Ask the Expert: Proselytism

Why don't Jews seek converts?

Print this page Print this page

In any event, when Paul showed up and began preaching Christianity, many of those who had been attracted to Judaism joined him. This caused the rabbis at the time to worry about whether converts' commitments could be trusted, and at that point they began actively discouraging proselytizing.

It is interesting, though, that in recent years the Reform movement has been reaching out to non-Jews, particularly non-Jews who are married to Jews, and encouraging them to convert. In 2005, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, made converting the spouses of Jews a topic of his address at the Reform movement’s biennial convention.

So no, you're not likely to find Jews knocking on your door offering to give you a copy of the Tanakh and telling you about the joys of abstaining from eating shellfish. There are a lot of reasons Jews aren't on a mission to save non-Jews. Now if we could just get the non-Jews to stop trying to save us…

Did you like this article?  MyJewishLearning is a not-for-profit organization.

Please consider making a donation today.