Six low-key ways to attract converts

The Jewish people is returning to its ancient tradition of embracing converts to Judaism. As they do, a nearly universal consensus exists in the Jewish community that using bribery, coercion, threats, or fear to convince someone to convert is completely unacceptable. Jews don’t stop people in public places or go door-to-door soliciting converts. They don’t argue that Judaism holds the only ticket to salvation.

Instead of using these repulsive techniques, the Jewish people has moral and unobtrusive methods available to let people know that Judaism is available as a spiritual choice and that converts are warmly welcomed in Jewish life.

Here are six of those methods.

  1. Place advertisements in congregational bulletins and Jewish and secular newspapers, on radio programs, and online announcing Introduction to Judaism classes. The ads can be supplemented with news releases about the classes providing information about the classes and including, for example, positive quotes from previous students.
  2. Be willing to discuss Judaism and answer questions about Jewish holidays, traditions, practices, beliefs, the process of conversion, and so on when speaking with non-Jewish family members, friends, neighbors, co-workers and others. Synagogues can invite people to visit and learn about Jewish life.
  3. Be active in social media to respond to questions, correct errors, narrate stories of successful converts to Judaism, and write opinion pieces on such places as blogs, YouTube, and popular online sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Additionally, an online reading room can be created with an array of information about how Judaism educates converts and offers them active roles in congregational life.
  4. Make information about conversion to Judaism more widely available. This can be done by such methods as creating books, articles, videos, podcasts, and other materials on the subject, requesting local libraries to purchase those materials about conversion, supplying schedules materials on Introduction to Judaism classes and other useful materials in any public place that offers such information. Additionally, people with experience about conversion including rabbis, conversion teachers, and converts themselves can offer public lectures in such places as libraries. Congregations can offer programs on the subject.
  5. Establish an 800 number to respond to questions about conversion to Judaism and provide information about classes in the caller’s area.
  6. Ask successful converts to serve as Ambassadors of Judaism, speaking and letting the public know about their positive experiences.

Using these and other low-key methods can guide people to explore their identity and determine if Jewish life is the right choice for them.

About the Author
I am the author of a variety of books about Jewish life including "The Haunted Smile: The Story of Jewish Comedians in America." My most recent book is "Converts to Judaism: Stories from Biblical Times to Today" published by Rowman & Littlefield.