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February 23, 1968 - Image 7

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1968-02-23

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Rabbi Gordon's 'The Nature of Conversion'
Offers Thorough Research Into Intermarriage

Rabbi Albert I. Gordon,- whose
two previous works, "Intermar-
riage" and "Jews in Suburbia,"
remain major guides for the study
of serious problems facing our
people and country, has produced
an unusually interesting additional
work on mixed
marriages, "Th
Nature of Con-
version."
This study o
45 men and wom
en who hay
abandoned t h
faiths into w
they were born,
published by
Beacon Press.
throws light on
the attitudes
those who con-
vert, present
their viewpoints
and the back
grounds of their
live s, indicated
Dr. Gordon
t h e approaches
to their needs by religious lead-
ers they consulted.
Tape-recordings of statements
by the 45 converts from the
three major faiths provide di-
rect data for an understanding
of the motives, the emotional
aspects, the family influences
and parental objections or inter-
ferences. Of the 45 cases pre-
sented here, 30 relate to Jews.
The cases processed "speak only
for themselves" and do not rep-
resent samples of all conversions,
Rabbi Gordon states, yet they
serve as a guide to an under-
standing of the intermarried and
the problems they pose.
Eminently fair in his approach
to the issues involved, taking no
sides, thoroughly objective, Dr.
Gordon, already the leading stu-
dent of the intermarriage prob-
lem, adds immeasurably to an
understanding of the issue.
While he does not editorialize
on the cases he deals with, pre-
senting the 45 basic stories as re-
lated to him, his introductory es-
say is most significant. He ex-
plains synagogue and church atti-
tudes, points out that estimates
based on surveys "suggest that
those converts who formally iden-
tify with Judaism are accepted
by Reform or Conservative Juda-
ism with only a handful entering
the Orthodox group. Orthodox

Judaism looks with disfavor upon
accepting converts, particularly,
when the reason for conversion is
generally believed to be, in at least
90 per cent of the cases, the de-
sire to marry a Jew?'
Facts and figures regarding
the extent of conversions among
the major faiths, explanations of
requirements for conversions "of
persons whom they regard as
'sincere'" by Protestantism,
Unitarian Universalist, Eastern
Orthodox Church, Roman Catho-
licism and Judaism, and a re-
view of the Jewish (Orthodox,
Conservative, Reform, Recon-
structionist) regulations are pre-
seated in the study.
It is by analyzing the type of
converts, by presenting the texts
of the 18 interviews and synopses
of 24 of the interviews that Dr.
Gordon implements his work of
research and introduces the living
examples of conversions.
Dr. Gordon offers practical sug-
gestions and in the course of his
observations asserts:
"Discussions with the converts
led me to believe that a greater
purpose could be served if all can-
didates for conversion would be
required to attend the classes for
conversion in the company of the
intended spouse. At least 80 per
cent of all conversions that pres-
ently take place are undertaken
for the purpose of meeting the
formal requirement that both hus-
band and wife be of the same
faith. There is no guarantee that
the most orthodox and beautiful of
religious ceremonies performed by
a clergyman will in itself assure
the success of such a marriage."
Thus, Dr. Gordon's work is
valuable not only for an under-
standing of the issues involved,
not merely as a guide for con-
verts, but also as a primer for
clergymen who have much to
learn from it.
There is an interesting conclud-
ing observation in which Rabbi
Gordon states:
"However zealous we may be
for the preservation of the distinc-
tive religious beliefs, values and
practices we associate with our
respective religions, we have the
duty and obligation to give to the
convert every opportunity to be-
come authentic. But to make this
possible requires not only time

Rabin in Washington to Take Up New Post

He declined to be drawn into
discussion on the question of
Israel's request for license to buy
F-4 Phantom jet fighters here. He
noted, as a military man, that
there was "always something bet-
ter" in the field of weaponry.
Asked to comment on the an-
nouncement last week that the
United States would sell weapons
and aircraft to Jordan and whether
he was "disturbed" by the Ameri-
The former chief of staff of the can decision, he replied: "Well,
Israeli forces said that no par- nobody can be very happy about
ticular significance should be at-
it."
tached in connection with his ap-
The ambassador was greeted at
pointment to the fact that he was
the airport by a delegation repre-
soldier.

WASHINGTON (JTA — Israpl's
new ambassador to the United
States, Gen. Yitzhak Rabin, ar-
rived here at Dulles International
Airport Monday night to take up
his new duties. To reporters who
met him at the airfield, he said he
was glad to have been appointed
ambassador to this country and
saw his new duties as "a heavy
responsibility."

a

senting the staff of the Israel em-

Almost every Israeli, he noted,
bassy, headed by the charge
had military experience. He said d'affaires, Ephraim Evron. Also
it was not necessary to stress the present to greet him were leaders
importance Israel attached to the of Jewish organizations.
"warm and friendly relations which
Rabin Tuesday paid his first call
now exist" between it and this
country and promised that he on Secretary of State Dean Rusk
would seek in Washington to make and was welcomed by Rusk on be-
Israel stronger, not only militarily, half of the United States govern-
ment.
but in all fields.
The meeting was described as a
He remarked that in his pre-
vious assignment—as chief of staff courtesy call in keeping with dip-
lomatic
formalities.
—his primary mission had been to
prevent war, but when this could
not be accomplished, his mission Technion Lab Ruined
had been to win the war. He failed
in the first, he said, but won in in $350,000 Blaze
HAIFA (JTA) A fire swept
the second.
through the industrial testing lab-
The envoy said that the state-
oratory
of the Haifa Technion Mon-
ment by King Hussein on re-
day morning causing an estimated
straining terrorists using Jordan
1,000,000
pounds ($350,000) in
as a base of operations against
Israel suggested that "we damage. The laboratory which be-
longs to the ministry of trade and
achieved something In the mili-
industry was wrecked. Its con-
tary action last week that re-
tents, however, are insured.
suited from Arab terrorism."

Friday, February 23, 1968-7

THE DETROIT _JEWISH NEWS

N.Y. State U. to Hold Classes in Jerusalem

but compassion and understanding
by the clergy, the spouse, the par-
ents and family of the convert
as well as those of the spouse and
by the religious community and
society into which the convert en-
ters. Even then, not all converts
will rise to the authentic stage.
My observations of these 45 con-
verts lead me to conclude that the
number of such converts can be
increased and their quality im-
proved if given the opportunity.
The task is of course not simple,
but the rewards are great."
What about the success or fail-
ure of the conversions? After re-
viewing the "results" mingled with
attitudes of converts of all faiths
under discussion in this volume,

NEW YORK (JTA) — The State operation with the department of
University of New York announced education and culture of the Jew-
that it will conduct a course this ish Agency.
Included in the $950 tuition fee
summer on ".Modern Israel" at the
Hebrew University in Jerusalem. are round trip jet air transporta-
The course was arranged in co- tion, lodging, meals and tours.

'68s

IMMEDIATE
DELIVERY

See

Larry

prehensive work of research by a
scholar who emerges as an author-
ity on the subject he has dealt
with.

Harry Abram

NO FALSE PROMISES — JUST GOOD DEALS
"WE SELL BECAUSE OF OUR REPUTATION"

JOE MAY CHEVROLET

Dr, Gordon states:

"An over-all evaluation of the
success or failure of these 45
conversions cannot be made
easily. The authentic converts
should, of coarse, be recorded as
successful inasmuch as the mo-
tives that compelled them to
seek conversion are purely in-
trinsic. But what conclusions are
to be drawn from the pro forma
and marginal converts? If the
formal and informal require-
ments of Church and Synagogue
are the basic criteria, then, I
think that these converts leave
much to be desired. If, as a con-
sequence of conversion, beliefs,
values, attitudes, practices and
sense of identification have
changed only in minor degree,
if at all, there is reason to sug-
gest that the conversion effort
has, in fact, failed insofar as
the Church and Synagogue are
concerned."
We have, therefore, in Dr. Gor-
don's "The Nature of Conversion"
a realistic approach, a thorough
study, an objective view of conver-
sions as they relate to all faiths.
It is a highly meritorious and com-

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