Conversion is an explosive topic in Jewish life. Historically, Jews have alternately welcomed and discouraged converts. Jewishness itself has been variously defined by religion, peoplehood, and ethnicity, with differing implications for converts in each case. In our own day the borderlines of Jewish identity appear less fixed than ever, and the question arises as to what significance conversion still holds in a Jewish world increasingly marked by assimilation, intermarriage and cultural hybridity.
Conversations on Conversion will address these issues in two ways, historically and contemporaneously. Two panels will be presented. The first centers on conversion in Jewish history from the biblical period to the mid-twentieth century, as discussed by leading historians currently conducting research on the topic at the Katz Center for Advanced Jewish Studies in Philadelphia. The second, to be hosted by WNYC radio personality Brian Lehrer, will present a range of important voices on conversion in Judaism today and address such related topics as intermarriage and the thorny political issue of the status of non-Jews in the state of Israel.
American Jewish Historical Society, Centro Primo Levi, Yeshiva University Museum, Center for Jewish History.
Conversion in Jewish History
David Satran (Hebrew University)
Paola Tartakoff (Rutgers University)
Fabrizio Lelli (Università del Salento)
Moderator: Jonathan Karp (AJHS)
Conversion in TODAY’S Jewish World
Barry Freundel (Congregation Kesher Israel), Paul Golin (Jewish Outreach Institute), Barbara Meyer (Hebrew University), Moderator: Brian Lehrer (WNYC-Radio)