Conversion, Intermarriage, and Jewish Identity by Robert S. Hirt and Adam Mintz
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Questions of conversion have been amongst the most fraught issues on the internal Jewish agenda in Israel, the United States, and elsewhere. The rifts have grown wider given increasing rates of intermarriage in the United States and the collapse of opposition to intermarriage almost everywhere but the Orthodox community and some sections of Conservative Judaism. The spectacular success of the Soviet Jewry movement, and the critically important aliyah of roughly a million Soviet Jews, brought a new urgency to the problem. The recent battles in Israel and elsewhere regarding the standards of conversion have further complicated the issue.
The halakhic literature of the late 19th and prewar 20th centuries already reflects these problems. Urban areas like Vienna, Warsaw, and Berlin already had high rates of intermarriages well before World War II. Yet, this issue is felt more seriously in our generation than in previous ones. This monograph represents the first collection of essays and articles by leading scholars and rabbis on the topics of intermarriage, conversion, and Jewish identity. These issues stand at the forefront of the Jewish world in the 21st century. Conversion, Intermarriage, and Jewish Identity provides excellent resources for academic courses and background readings for academics and laity alike.