Book review: A Concise Code of Jewish Law for Converts

Many new parents, this writer included, wore out their copies of What to Expect the First Year. For the parents just starting out, this was their go-to guide to navigate the often turbulent their first year of parenthood.

For the new convert to Judaism, once their conversion completes, they are often left in a whirlwind, with many questions, and often not a whole lot of resource to turn to. They need a similar guide to help them navigate down their newly found religious path.

In A Concise Code of Jewish Law for Converts, (Urim Publications 978-9655242492) Rabbi Michael Broyde (professor of law at Emory University) has written a useful reference that can assist the convert in navigating the often challenging first year and beyond.

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In this monograph, Broyde has a written an extremely helpful resource that can be used by converts to quickly find answers they need on a variety of topics. Broyde has arranged the book around the four sections of the Code of Jewish law, and has encapsulated pretty much every topic that is relevant to a convert. The book discusses the entire lifecycle the convert must traverse; from their relationship with their now non-Jewish family, how to deal with certain texts in prayer, marriage, business dealing and more.

Broyde doesn’t deal with any aspects of an actual conversion or the laws relating to how it works. Rather it deals with the laws relating to how the convert works within from when their conversion commences.

The book is relevant not just to a convert, but to all member of the Jewish faith. Broyde reiterates the imperative that a convert be made to feel welcome into the overall Jewish community. For the convert, the approach Broyde take is to accept them with a kindler gentler feel. For the community as a whole, Broyde stresses the need to be lenient where feasible, albeit being loyal to halacha at all times. All with the goal of making the convert feel welcome.

Broyde wrote this book to help ensure that the convert finds their proper place within the community. Nothing is more appealing to God than that the convert be welcomed into the community. To which this is a book that should be on the reading list of every member of the Jewish community. Those old, and new.

About the Author
I’m a senior information security and risk management professional, based in New York City. I speak at industry conferences, and write on information security, social media, privacy and technology. My book reviews are on information security, privacy, technology, and risk management. My reviews for the Times of Israel focus on Judaism, Talmud, religion and philosophy.
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