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In the Footsteps of Ruth: A Sociological Analysis of Converts to Judaism in America

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Publication Date: October 2008

Publisher(s): Institute of Contemporary Jewry

Special Collection: Berman Jewish Policy Archive

Topic: Culture and religion (Religion and religious groups)

Keywords: American Jews; Identity formation

Type: Report

Coverage: United States


In Jewish Population Studies 25 (Papers in Jewish Demography, 1989), 172-184. No consideration has been given to a model of conversion in which the convert's relationship to the larger faith community is both stimulated and reinforced by more intimate, primary group ties, namely family ties. The study seeks to demonstrate that: a) Conversion is a significant feature of modern American Jewish life; b) It results from certain family relationships that appear to be quite independent of the personal psychological dispositions of the persons involved; c) The Jewishness of the convert appears to be more a point along a continuum of becoming Jewish, rather than a sharp point that demarcates Jew from non-Jew fully.