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Tag: Conversion

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  • A Jewish conversion, three generations in the making

    By Kylie Jane Wakefield

    2 days ago

    During World War II, Mileva Popovic hid four Jewish families from the Nazis in her home in the former Yugoslavia, now Montenegro. After Mileva’s son Vladimir found out about his family history, he started to learn about Judaism and became fascinated by its teachings.

    Vladimir...

  • Conversion: George Guzman

    By Kylie Jane Wakefield

    April 2, 2014 | 1:50 pm

    George Guzman, 45, grew up in a Catholic home in Corona, Calif., and though he served as an altar boy at his local church, he never felt connected with the religion. In 1995, he turned his back on Catholicism forever.

    It happened when Guzman, who now lives in Long Beach and works...

  • In rural Uganda, small Jewish community splits over conversion

    March 24, 2014 | 12:13 pm

    On Fridays at sundown, the Jewish residents of this village set amid the lush hills of eastern Uganda gather in the synagogue to greet Shabbat.

    The room is bare, the light is dim and the Conservative prayer books are worn. But the spare surroundings do little to diminish the...

  • Natalie Portman’s husband says he is converting

    January 29, 2014 | 2:33 pm

    French choreographer Benjamin Millepied, the husband of Jewish actress Natalie Portman, told an Israeli newspaper that he is converting to Judaism.

    Millepied told the Hebrew-language Yediot Acharonot in an article published Wednesday that he is “in the middle of the conversion...

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  • After much searching, she finds hope in adopted faith

    By Kylie Jane Wakefield

    January 3, 2014 | 3:20 pm

    Growing up in Colorado, Laura Waller wasn’t raised with a religion. She knew nothing about Judaism, save for the Torah — which she read as a teenager — and her community’s negative attitudes toward it.

    “I didn’t exactly grow up in a town where being Jewish was acceptable,” she...

  • Why Bush shouldn’t talk to the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute

    By Rob Eshman

    November 12, 2013 | 1:07 pm

    A media firestorm kicked up last week after Mother Jones broke the story that President George W. Bush was to be the keynote speaker at the annual fundraiser of the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute on Nov. 14. 

    I blogged about the news as soon as I heard about it, and I’ve now...

  • Conversion: Erica Hooper

    By Kylie Jane Wakefield

    October 9, 2013 | 11:53 am

    Falling in love with a Jewish man was Erica Hooper’s introduction to Judaism, but the religion’s ideals were ultimately what made her want to embrace it for life. 

    Hooper, 30, grew up in East Los Angeles in a Catholic home. She attended Catholic school and considered herself...

  • Conversion: Kimia Sun

    By Kylie Jane Wakefield

    September 4, 2013 | 11:56 am

    Kimia Sun was born a refugee. 

    Her parents were survivors of Cambodia’s Khmer Rogue, which claimed nearly 2 million lives in the late 1970s. The couple was among the lucky ones and escaped to a refugee camp in Thailand, where Sun was born and spent her first months. Next, the...

  • Convert: Rico Collins

    August 7, 2013 | 1:24 pm

    Rico Collins, 39, was raised Southern Baptist in Jacksonville, Fla., but could never relate to the messages he heard in church as a boy. “It’s very fire and brimstone,” he said. “I didn’t like it.” 

    Collins said he didn’t fit in with the other kids at church and felt alienated...

  • Conversion: A big leap, one small step at a time

    June 6, 2013 | 2:33 pm

    Jazmine Green’s Jewish journey began when she met the person with whom she wanted to spend the rest of her life. It wasn’t until a brief separation from her boyfriend, however, that she knew she was making the right decision — to convert.

    “There was this assumption that since we...

  • Israel’s mikvahs open to non-Orthodox conversions, official clarifies

    May 23, 2013 | 9:21 am

    Clarifying existing policy, the office of Israel’s deputy religious services minister said Israel’s state-sponsored mikvahs are open for use for Conservative and Reform conversions.

    Wednesday’s announcement, said a spokesperson for Eli Ben Dahan, does not change existing policy....

  • Conversion 101

    May 8, 2013 | 11:31 am

    Conversion to Judaism is not easy. It requires a change in beliefs, actions and lifestyle. It involves extensive study, practice, a leap of faith, a shift in perception and some sacrifice. However, for those who feel it’s the right decision, it can be an exciting and rewarding...

  • Becoming Jewish: Tales from the Mikveh

    By Susan Freudenheim

    May 8, 2013 | 11:18 am

    Late on a recent Wednesday afternoon, Judith Golden and Suzanne Rosenthal perched at their desks in a small room in the depths of American Jewish University (AJU). It was a quiet day on campus; only a trickle of students occupied the new community library, the classrooms were...

  • Conversion: An Irish Catholic comes ‘home’ to Judaism

    March 21, 2013 | 4:42 am

    Growing up Catholic in Ireland can be intense, and it may be one reason why Philomena Wallace decided to become a Jew.

    “There were too many questions and no answers when I was Irish Catholic,” said Wallace, who grew up in the small village of Wexford. “It was a very strict...

  • Converting: The best decision of her life

    March 7, 2013 | 3:34 am

    When Donna Levine told her mother she had converted, the response was that she would burn in hell. A friend encouraged Levine to join Jews for Jesus. She had to explain to this friend that, unfortunately, that wouldn’t work.

    “I told her that if you are really serious about being...

  • Israeli group files lawsuit asking Interior Ministry to recognize converts

    February 27, 2013 | 8:42 am

    An Israeli advocacy group filed a lawsuit seeking the recognition of all Orthodox conversions performed in Israel.

    The Jewish Advocacy Center for ITIM: the Jewish Life Information Center petitioned the Supreme Court last week calling on the Interior Ministry to recognize the...

  • Double-dip conversion

    By Jared Baker

    January 30, 2013 | 4:17 pm

    When Jennifer Harrison-Gomez decided to convert to Judaism, her husband, Brian Gomez, followed suit.

    At 8 years old, Jennifer saw a film about Judaism that sparked her interest. In middle school, she read “The Diary of Anne Frank,” which further intrigued her. As an adult, she...

  • An example to her children

    January 9, 2013 | 11:55 am

    Fourteen years ago, Catherine and Bruce Penso’s oldest daughter, Leah, was ready to become a bat mitzvah. But before her big day, Leah told her parents that she wanted to go to the mikveh and formally convert. 

    Catherine and her younger daughter, Rebecca, decided to join Leah in...

  • Letters to the Editor: Prager on murder, Spiritual care, Christmas Mitzvah, Seeking former students

    January 2, 2013 | 3:14 pm

    Prager on Murder

    It is quite something to read Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion dean Joshua Holo’s caricature Dennis Prager as reckless, heedless, gratuitously hostile and a provocateur “painting in broad strokes of facile caricature” (Letters, Dec. 21), when...

  • Challenges and celebrations

    December 5, 2012 | 3:19 pm

    When Andromeda Stevens, 46, found herself falling in love with Judaism, she knew it was time to convert.

    She and her husband, Glenn Stevens, who live in Beverlywood, started living a Jewish life together years before they were married, and Andromeda converted after the wedding....

  • Finding Judaism through music

    November 16, 2012 | 2:01 pm

    For Chris Hardin, converting to Judaism was a family affair. 

    In November 1994, Hardin, then 38, stepped into the mikveh. That day, his daughter and wife did the same. 

    Hardin’s conversion process began when he met his future wife, Jennifer, on a cruise ship. He was directing...

  • Conversion: Michael Pershes

    October 24, 2012 | 3:06 pm

    Throughout his conversion process, Michael Pershes claims he was an “obsessive superstar Jew.” The 42-year-old real estate developer and fashion designer studied Torah and the laws of kashrut, learned modern Hebrew at the Beverly Hills Lingual Institute, volunteered for the first...

  • Stories of Jewish Conversion: Frank Siciliano

    September 27, 2012 | 11:42 am

    Hearing the name Frank Siciliano, you would probably not immediately think “Orthodox Jew.” But this Jew by Choice, who has lived in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood for the past three years, is as passionate about his religion and his people as one can get. 

    Siciliano, a...

  • Ben-Aharon

    By Rob Eshman

    August 8, 2012 | 8:24 am

    My childhood best friend was Billy Thein. We met at Encino Elementary School in Mrs. Bernstein’s third-grade class, and were pretty much inseparable after that. Billy was funny and smart and cool — and in a public school packed with the striving, anxious, gawkward spawn of...

  • Jan Perry’s quest: Spirituality, pursuit of L.A.‘s well-being

    By Bill Boyarsky

    July 25, 2012 | 12:23 pm

    I asked City Council member Jan Perry, a candidate for mayor of Los Angeles, if she was on a spiritual quest when she converted to Judaism. “Right,” she replied. “Your question is a good way to put it.”

    Perry, whose conversation offers a mixture of the spiritual and...

  • Orthodox conversions in Israel down dramatically, study shows

    May 21, 2012 | 2:54 pm

    Orthodox conversions in Israel are down by 31 percent over the past two years, according to a new report.

    “Both demographic changes and bureaucratic hurdles have contributed to this change,” said Rabbi Seth Farber, director of ITIM: Resources and Advocacy for Jewish Life.

    The...

  • Israeli high court affirms conversions questioned by rabbinical courts

    April 27, 2012 | 11:08 am

    Israel’s high court reversed two annulled conversions to Judaism and affirmed thousands of others.

    Two women had in 2008 appealed to the rabbinical appeals court annulments by lower rabbinical courts of their conversions, which came about because of divorce cases.

    The rabbinical...

  • “America needs a Jewish values voice’’

    By Shmuel Rosner

    April 14, 2012 | 9:05 am

    Rabbi Shmuley Boteach shares his thoughts on US-Israel ties, gay marriage, the conversion battle and his run for Congress as a Republican candidate in New Jersey.

    You’re running for Congress in New Jersey - why Republican and not Democrat?‎

    There are certain values within the...

  • Shahs Of Sunset – Poppa Can You Hear Me?

    By Ilana Angel

    April 11, 2012 | 9:27 am

    It’s a drag this season is only 6 shows because we are just starting to get into it and they will be gone.  It’s been interesting to meet these people and I hope when they return for season two, Ryan Seacrest lets go of the fake situations and just lets it flow.  These people are...

  • What Does Conversion Really Mean?

    By Shmuel Rosner

    March 18, 2012 | 3:10 pm

    In a joint e-mail exchange, Daniel Gordis, president of the Shalem Foundation and senior fellow at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem, and Rabbi David Ellenson, president of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, discuss Jewish conversion and their new book, “Pledges of...

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