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Celebrities Choosing Judaism

We have been busy these last weeks developing an articulated curriculum for our Empowering Ruth program—designed for women who have converted to Judaism. We piloted this program a few years ago in New York City, thanks to a grant from the Jewish Women’s Foundation in New York. And now, thanks to the generosity of the Jim Joseph Foundation, we are able to transform that pilot and what we learned from it into a formal curriculum so that we can launch the program throughout North America. Look for it soon in your community—or if you are interested in bringing it home, please be in touch with us.

When I read the news that “Wedding Crashers” star Isla Fisher recently converted to Judaism and is marrying observant Jew Sacha Baron Cohen (of “Borat” infamy), I thought that maybe she would be a great celebrity spokesperson for the launch. But she is just one of many in Hollywood who have been attracted to Judaism. We would like to invite every female celebrity who is a Jew-by-choice to consider becoming a spokesperson for Empowering Ruth.

So if Mrs. Fisher, Elizabeth Taylor, Connie Chung, or any of the other women who have proudly cast their lot with the Jewish people are reading this blog, we would welcome the opportunity to work with you. With your help, we could lend a powerful voice to women all over America who have decided to embrace Jewish life. And to all women who have recently converted, welcome. We’re thrilled to have you with us.



11 Comments

  1. I’m not thrilled to have phonies like Isla Fisher claim to be Jewish. The only reason she’s converting is please Sacha’s parents. Isla said in a recent interview that religion was not important to her and that she would convert to any religion to please Sacha.
    Isla is a disgrace to all real converts who actually love Judiasm and our community. The Rabbi who is converting her should be ashamed and so should Sacha.
    If he wanted Jewish children and a Jewish home he should have married a Jewish woman!

    Comment by anti-intermarriage — March 18, 2008 @ 6:46 pm

  2. I do not question the motive behind those who choose to embrace Judaism. Nor do I question the rabbis who officiate at those conversions.

    Comment by Kerry Olitzky — March 18, 2008 @ 8:28 pm

  3. i also do not question why people choose to convert. i am just glad they choose to do it in the first place.

    Comment by h. — March 18, 2008 @ 10:21 pm

  4. If at the time of conversion she did not have the proper intent or desire to be a Jew, but only intended to please her fiance, is she even Jewish?

    I think it is difficult to say she really converted if she admits she would convert out tomorrow if her husband wanted her to.

    Comment by marc — March 20, 2008 @ 10:08 am

  5. I prefer to let Gd be the judge of her actions.

    Comment by Kerry Olitzky — March 20, 2008 @ 10:54 am

  6. Not about “judging” her actions. If her own words indicate she may not have been a sincere convert, that is an issue of concern.

    Ultimately, only G-d knows the sincerity of a conversion, but we on earth are still charged with making decisions about it that comport with the established rules of conversion.

    Someone could, in theory, say before the mikveh “I don’t really want to be Jewish, but I’ll go through with this silly process anyway.” If the rabbis present say it was a kosher conversion, but if we found out later that the convert said that, wouldn’t we want to look into an abnormality like that?

    Comment by marc — March 24, 2008 @ 11:14 am

  7. Even sincerity is hard to judge. And unless you are a rabbi–as I am–and ever in a position to serve as a bet din, then you are not being given a position to judge or ajudicate. I prefer to trust the sincerity of their actions, since that is the way Judaism leans in any case toward deed, not creed.

    Comment by Kerry Olitzky — March 24, 2008 @ 12:48 pm

  8. What if they say openly after the fact that they were not sincere?

    Comment by marc — March 24, 2008 @ 2:54 pm

  9. again, that is something that I will leave to Gd to judge

    Comment by Kerry Olitzky — March 24, 2008 @ 4:05 pm

  10. Undoubtly G-d ultimately judges everything, but we have a bet din on earth b/c we recognize we need to do our best to issue judgments as well. Wouldn’t it at least bother you that you converted someone who was insincere?

    Comment by marc — March 24, 2008 @ 4:34 pm

  11. Of course, insincerity bothers me whatever the context. But I am not quick to judge people and trust the path in Judaism that people take cause I know the potential that Judaism holds for everyone who pursues it.

    Comment by Kerry Olitzky — March 24, 2008 @ 10:08 pm

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