Valley Beth Shalom, a Conservative synagogue in the Los Angeles area, published a wonderful journal of essays written by individuals who have chosen Judaism, “Your People, My People: Journeys” [PDF]. The journal includes 27 essays from a diverse array of men and women who share their reasons for conversion and what has attracted them to Judaism. Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis, nationally renowned pulpit rabbi, introduces the journal and intersperses meditations between the essays. He writes in his foreword:
[Jews-by-choice] are not Jews by blood type, but by character type. They are Jews because they have found in Judaism a wisdom, ethics, style of life and sense of the future that will fulfill their yearnings to become reflective of the image of Godliness. Judaism is not a matter of race and it is not a mater of “pure blood.” We do not choose our DNA. We chose our character.
Due to its overwhelmingly positive reception, Valley Beth Shalom has decided to expand the journal to book length and has extended an invitation to other Jews-by-choice and their families to participate by sharing their transformative stories. If you would like to participate in this project, please contact Elana Zimmerman before March 1, 2008 at 818.788.6000 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact the book’s editor Michael Halperin at email@example.com.
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