Page 97 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 51

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EPSTEIN / CONVERSION TO JUDAISM
89
agogue’s Program Department. B’nai B’rith Women has pub­
lished Sunie Levin’s
Mingled Roots: A Guide fo r Jewish Grandpar­
ents o f Interfaith Grandchildren
(1991), which provides activities
for grandparents.
One recent book that seeks to provide statistical information
about converts is
Jews By Choice: A Study of Converts to Reform
and Conservative Judaism
by B renda Forster and Joseph
Tabachnik (Hoboken, N.J.: Ktav, 1991). The authors analyze
the questionnaire responses of more than 400 converts and
draw some insightful conclusions from the statistics. There are
careful studies of Jewish religious beliefs and practices, Jewish
communal involvement, childrearing practices and other mea­
sures of Jewish identity in conversionary families. The book
ends up being an argument very much in favor of conversion
and includes recommendations for integrating converts into the
Jewish life more rapidly than is currently done. It is a useful
supplement to the earlier study of Reform conversions
NewJews:
The Dynamics of Religious Conversion
by Steven Huberman (New
York: UAHC, 1979).
There have not been a lot of novels about converts. Some
novels with converts as characters include:
The Assistant
by
Bernard Malamud (New York: Farrar, Strauss, 1957);
Barnaby
Rudge
by Charles Dickens;
Awakened
by Margaret Abrams (Phil­
adelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1954);
The Rabbi
by Noah
Gordon (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1965); and
Saving Graces
by
Rhoda Tagliacozzo (New York: St. Martin’s, 1979). Two other
pieces of fiction deserve mention.
Abraham ben Abraham
by Selig
Schachnowitz (Jerusalem: Feldheim, 1978) is a young adult his­
torical novel about Count Valentin Pototski, a convert who died
as a martyr in 1749.
Mommy Never Went to Hebrew School
by
Mindy Avra Portnoy (Rockville, Md.: Kar-Ben Copies, 1989)
is an excellent children’s book about conversion. It is well-
written and highly recommended for all Jewish children.
AUTOBIOGRAPHIES OF CONVERTS
Some of the best conversionary literature is contained in the
moving stories told by the converts themselves and in the books
about them.
Among the full-length autobiographies are the following: