Sylvia Barack Fishman Apprentice Jews: Social Jewishness and Conversion in Jewish Literature and Contemporary American Jewish Life

Introduction : The Trope of Relational Conversion Conversion into Judaism – the change of status from non - Jew to Jew – is a controversial topic today because it is closely linked to existential questions of what Jewish identity means in our contemporary globalizing , multicultural world : what is a Jew , and how does one learn to be a Jew ? This paper explores the image of the convert as an “ apprentice " Jew who learns to care about Jewishness and how to be a Jew through relationships with other Jews , both in Jewish literature and in contemporary Jewish life . The idea of a convert as a person who becomes linked to Jewishness by empathetic personal ties , a neophyte working with a mentor , is one important trope in Jewish literature and tradition . The best - known Jewish literary example of relational conversion is the eponymous heroine delineated in Megilat Rut , the Book of Ruth . In that biblical narrative , Ruth is a young woman who is so attached to her Israelite mother - in ...  אל הספר
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