Page 94 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 51

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
An important discussion of the religious rift between the O r­
thodox and the non-Orthodox from an Orthodox perspective
can be found in Reuven P. Bulka’s
The Coming Cataclysm: The
Orthodox-Reform Rift and the Future o f the Jewish People
(Oakville,
Ontario: Mosaic Press, 1984. Second Printing, 1986). Bulka pro­
vides an historical background by considering especially the po­
sition of the Reform movement, the various elements in that
rift, prominent among which is conversion, a specific proposal
for dealing with each crisis, and projections about the future.
A useful collection of articles on the subject is
The Conversion
Crisis: Essays from the Pages of Tradition
edited by Emanuel
Feldman and Joel B. Wolowelsky (New York: Ktav/The Rab­
binical Council of America, 1990). The essays, from such re­
spected Orthodox thinkers as J. David Bleich, Marc D. Angel,
and J. Simcha Cohen, are of a high intellectual caliber. Angel’s
article is particularly provocative because it provides an halakhic
approach to conversion that treats non-Orthodox preconcep­
tions about what the Orthodox believe.
INSTRUCTIVE GUIDE
Becoming a Jew
by Maurice Lamm (Middle Village, NY: Jon ­
athan David, 1991) is also valuable. This book is meant for non-
Jews considering converting, for converts, and even for those
born Jewish. Lamm’s book, like Kukoffs and Kling’s, under­
scores an interesting educational point: in terms of Jewish
knowledge, many born Jews are as Jewishly illiterate as those
coming to the religion for the first time. Because of that, in­
struction books aimed at potential converts can often be ex­
tremely useful for born Jews who have not received a sound
Jewish education. Rabbi Lamm’s book is also interesting because
it is clearly written from an Orthodox perspective. The book
may be said to indicate a more welcoming attitude toward the
very idea of conversion by the Orthodox.
Unfortunately, there is little curricular material specifically
about conversion. An excellent exception is
Jewish By Choice:
A Mini-Course on Conversion
by Bruce Kadden (Denver, Colo­
rado: Alternatives in Religious Education, 1985). This Leader’s
Guide is to help those who wish to teach a course on conversion
for 7th graders all the way to adult education classes. There
is a useful outline of a course of eight one-hour classes with