Understanding One's Motivation to Convert to Judaism

Conversion requires such a big life change that the motivations must be genuine and psychologically well grounded.

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Finally, there is conversion as a way to get out from under family pressures. If you are thinking of converting because of persistent messages that that is the only way you'll ever really be part of your spouse's family, you are probably resentful. You know it's not fair to you. It's also not fair to the new religion or to your children. You are approaching the religion under a cloud and may not be able to consider it on its merits. You also are likely to give a child a mixed message and leave him ambivalent about his own identity.

Excerpted from The Intermarriage Handbook: A Guide for Jews and Christians (William Morrow) with permission of HarperCollins Inc.

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Judy Petsonk

Judy Petsonk is the author of Taking Judaism Personally: Creating a Meaningful Spiritual Life, which chronicles the spiritual searches of contemporary Jews, including feminists, mystics, participants in the havurah movement, and those returning to traditional Judaism. She is married, the mother of a son and a daughter, and lives in Highland Park, New Jersey.

Jim Remsen

Jim Remsen has given workshops throughout the United States for intermarried couples and parents of intermarried couples, as well as synagogues, Jewish Community Centers, and other Jewish organizations. He is currently Faith Life Editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer and lives in suburban Philadelphia.