Sunday, May 10, 2009

Conversion Today

In the latest issue of Tradition (link), hot off the presses and available online but not yet arrived to my house (and therefore not fully reviewed), R. Michael J. Broyde publishes a review of Avi Sagi and Zvi Zohar's book about conversion, Transforming Identity: The Ritual Transition from Gentile to Jew—Structure and Meaning. This is the book that is supposed to make the case that someone can convert even without accepting observance of the commandments. R. Broyde's conclusion is:

This book, while well-intentioned, ultimately fails in its reading of the rabbinic tradition and Jewish law. Its basic arguments—that the two Talmudic sources discussing conversion are in tension with each other, and that while some Rishonim accept one and require kabbalat ha-mitsvot, some accept the other source and do not require kabbalat ha-mitsvot—is without precedent and includes a glaring misunderstanding of the Jewish legal system.
The following is a link to the Tradition website which contains an unprotected copy of the entire review: link.

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