Lawrence J. Epstein
Conversion History: Talmudic Period
Conversion waxes and wanes, based on the historical and national circumstances of the Jews.
Conversion History: Ancient Period
The evolution of Israel as a nation into Judaism as a religion was paralleled by a move from assimilation of strangers to a more formal idea of conversion.
Conversion History: Late 20th Century
Jewish attitudes toward conversion began to change as spouses of non-Jews remained loyal to Judaism and more converts chose Judaism.
Conversion History: Middle Ages
In the face of persecution and legal restriction, codifiers of Jewish law chose survival over proselytization.
Conversion History: Secularization of the Jewish Mission
While the early Reform movement presented selected universal, liberal moral teachings as the core of Judaism, the contemporary Reform movement is rediscovering many particularistic Jewish practices.
Conversion History: Orthodox and Conservative Understandings
Orthodoxy maintains a strict legal approach to conversion, while Conservative Judaism has responded pragmatically rather than ideologically.
Converting Infants and Children
In traditional communities, a child must be formally converted if adopted or born to a non-Jewish mother.