Opening the Gates: How Proactive Conversion Can Revitalize the Jewish Community

In Opening the Gates, Gary Tobin challenges his fellow American Jews to avoid the process of entropy that could take a devastating toll in the Jewish community. “This should be our primary task,” Tobin passionately argues. Tobin confronts his community with the eye-opening reality that “in order to rebuild and revitalize Judaism in this country we must rethink our religion as something both born Jews and converts must actively choose and stop blaming intermarriage for Judaism’s decline.” He implores the Jewish community to shift its focus from preventing intermarriage to embracing an open, positive, accessible, and joyful process of encouraging non-Jews to become Jews. As Tobin bluntly puts it, “We must abandon the paradigm that our children and grandchildren may become Gentiles and promote the thought that America is filled with millions of potential Jews.”Opening the Gates examines the role conversion should play in the Jewish future. It looks at the way the Jewish community currently handles issues of intermarriage and conversion and recommends strategies to incorporate conversion into a larger vision of building the next Jewish civilization.Tobin suggests what Judaism might look like if it were to promote itself as a positive choice for both Jews and non-Jews in the marketplace of religious affiliation-and tells us what the community needs to do to mold this future. Tobin’s controversial plan is sure to spark productive dialogue throughout the Jewish community.

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