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This article endeavours to list some notable people who have converted, or are believed to have converted, to Judaism. Their notability is based either on outside endeavors for otherwise famous people, or on circumstances which would make their conversion itself to be notable -- such as professional clergy from other religions. The article does not differentiate between the different branches of Judaism. See also Who is a Jew? on issues related to the acceptance of conversions throughout the Jewish community.

(A number of prominent figures, such as Madonna, have recently become followers of "new age" version of Kabbalah, derived from the body of Jewish mystical teaching also called Kabbalah, but do not consider themselves – and are not considered – Jewish.)

List of converts to Judaism from Christianity[edit]

Although some people notable for arts or sciences have happened to convert to Judaism, there is a small group of people who are notable because they have converted to Judaism: professional clergy from other religions. In some cases conversion meant persecution or even death. In other cases conversion simply meant a change in career.

Christian Proselyte Communities[edit]

Former Christian clergy and Christian theologians[edit]

Former Christian clergy and Christian theologians (1970s to present)[edit]

Of Jewish descent[edit]

This section is for people who had Jewish ancestry though not matrilineally as is required by Jewish law to be considered Jewish, and so converted to Judaism, to be recognized as Jews.

Other Christians who converted to Judaism[edit]

List of converts to Judaism not from Christianity[edit]

From Atheism or Agnosticism[edit]

  • Christian B. Anfinsen, Nobel prize-winning chemist (Orthodox Judaism)[119]
  • Will Herberg, known as a social philosopher and sociologist of religion, as well as a Jewish theologian, he is also former atheist and Marxist of Jewish ancestry who was raised atheist[120]
  • Benny Lévy - Philosopher and last personal secretary of Jean-Paul Sartre
  • Suzy Menkes, fashion journalist
  • Hilary Putnam - Philosopher raised in a Jewish-atheist home
  • Eliyahu Rips - he is a member of the Department of Mathematics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Rips received the Erdős prize from the Israel Mathematical Society in 1979 and was a sectional speaker at the International Congress of Mathematicians in 1994. He embraced Orthodox Judaism.
  • Mary Doria Russell[121]
  • Mare Winningham[122][123]

From Black Hebrew Israelitism[edit]

  • Eddie Butler, Israeli singer converted to Orthodox Judaism

From Buddhism[edit]

  • Yitzhak Fanger, a former Secular Jew, who was also a Buddhist Priest and Monk underwent the act of repentance and is now a Haredi rabbi.[124]

From Islam[edit]


From Paganism[edit]

From Samaritanism[edit]

From Shinto[edit]

Undetermined former religion[edit]

Converts who later left the faith or were expelled[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ A History of the Abuyudaya Jews of Uganda
  2. ^ BBC NEWS | World | South Asia | Rabbi backs India's 'lost Jews'
  3. ^ Kulanu: Bene Ephraim of Andhra Pradesh, South India
  4. ^ Converting Inca Indians in Peru
  5. ^ Judaism - Reflections on Giur
  6. ^ Kulanu: Claim Mexico playing host to a Lost Tribe
  7. ^ http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=527&letter=A&search=Abraham%20the%20Monk
  8. ^ Jewish Encyclopedia
  9. ^ a b The University of Chicago Magazine: August 2004, [http://books.google.com/books?id=SFazbG_b6ysC&pg=PT149&dq=catholic+priest+convert+judaism&ei=-a5LR5LpKI706gLG0uTzBg&sig=X-fhSpE-lO eivXyAWeFf5xMfMSs], University of Calgary, The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (2nd ed 2001), art. Obadiah the Proselyte
  10. ^ http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?letter=R&artid=159
  11. ^ http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=1608&letter=A&search=Nicolas%20Antoine
  12. ^ a b JewishEncyclopedia.com - ALEKSEI:
  13. ^ JewishEncyclopedia.com - DANIELILLO OF LEGHORN
  14. ^ JewishEncyclopedia.com - CARRASCO
  15. ^ Commentary Magazine
  16. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=RB5aWgr7l-gC&pg=PA298&lpg=PA298&dq=1066+andrew+the+archbishop+of+bari+judaism&source=web&ots=gaMjqgYwb3&sig=QwULvssrSZQTTiGDXErqzaA_bz4
  17. ^ a b Part Two
  18. ^ The Jewish Community of Rome
  19. ^ This Month in Jewish History: September
  20. ^ Jewish History 1550 - 1559
  21. ^ http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=it&u=http://www.morasha.it/ebrei_italia/ebrei_italia04.html&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=7&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3DCornelio%2Bof%2BMontalcino%26hl%3Den
  22. ^ Jewish Expulsions
  23. ^ Same day any year, any millenium Any Yom Hashoah - Villagers with Torches
  24. ^ JewishEncyclopedia.com - ROME:
  25. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=Xt7f6WBEP0EC&pg=PA76&dq=Diego+de+assumpcao The Myth of the Jewish Race page 76
  26. ^ Jerusalem Post
  27. ^ Amazon.com: Strangers No More: One Family's Exceptional Journey from Christianity to Judaism: Books: Shlomo Ben Avraham Brunell
  28. ^ Buy.com - Providential Accidents: An Autobiography : Geza Vermes : ISBN 9780847693405
  29. ^ http://www.bejewish.org/index.php?option=com_jd-wp&Itemid=31&p=21
  30. ^ [1] ,[2] , [3] [4] and [5]
  31. ^ http://www.derechemet.org/english/cgi-bin/show.cgi?27&luth http://www.jewishsf.com/content/2-0-/module/displaystory/story_id/8718/edition_id/165/format/html/displaystory.html http://www.youngisrael.org/speakers/hove.htm http://www.bejewish.org/index.php?option=com_jd-wp&Itemid=31&p=2 http://www.torahjudaism.org/?p=113
  32. ^ Students and Adults Immerse in Yeshiva Experience - Stories - Chabad-Lubavitch News
  33. ^ http://www.bejewish.org/index.php?option=com_jd-wp&Itemid=31&p=51
  34. ^ Thomas Roper’S Story
  35. ^ Home Page for the Gavriel Sanders radio show
  36. ^ Amazon.com: To Play With Fire: One Woman's Remarkable Odyssey: Books: Tova Mordechai
  37. ^ From the Monastery to Meah Shearim: the story of an unlikely Chassid
  38. ^ Barnes & Noble.com - Books: Spiritual Homecoming, by Armando Quiros, Paperback
  39. ^ Julie Galambush from HarperCollins Publishers
  40. ^ http://www.bejewish.org/index.php?option=com_jd-wp&Itemid=31&p=7
  41. ^ Biography
  42. ^ untitled
  43. ^ JCR: Be'Chol Lashon Update 12_17_04
  44. ^ [6]
  45. ^ http://www.ikehillah.org/shrekonjudaism1/
  46. ^ Amazon.com: So Strange My Path: A Spiritual Pilgrimage: Books: Abraham Carmel
  47. ^ http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20073218,00.html
  48. ^ http://www.bejewish.org/index.php?option=com_jd-wp&Itemid=31&p=49
  49. ^ <BNhistory2>
  50. ^ Stars of David | The Jewish Exponent
  51. ^ Moment Magazine 21:1 (Feb 28, 1996), pg. 32ff.
  52. ^ http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/126736
  53. ^ http://www.thesunchronicle.com/articles/2009/02/07/faith/4334541.txt
  54. ^ http://www.shalomgemeente.nl/Joods.htm
  55. ^ [7]
  56. ^ http://www.njjewishnews.com/njjn.com/122508/njBlackAndJewish.html
  57. ^ The Jewish People's Almanac
  58. ^ http://www.kulanu.org/india/telugu_jews.php
  59. ^ http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=3241
  60. ^ THE JEWISH NEWS of Detroit, March 5, 2004 p.41
  61. ^ http://www.forward.com/articles/14317/
  62. ^ The movie Shalom y'all
  63. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, art. Aquila of Sinope
  64. ^ IMDB
  65. ^ Le Figaro Magazine which states "as though his conversion to Judaism in 2002 had paradoxically made him closer to his Pas-de-Calais roots".
  66. ^ [8]Contemplating the Infinate, Jewish art at Paulina Miller Gallery
  67. ^ Arc Poetry review of "Jacob's Dream" which states "Brewster is fascinated with her newly-adopted faith of Judaism—poems about Jewish holy days and heritage are sprinkled throughout"
  68. ^ "May Britt Joins Jewish Faith", The New York Times, 18 October 1960, p. 46
  69. ^ Q&A with Sarah Brown "Judaism, for me, is more a spiritual thing than a religion, but I feel that I have a Jewish soul. I didn't convert because of my marriage; I just always felt like there was a Jewish soul inside of me just dying to get out."
  70. ^ New York Times
  71. ^ Chicago Sun Times via "Find Articles.": Said of her conversion "I needed to know where God was, and I went back to the basics."
  72. ^ EsMas.com
  73. ^ a b c d e f g h http://www.nndb.com/event/931/000084679/
  74. ^ http://www.findingdulcinea.com/features/happy-birthday/2008/Aug/Connie-Chung.html
  75. ^ Interview with Croce's Cousin http://www.netporch.com/sa/
  76. ^ Jewish Virtual Library
  77. ^ Shanks, Hershel. "Losing Faith: How Scholarship Affects Scholars". Biblical Archaeology Review, March/April 2007.
  78. ^ A Publishers Weekly review of Jacqueline Du Pre: A Biography by Carol Easton[9] states she was "the daughter of anti-Semitic parents who herself converted to Judaism and at age 21 married Jewish pianist-conductor Daniel Barenboim."
  79. ^ [10]
  80. ^ Gensler, Howard (2006-11-27). "'Borat' to wed Aussie actress Isla Fisher". Retrieved 2006-11-29.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  81. ^ http://www.sofeminine.co.uk/w/star/n485343/news/Isla-Fisher-s-wife-wish.html
  82. ^ Luke Ford, XXX-Communicated: A Rebel Without a Shul. iUniverse, Inc., 2004. ISBN 0-595-66441-5
  83. ^ Aaron Freeman's website
  84. ^ http://adrianasassoon.wordpress.com/category/style/
  85. ^ http://www.bittenandbound.com/2008/09/15/soleil-moon-frye-aka-punky-brewster-photos-bio/
  86. ^ Jewish Encyclopedia
  87. ^ Convert Authors
  88. ^ Natan Gamedze's website
  89. ^ http://www.abc.net.au/compass/s2269904.htm
  90. ^ http://www.swedishenglishtranslation.com/jwriting/gustafsson-b.htm
  91. ^ Hart - [11] "Thought there are no Jewish Republicans in show biz? Well, Bush contributors include... host Mary Hart, who’s a convert to Judaism..."
  92. ^ Her website
  93. ^ http://www.jewsinsports.org/profile.asp?sport=baseball&ID=143
  94. ^ The Big Book of Jewish Sports People by Peter Horvitz page 53
  95. ^ IMDB
  96. ^ El Mundo
  97. ^ Times Online interview: She says in the interview "I converted to Judaism in 1983. I am not a deeply religious person but it is a vital part of my life. It shapes my beliefs, and how I look at the world."
  98. ^ Seattle Times
  99. ^ [http://www.google.com/search?q=cache:bJ5arSMnNPAJ:www.bethisrael-om.org/pdf/bignews2.pdf+%22Jamaica+Kincaid%22+conversion+ judaism+-wikipedia&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=25 Beth Israel]
  100. ^ Julis Lester's Home Page
  101. ^ Baseball Almanac.com
  102. ^ O'Toole, Lesley (2006-12-22). "Ben Stiller : 'Doing comedy is scary'". The Independent. Retrieved 2006-12-22.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  103. ^ Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco states of her marriage, "Adah was not at all interested in home or family; in fact, the only thing she shared sincerely with him was his religion–she adopted the Jewish faith and remained steadfast in it until her death."
  104. ^ "BBC On this Day"
  105. ^ The Independent Feb 7, 2005; online here Findarticles accessed 11 Dec 2006
  106. ^ The Nation
  107. ^ [12]
  108. ^ Interview at Book Browse "I am a Jew by choice and Italian by heritage. Shortly after I converted to Judaism, I came across a book by Alexander Stille called Benevolence and Betrayal: Five Italian Jewish Families Under Fascism."
  109. ^ http://57thave.wordpress.com/2009/02/18/shyne-to-be-released-in-april/
  110. ^ http://www.jewishsf.com/content/2-0-/module/displaystory/story_id/20338/edition_id/415/format/html/displaystory.html
  111. ^ New York Times book review
  112. ^ Stilley - [13] "...the former model, raised a Christian in Conway, S.C., recently announced that she is converting to Judaism. Even her rabbi is befuddled.... "The first thing that attracted me to Judaism was the undeniable family strength that has held Jewish people and culture together for 3,000 years. . . Jews, whether religious or not, know where they have come from and what they would wish for their future, and this certainty is based on fact, not faith.... "I will not be a perfect Jew, nor will Judaism make me perfect. But I know that Judaism will give me faith, support, knowledge, and history. I am not Jewish because I choose to be. I am Jewish because there is no other choice for me.""
  113. ^ In her book Elizabeth Takes Off, Taylor writes, "[Conversion to Judaism] had absolutely nothing to do with my past marriage to Mike [Todd] or my upcoming marriage to Eddie Fisher, both of whom were Jewish. It was something I had wanted to do for a long time." [14]
  114. ^ Profile at Jewishsports.com
  115. ^ Jewish Bulletin of Northern California:On being asked about Christmas, because of the Santa Claus related The Polar Express, he stated "We have a Jewish household. I converted when I married Lisa."
  116. ^ http://www.amazon.com/dp/1884956033
  117. ^ Jewish Bulletin of Northern California: "After Winningham observed her first Yom Kippur that year, she knew she had to convert, and did so March 3, 2003, accompanied by an entourage of friends and relatives."
  118. ^ Entertainment Weekly
  119. ^ NIH Profile
  120. ^ http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0748-0814(1989)7%3A1%3C247%3AFMTJCE%3E2.0.CO%3B2-5
  121. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=SdwbFx9Dz8EC&pg=PA70&lpg=PA70&dq=Mary+Doria+Russell+atheist+convert+to+judaism&source= web&ots=B3k3Y1x-zr&sig=V-x23lDfFw5fBjbJIhLQb1jJsEs
  122. ^ j. - Actress-singer Mare Winningham an unlikely Jewish soul
  123. ^ http://www.hillel.org/TemplatesHillel/Templates/news.aspx?NRMODE=Published&NRNODEGUID={072CF0C6-A8D1-496E-B652-AE4916E495F6}&NRORIGINALURL=%2Fabout%2Fnews%2F2007%2Fmar%2Fwinningham_2007Mar16.htm&NRCACHEHINT=NoModifyGuest
  124. ^ Arutz Sheva - IsraelNationalNews.com
  125. ^ Iranian Muslim converts to Judaism
  126. ^ Jewish Encyclopedia "He was by birth a Gentile from Pontus, and is said by Epiphanius to have been a connection by marriage of the emperor Hadrian and to have been appointed by him about the year 128 to an office concerned with the rebuilding of Jerusalem as "Ælia Capitolina." At some unknown age he joined the Christians, but afterward left them and became a proselyte to Judaism."
  127. ^ Fordham University
  128. ^ Jewish Encyclopedia
  129. ^ Jewish Encyclopedia "If the contradictory and sometimes legendary accounts of the personality of Dhu Nuwas given by the Arabian writers can be trusted, he was not a Jew by birth, but embraced Judaism after ascending the throne, taking the name of "Joseph."
  130. ^ Jewish Encyclopedia "Obadiah was a proselyte of Edomite origin."
  131. ^ Jewish Encyclopedia
  132. ^ Jewish Encyclopedia
  133. ^ Jewish Encyclopedia
  134. ^ BBC
  135. ^ Talmud
  136. ^ (Josephus, Jewish Antiquities xx. 7, § 3
  137. ^ Columbia Encyclopedia

Converts to Judaism J