by Bentzion Zuckier (’17)

The tenth and eleventh grade Honors College students gathered in the Library this past Thursday for the last Honors College meeting of the year. The students were served pizza and then the presentation began. The speaker, Professor Chaviva Levin, a Professor of Jewish History in Yeshiva College, discussed Jewish converts and their relation to apostates in the Middle ages. Experientially, she argued, the conversion process of an apostate, or someone who has left the Jewish faith, is similar to that of any non-Jew joining the Jewish people. Both are readily welcomed into their perspective communities, but then often have a hard time acclimating themselves to their new religious lifestyle and culture.

The speech was fascinating and captivating; Professor Levin imparted her idea regarding how to better inculcate converts into Jewish societies. She said that in addition to a Rabbi and a beis din being a part of the conversion process, a Jewish family should voluntarily “adopt” a convert to provide the warm sense of a Jewish home. She also taught about the various mitzvos involved in the relationship with geirim from various halakhic sources. We extend our thanks to Professor Levin for taking time out of her busy schedule to address the students, and to Dr. Berliner for organizing the various Honors College presentations and programs throughout the school year.


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