Converting to Judaism

Choosing to Be Chosen

By Rabbi Bernice K. Weiss with Sheryl Silverman

In the Foreword, The Honorable Stuart E. Eizenstat, Former Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, said of this book, “Rabbi Weiss’s work is of critical importance to the continuity of Judaism. . . . Her infectious warmth toward people and reverence for Judaism are crucial to her success.”

Over the years, Rabbi Bernice Kimel Weiss has shepherded hundreds of non-Jewish students into the family of the Jewish people.  For most, the interest in Judaism is sparked by a decision to marry a Jewish man or woman.  But that is only the beginning.  In the gentle hands of a teacher who has witnessed and understood their turmoil, their conflicts, their tears, they bare their personal struggles.

What emerge from the pages of this book are amazing, powerful, soul-stirring stories of re-creation—the extraordinary adventure of becoming a Jew at the turn of the 21st century.  The twists and turns and the direction their lives ultimately take are a source of inspiration to those contemplating Judaism, and to all in search of faith.  They are a gift to the Jewish people.

Rabbi Bernice Kimel Weiss earned a BS from the University of Pittsburgh and an MA from George Washington University.  Upon graduating from the Academy for Jewish Religion in 1989, she entered the rabbinate.  Rabbi Weiss received the prestigious Melton Senior Educators fellowship for Jewish Education in the Diaspora and spent 1995–1996 at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.  She is a member of the United Jewish Communities Rabbinic Cabinet and the Washington Board of Rabbis.

Sheryl Silverman is a Washington writer whose articles and essays have appeared in the Washington Jewish Week, the Washington Post, and the Washingtonian magazine. She is also a Judaic Studies teacher at the Washington Hebrew Congregation in Washington, D.C.

“There is nothing like this book, which speaks so directly and helpfully to Christians and Jews in an interfaith relationship.  Many of the first-person stories read like a suspense thriller.”

— Rabbi Joshua O. Haberman, Rabbi Emeritus, Washington Hebrew Congregation, Washington, DC (Reform)

“It is essential reading for all those who are exploring the process of conversion, essential too for those who are intermarried and wrestling with how to raise their children, and inspiring reading for those who were born Jews and chose to make more of their Judaism.”
— Dr. Michael Berenbaum, University of Judaism, Los Angeles, CA

“Rabbi Weiss’s infectious love of Judaism has no doubt been a great influence on the lives of the many who have sought her out.  She provides her students with a positive view of religious observance, and exposes them to the richness of Orthodox tradition.”
— Rabbi Isaac H. Mann, faculty, Academy for Jewish Religion, New York (Orthodox)

“Rabbi Weiss’s study of people who have chosen Judaism as their life’s faith opens up new understanding of the relationship between student and teacher.  The students tell their own stories, and we are envious of the time they had in her presence.”

— Rabbi Matthew H. Simon, Rabbi Emeritus, B’nai Israel Congregation, Rockville, MD (Conservative)

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