed, turned away three times. This is why I was so adamant about not completely removing the statement, but I knew my personal experience wouldn't count as a source. ;-) --132 17:40, 26 September 2008 (UTC)
No, it would have been OR :-) I think this is a good solution. I've heard of it in the past as well and I'm Christian. It does sound like an interesting idea; whether it is done a lot or not, religion should need a commitment! :-) Take care guys and Happy Editing! fr33kman t - c 17:55, 26 September 2008 (UTC)
If you're still in touch with the rabbi who converted you, it might be interesting to ask him why he did that, and if he had a source or was just doing it because it seemed like a good test. --Bachrach44 (talk) 18:12, 26 September 2008 (UTC)

Bizarre Statement[edit]

Someone seems to have added the following,

The Orthodox rejection of non-Orthodox conversions is derived less from qualms with the conversion process itself, since Conservative and even some Reform conversions are ostensibly very similar to Orthodox conversions with respect to duration and content, but rather the belief that a non-Orthodox Rabbi is not qualified to oversee and perform a conversion.

It was [later] tagged as original research. This is a terrible statement; I would say it falls under the "not even wrong" category. Someone please get rid of it and replace it with something reasonable. Myrkkyhammas (talk) 05:38, 9 December 2010 (UTC)

This is actually spot-on. The Orthodox argument is that because a non-Orthodox rabbi is not really a rabbi, then any bet din presided over by a non-orthodox rabbi is invalid. Thus, any conversions by such a bet din are invalid. I will try to find some references and fix it up. Geofferic TC 09:01, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

I don't see it as anything other than reality. Orthodox rabbis never accepted non-orthodox rabbis as their peers. We use the term rabbi when referring to non-Orthodox clergy as a courtesy and not as a legitimization. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:54, 2 October 2011 (UTC)

Well, while this is perfectly true, the conversion process they do is NOTHING like the Orthodox one. This makes the above statement false, regardless to the fact that Orthodox Judaism annuls those "Rabbis"

Section: Early debate on requirement for circumcision[edit]

I have made a number of alterations to this section and I am considering expanding it a good deal, but I will wait to see if I get any feed back first. Halakah, by definition, is not settled. Statement removed. Removed incorrect inline reference to Shabbat 137a, replaced with citation to print source with correct citation to Shabbat 135a. Added clarity to a sentence (started with "This view..." when two views were in the previous thought, and the later view of that thought was not the view referenced). Clarified a section purporting to support the necessity of circumcision for converts, but actually referencing a discussion about the necessity of conversion for Jews by birth. Added cited reference supporting the opposing view that circumcision is not necessary. Replaced dead link to Josephus' Jewish Antiquities Book 20 Chapter 2 with a newer link. Not real comfortable with my citation format, any corrections would be appreciated! Geofferic TC 09:07, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

Hitgairut verses Gerut[edit]

Can anyone explain what is the difference between Hitgairut and Gerut please? Thank you very much :) (talk) 01:05, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

Gerut denotes "conversion to Judaism" as a legal concept (laws regarding the process, the legal status of people involved etc.) whereas Hitgairut denotes the actuall act of going through the conversion (the nominalization of the reflexive verb lehitgayer, "to undergo a conversion"). Dan 23:21, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

Problems with Section: Intra-Orthodox views[edit]

I've been making a few minor edits this evening to try and clean up some language and otherwise improve the tone of this entry, and this section as a whole strikes me as very problematic. The entire tone of the third paragraph and beyond seems to be far from objective and quite biased against the views and actions of the Chief Rabbi. That said, I'm really not sure how to FIX this problem. If anyone else can think of better wording that might get the information across without sounding as confrontational or biased perhaps you could take a crack at improving this. Mrspock08 (talk) 06:13, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

It is a pity that Lord Rabbi Sacks is even mentioned in the section of conversion to Judaism. Whilst some of his views are liberal, he remains a recognized Orthodox Rabbi. Orthodoxy has a rather wide berth and many rabbis of different views will still sit together as equals. The London Beis Din which conducts most conversions in the UK is well recognized by all. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:00, 2 October 2011 (UTC)

This section should be removed. Not only is it using original research, but it is of a VERY controversial nature. Orthodox Rabbis must respect each other and their views, when one is not doing a particular action correctly he can be revokes of the right to to such action (See Shlomo_Aviner#Controversy). The view presented in this section is of a very demeaning nature, seems like the person who wrote it has some personal issue with the Orthodox view of conversion to Judaism. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:35, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

I had removed the entire section since it is old, not cited, has only 1 working valid reference. That single reference is for a short statement that does not represent the main idea of this entire section, which is to degrade the view of the singular Orthodox conversions. That "Section" could be summed to a single sentence which would mean nothing to differring "Intra-Orthodox" views, since in that 1 reference controversy all agree on the way of conversion just not about how it actually happened. Please do not restore this, this is old, invalid, biased, and unreferenced! if anyone thinks this one reference has any significance, rephrase it into another section or something. Do not restore a whole section of invalidities. (talk) 20:00, 6 December 2011 (UTC)

It had a number of citations, not just one - please don't remove it in its entirety again. Jayjg (talk) 00:52, 7 December 2011 (UTC)
Are you blind? it has 2 one of which is a news article i specifically wrote about. The BBC one , which you obviously did not even READ, is a false citation which says nothing about the line it is cited in in that section!!!!!!!!!! It does not say anything about differences between Orthodox views. PLEASE READ BEFORE making a fool out of yourself. let go of your pride this is an encyclopedia, just admit being wrong. You didn't even apologize for making a false claim about the first revert. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:34, 7 December 2011 (UTC)
I will add to this that a Badatz (Not "Rabbinical Supreme Court") has no authority in Israel. The Rabanut, which is the religious authority, did rule the exact opposite which is that those conversions are fine. This is all stated in the 1 valid news reference, you also did not read! (talk) 07:41, 7 December 2011 (UTC)
I now removed irrelevant citations, missing citation and fixed the last paragraph. Do not revert with out having a basic claim, thank you. (talk) 07:48, 7 December 2011 (UTC)
I had the same revert again while i DID put a reason for it!! what the hell? this is what i wanted to write (and fix later) I will not edit this further when this "missing reason" claim keeps repeating it self after i had a reason there. (talk) 07:57, 7 December 2011 (UTC)

Since there is not a single reply to my claims here, I am to assume that you agree with me. Since I did and still do have reasons for editing, I will edit again, for the last time hopefully. (talk) 08:52, 7 December 2011 (UTC)

Introduction and the use of "righteous gentiles"[edit]

In the introduction it claims, "It is not necessary for a person to formally convert to Judaism in order to adopt any or all beliefs and practices of Judaism. In Judaism, such people are referred to as righteous gentiles (see, for example the character of Job)." There is no reference for the use of this term, and a Google search for "righteous gentiles" seems to imply the term is used to refer not to gentiles practicing Judaism but rather gentiles who risked their lives to save the lives of Jews in the Holocaust. TEApollonius (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 20:53, 31 July 2011 (UTC).

The confusion is the result of the Israeli government and the Jewish community at large needing to find a way to recognize the many Gentiles who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust. As such, a pre-existing but rarely applied term was taken. The orginal meaning can be found in the Talmud and Maimonides. Sometimes, it is necessary to go beyond google in your research. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:57, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
Look up "חסיד אומות העולם" (the Hebrew meaning of righteous gentiles) or read Seven_Laws_of_Noah

Help with English needed[edit]

I saw this because of a related change to a template on my watchlist. Moved to Talk to try and help.

Gezel HaGer
One of the Twenty-four kohanic gifts, gezel hager is paid in the event the ger passes on without issue. Thereby, the possessor of the ger's property is obligated by mitzvah to pay the amount to the kohen. This mitvah is listed as one of the ten kohanic gifts applicable even outside the Land of Israel.

The English on this article as it stands is in good English, if it is to have a paragraph like this it would need cleaning up to the same standard as the rest of the article. And a WP:RS source. And checking that the language and spelling used in the paragraph is the same as other WP articles and more importantly as mainstream sources. See WP:UE, also where use of foreign language terms in italics is appropriate, the ideally foreign term ("meaning in English") would be helpful to general readers. In ictu oculi (talk) 04:09, 18 February 2012 (UTC)

Circumcision by Proxy (Circumcision for the Dead)[edit]

A mohel named Schochet Tzodex performed a circumcision for a dead man. Is there any precedence for Circumcision by Proxy, or any halaka or talmudic justification for the practice? Should this be mentioned in the article on circumcision? Prsaucer1958 (talk) 15:30, 27 March 2012 (UTC) [source:] funny and a good find. --Richardson mcphillips (talk) 17:46, 8 October 2012 (UTC)


This 'Conversion to Judaism (Hebrew: גיור‎, giyur) is a formal act undertaken by a non-Jewish person who wishes to be recognised as a full member of the Jewish community' should really say a full member of a Jewish community. (Change in bold). Since not all branches of Judaism recognise conversions carried out by other branches, then it is not correct to imply that an individual convert will be accepted by all religious Jews as Jewish. Any comments before I make this change?Dalai lama ding dong (talk) 17:53, 2 April 2012 (UTC)

Conversion to Humanistic Judaism[edit]

This 'A Jewish conversion is both a religious act and an expression of association with the Jewish people.' is not correct. Rather it should say that A Jewish conversion is normally a religious act and always an expression of association with the Jewish people, (change in bold.) Since it is possible to convert to Humanistic Judaism which requires no statement of an individual's religous belief, this change should be made. I will then add a section on the requirements for an individual to convert to HJ. Please do not bother telling me that HJ are small in numbers, that is irrelevant. Nor is it relevant that their conversions are not accepted by some other branches of Judaism, as this applies to lots of branches of Judaism. Indeed the biggest branch of Judaism is probably Jews who are not Jews according to some other Jews.Dalai lama ding dong (talk) 18:03, 2 April 2012 (UTC)

A section on conversion to HJ sounds interesting. But I have a question, where is the demarcation between HJ and those G-d Fearers who accept most of Judaism except for circumcision? Prsaucer1958 (talk) 19:50, 2 April 2012 (UTC)


Whilst undoubtedly true this section

This mistranslation has had profound effects on the status of converts to Judaism even today in the English speaking Jewish world.

Marc Angel writes:

"The Hebrew ger (in post-Biblical times translated as "proselyte") literally means "stranger" and refers to a non-Israelite who lived among the Israelite community. When the Torah commands compassion and equal justice for the ger, it is referring to these "strangers." But Rabbinic tradition interpreted the word ger as also referring to proselytes..."[10] Angel's explanation of the literal meaning of "ger" as alien is borne out in biblical verses such as Lev 19:34:

As a citizen among you shall be the ger (the resident) who lives among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were gerim in the land of Egypt—I am the Lord your God. As Jews were not converts in Egypt, but rather residents, the verse is an indication that the meaning of ger is "resident". There is no place in the Hebrew Bible where the term "ger" is clearly used to refer to a convert to Judaism. The closest thing in the Hebrew Bible to a conversion process is the circumcision undergone by the male stranger ("ger") before eating the Passover offering (Exodus 12:48). Another passage which may be relevant to a process of conversion involves non-Jewish women captured in war who could be adopted forcibly as wives (Deuteronomy 21:10–14).

is not relevant to conversion to judaism. There is too much information here, and it is not relevant. it may belong in an article about the status of converts, but not here. (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 19:44, 9 August 2012 (UTC)

Active proselytizing in the past[edit]

The Wikipedia article about Tiberius claims that during the emperors reign around 17 AD, Jews were actively trying to convert Romans, an act which made him suspicious. Is this true, and if so, when did this practice stop (since Jews no longer actively proselytize, as this article states)? LonelyBoy2012 (talk) 00:27, 18 September 2012 (UTC)


Declaration that all "mainstream" divisions of Judaism accept conversion is both false and offensive. Especially since the largest Jewish organization in the world refuses converts. There is infact an officially Jewish state called Israel which gives rights based on being Jewish that does not recognize conversion as legitimate. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:36, 22 April 2015 (UTC)

Possible NY Times summary of contemporary "Conversion" issues and interpretations[edit]

"Conversions of Children Spur Debate Over Who Controls Jewish Law in Israel"

I leave this source for myself and for anyone else who sees how to use this New York Times summary within the context of the already worthy explanations on this Wikipedia page. Rednblu (talk) 16:32, 11 August 2015 (UTC)

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