Becoming Jewish: The Challenges, Rewards, and Paths to Conversion [NOOK Book]


Becoming Jewish is the first all-inclusive, step-by-step guide to converting to Judaism. Steven Carr Reuben, a highly respected rabbi, and Jennifer S. Hanin, a convert to the faith, lead readers through the conversion process, providing the right mix of advice, resources and humor for the journey.
Jews-to-be often find the steps to Judaism foreign, complex, and mysterious. From learning an ancient language, to entering the mikvah (ritual bath), to choosing a Hebrew name, to ...
See more details below
Becoming Jewish: The Challenges, Rewards, and Paths to Conversion

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$12.49 price
(Save 43%)$21.99 List Price


Becoming Jewish is the first all-inclusive, step-by-step guide to converting to Judaism. Steven Carr Reuben, a highly respected rabbi, and Jennifer S. Hanin, a convert to the faith, lead readers through the conversion process, providing the right mix of advice, resources and humor for the journey.
Jews-to-be often find the steps to Judaism foreign, complex, and mysterious. From learning an ancient language, to entering the mikvah (ritual bath), to choosing a Hebrew name, to circumcision, to appearing before a bet din (Jewish court), becoming a Jew is anything but quick and easy. In this engaging and accessible guide, Reuben and Hanin offer practical wisdom for every step of conversion, including:
  • telling family and friends
  • selecting a denomination
  • choosing a rabbi
  • understanding Jewish rituals
  • celebrating Jewish holidays
  • putting aside childhood holidays
  • keeping ties to the past
  • advice on weddings, raising kids, and more

Throughout, the authors focus on developing a healthy spiritual life, while helping readers understand what it means to be Jewish, absorb Jewish teachings, and live a Jewish life.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Conversion to Judaism usually occurs when a non-Jewish person falls in love with a Jew and the two determine that a common religious faith will make for a happier marriage. Co-author Hanin took a different route. She was already married to a Jew and was the mother of three-year old twins when she became friendly with a Jewish woman, attended her synagogue, and found there a sense of warmth that led to her conversion. Deciding to write about her experience, Hanin met Reuben, a Reconstructionist rabbi, who shared her views. The result of their collaboration is this wise and edifying guidebook to the process by which someone chooses to become a Jew. The authors spell out not only the steps to be taken, but also provide a wealth of information about Jewish traditions, practices, and customs. Their topics include: choosing a rabbi and a Jewish denomination; dealing with family and friends; observing the holidays; facing the religious court (Bet Din); raising children; anti-Semitism; and more. This second aspect of the presentation is so enlightening that all readers -- non-Jews and Jews, who can learn some unfamiliar aspects of their own religion – will find the book highly instructive. (Oct.)
Library Journal
There is a long-standing tradition that, given the oppression that Jews have often faced, rabbis should make every effort to discourage would-be converts. Reuben (senior rabbi, Kehillat Israel Reconstructionist Congregation) and freelance writer Hanin, a convert to Judaism, by contrast, explain to the curious what conversion is apt to be like and address questions and issues that are likely to arise (Hebrew, Shabbat, kosher, Kabbalah, Israel, differing denominations). They instruct the reader on Judaism's this-world focus and its status as a religion that emphasizes belonging over belief and the value of every person. VERDICT Short chapters and a simple style make this an excellent choice for interested readers and perhaps the first book any rabbi ought to hand a would-be convert. With a foreword by actor and comedian Bob Saget.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781442208490
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/16/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 466,590
  • File size: 727 KB

Meet the Author

Steven Carr Reuben is Senior Rabbi of Kehillat Israel Reconstructionist Congregation in California, the largest Reconstructionist congregation in the world. He is an avid speaker, author of numerous books, including There's an Easter Egg on Your Seder Plate: Surviving Your Child's Interfaith Marriage, articles, and blog videos on interfaith issues online and in publications ranging from USA Today to The New York Post. He lives in Pacific Palisades, California.

Jennifer S. Hanin is a freelance writer, author, blogger, and a convert to Judaism. She is the author of What to Do When You Can't Get Pregnant and lives in southern California.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Foreword by Bob Saget

Introduction: The Inspiration for Becoming Jewish

Chapter 1: Finding New Meaning
Making the TransitionWhat Defines a Jew?Why is Culture so Important?Why Convert?What Is Involved?Choosing a Hebrew NameGetting StartedRabbi ShoppingFinding Community Online
The Right Rabbi for YouJewish Denominations
Do You Need to Learn Hebrew?Will Your Children Need to Convert?Using this Book

Chapter 2: Belonging vs. Believing
Belief-Based Religion
Belonging-Based Religion
Will Jews Accept You as a Convert?
Will Family and Friends Accept You?
What Does “Religious” Mean?
Labels Belong on Products
More than a Religion
Your Jewish Inheritance Room
Developing Your Own Jewish Customs

Chapter 3: Telling Family & Friends
Topics Considered Taboo
Be Honest
Find a Neutral Setting
Gaining Support
Do it for You
More Than You Bargained For
Those Awkward Moments
Start Living It

Chapter 4: Hitting the Books
Choosing Your Path
Seeing with a Jewish Set of Eyes
Just Do It

Chapter 5: Learning an Ancient Language
Really? Is Hebrew Required?
Language of the Torah
Curl Up with the Dead Sea Scrolls
But It Looks So Different
Your Secret Decoder Ring
Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained
Worth the Effort

Chapter 6: Honoring Shabbat
Rock Star Status
Making Shabbat Yours
The Three Traditional Shabbat Rituals
A Blessing for Children
Do-It-Yourself Shabbat
Weekly Farewell Party

Chapter 7: Holidays & Holy Days
Early or Late?
More Holidays than You Can Shake a Lulav At
Make Your Sukkah Shine
The Miracle of Religious Freedom
The Three-Hour Meal

Chapter 8: Facing the Bet DinBehind the Bet Din Use “We” TermsDon’t Sweat It
Assessing Your Intent
Cramming Sold Separately

Chapter 9: Mikvah and More
The Mikvah
Modesty Takes a Backseat
Conversion Ceremony
Hatafat Dam BritBrit Milah
Brit Milah for NewbornsCalming Conversion Jitters
Chapter 10: Tradition
Why Tradition Matters
More Than a Nursery
Tying the Knot
Sacred Rituals & Customs
Knowing What’s Important
Cornerstones of Judaism
Making it Work

Chapter 11: Living Single
The Many Meanings of “Family” Finding Your Own “Jewish Mother”Don’t Amputate Your Past

Chapter 12: All This for a Wedding?
Turning Two Into One
More Than Art
Four Poles and Some FrabicWalking in CirclesGetting to “I Do”Sheva Berachot (Seven Blessings) The Plain Gold BandThe Groom Wore Steel-Toed ShoesGetting a Get Chapter 13: Raising Jewish KidsHang On! Help is On Its Way
Q & A
Live It Yourself
Chapter 14: Adult B’nai Mitzvah and Beyond Rite of Passage
Facing Your Fears
What Can You Expect?
Adult B’nai Mitzvah Syllabus—Conservative
What Else Can You Learn?
Virtual Learning

Chapter 15: Is Madonna Jewish?
Understanding the Roots
What is Kabbalah?The Five Layers
Kabbalah is Jewish
Kabbalah is NOT JudaismTrying Pop KabbalahIs Kabbalah for You?
Chapter 16: Do They Hate You Too?
Centuries of Jew Hating
Eyes Wide Open
Should You Be Concerned?
Is There a Bull’s-Eye on Your Back?
Fertile Grounds for Antisemites
How to Avoid Haters
What Can You Do About It?
Reporting Hate Crimes & Beyond
You’re Not Alone
Wave of Holocaust Denial
Finding the Jewish Activist in You
Show Your Chutzpah

Chapter 17: Everyone Matters
The Gloved One
Why So Many Lawyers?
Making it Your Own

Chapter 18: Children of Israel
It Just Feels Different
Bill Said it Best
Peace of Pipedream?
Act for Israel
All Corners of the Globe
Am Yisrael Chai!

Appendix I: Thirty-Nine Types of Work Forbidden On ShabbatAppendix II: Conversion Course-Orthodox

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2013

    Very thorough.

    This book was very informative while also being well written. I would highly recommend it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2013


    Listen my mom is mad too but she says we can still be frineds i dont know what ur moms like but mabe u colud ask her if we can still be frineds hope this gets thro but if she is looking at everything she will read this if you let us be frineds you can start to bulid the trust between you and scarlett again im sorry that i have offended you and i beg your forgivnes please still let us be friends. :(

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)