Monday, September 06, 2010

A reason not to convert a couple to Judaism in Kentucky, 1860.

From Drei Jahre in Amerika pg. 383:

The following takes place in Louisville, Kentucky in June of 1860.

A German synagogue called Adath Israel invited the author to a meeting as the guest of honor. One subject raised at the meeting was that a Christian couple had applied to them for conversion to Judaism. A man stood up and addressed the members: "Conversion to our religion requires instruction in our precepts. Some of the most important of which are observance of the Sabbath and festivals. In the case of women, observance of the laws of mikveh are most important. How can we, who don't obey these commandments ourselves and don't even have a mikveh impose these on others? We would only publicize our own shame (schande) to have departed so far from these divine commandments." They were embarrassed, reached no decision and the matter was postponed.

1 comment:

  1. that's an interesting point about the mikvah.

    similarly, when there was some agitation for establishing a mikveh in philadelphia, iirc proponents noted the irony that a shul named mikveh israel had no mikvah. (although it shouldn't be assumed that no went to the mikveh, as they may have used natural bodies of water. i've seen a gerut certificate from isaac leeser that testifies that the convert dunked in the delaware.)



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