Publication Date: January 2004
Publisher: Association for the Social Scientific Study of Jewry
Author(s): Jessica Greenbaum
Research Area: Culture and religion
Keywords: American Jews; Congregations; Identity formation
Coverage: New York
In Contemporary Jewry 24, 82-103. This paper explores how the rabbi and teachers of the "Welcome to Judaism" class dealt with the threat of intermarriage and symbolic religiosity by responding to the needs and desires of the potential converts. The lessons taught by the rabbi and the teachers not only shaped the conversion experience, they also defined what it means to be a Reform Jew. The paper is part of a larger qualitative study on identity construction and conversion to Reform Judaism; it is based on 20 observations of a "Welcome to Judaism" class at a Reform synagogue in central New York.
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