Page 91 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 51

Basic HTML Version

initial problem is that no up-to-date bibliography on the subject
exists. The most extensive recent bibliography is Johanan
Abraham ben Abraham: A Comprehensive Bibliography on
Proselytes and Proselytism From the 9th Century up to Our Times.
While the bibliography excludes all biblical and talmudic ma­
terials and contains no annotations, its 72 English-language en­
tries are usefully comprehensive up to its completion. The bib­
liography also includes books and articles in other European
languages, especially German, and a separate, extensive Hebrew
section. The bibliography was privately printed in Tel Aviv in
1969 and is not generally available even in research libraries.
Other, much briefer, bibliographies are in various encyclopedia
articles and as part of books, especially Joseph Rosenbloom’s
Conversion to Judaism,
which will be discussed below.
Many of the most vital issues involving conversion are to be
found in ongoing articles and argumentative opinion pieces in
the Jewish press. There is currently no book-length collection
of articles on conversion from a variety of Jewish religious view­
points and the periodical material is too extensive to be included
in this article. This guide to English-language works on con­
version is limited mostly to book-length material and includes
the most important recent works in the field, some seminal
works from an earlier era, and some shorter articles located
in books. It is divided into three sections: Advice and Infor­
mation, Autobiographies and Biographies of Converts, and the
History and Study of Conversion.
The most useful book of advice for converts and prospective
converts is
Your People, My People: Finding Acceptance and Ful­
fillment as a Jew by Choice
(Philadelphia: Jewish Publication So­
ciety, 1990) by Lena Romanoff with Lisa Hostein. The conver-
sionary process is detailed and rendered vivid by anecdotes and
guides to very practical problems. Lena Romanoff, herself a
convert, focuses on answers to questions that would-be and ac­
tual converts raise. There is an extended discussion of how con­
verts discuss their decision with their parents, how to deal with
non-Jewish grandparents, the conversion class and the conver­
sion process, and other matters. In particular, there is a charting
of the emotional and intellectual landmarks that converts will