By Bradley Caro Cook, Ed.D., Lauren Post, and Austin Reid
Modern and Ancient Judaism have been enriched by those who choose to be Jewish. For millennia, Jews by choice have played a critical role in our collective Jewish narrative. Each convert arrives with a different background and a unique story of what lead them, on their journey to Judaism. Their unique contributions follow a tradition of faith and dedication.
Throughout history, the stories of those who converted to Judaism have served as a source of inspiration to millions including Jews, those on their journey towards Judaism, and those considering Judaism as a spiritual way of life.
Over the past 3,500 years Jews by choice have played a critical role in the face of Jewish peoplehood.
- Moses’s father in-law Yitro who taught the skill of delegation
- Ruth – A Moabite princess, widowed of her Jewish husband, who faithfully followed her former mother-in-law to Bethlehem in Judea, famously declaring: “Wherever you go, I will go; and where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your G d my G d.”
- Batya – Pharaoh’s daughter who saved and raised Moses
- Queen Helena of Adiabene who generously sent figs and grains to Jerusalem during the 45-56 CE famine.
In 2020, other than on Wikipedia, there exists no current cross-denominational compilation of those who chose the path to be Jewish. Jewish school libraries lack such a book on their shelves, and even conversion curriculums have no resource compilation that shares the inspiring paths of these select and dedicated individuals.
To remedy this lack in Jewish literature, and to serve as an inspiration, we are compiling essays and stories, to be published that tells our stories. The final product will be an Amazon published book.
The stories themselves will be self-written and submitted.
These stories should be between 900 and 1,500 words.
For those interested, we request that you fill out the following form.
If you know someone who might be interested, please share this with them.
If you lead an organization, synagogue, foundation, federation, or are an individual with whom this project resonates, please be in touch as well.
Together we can create a valuable compilation to inspire this and future generations.
Bradley Caro Cook, Ed.D. specializes in new approaches to Jewish life and engagement. He is the executive director of Career Up Now and Growth Exponential. Dr. Cook is a member of the ROI Community, a Nahum Goldmann Fellow, and speaks globally on growth hacking, digital marketing, and Jewish engagement. He can be reached at [email protected]
Lauren Post grew up in the sprawling Finger Lakes, graduated with a double major-double minor from St. John Fisher College, and eventually earned her master’s degree in Slavic studies at The Ohio State University. A summer in Eastern Europe sparked her interest in Jewish life and Israel, and she’s been in the Jewish and Israel nonprofit world ever since! You can find her online moderating her feminist empowerment group #ladyboss, playing with her dog Pici, or on the hunt for the perfect taco.
Austin Reid is a passionate history nerd who enjoys researching and writing about smaller Jewish communities. Some communities he has explored include Jewish converts in 19th century Russia, Chinese Jews living along the Silk Road, and Jewish communities in southeastern Ohio. He grew up in Lancaster, OH and graduated with a double major in history and political science from Capital University in Columbus, OH in 2018. He currently lives in Ithaca, NY where he is a Springboard Innovation Fellow with Hillel.