Friday, February 11, 2011

Onkelos The Convert

The Aramaic Version:  The Jewish Treats blog has posted The Emperor's Nephew, an article from the National Jewish Outreach Program.  The article begins:
“A man should always complete the Torah portion together [at the same time] with the congregation, [reading] twice the Hebrew text and once the [Aramaic] Targum... [if he does so,] his days and years are prolonged” (Rabbi Huna ben Judah in the name of Rabbi Ammi, Berachot 8a).
Onkeles, it turns out, was the Emperor's nephew, who converted to Judaism when it may have not been popular to do so.  And it is this convert's Aramaic translation of the Torah that we use to this day.

Which brings Abq Jew to the conversion work of Rabbi Stephen C Lerner, the founder and director of The Center for Conversion to Judaism in Teaneck, New Jersey.  As Rabbi Lerner states:
Conversion to Judaism is a serious process. It requires the ability to sever without guilt any link to one's past religion. It requires the steadfast courage to accept Judaism despite the awareness of the role of anti-Semitism in Western history. While every individual's synthesis of Jewish values and practices will be unique, one who elects Judaism must affirm its basic beliefs, must live its traditional patterns, and must identify with the dreams and destiny of the Jewish people.
Rabbi Lerner has dedicated most of his career to helping those who wish to convert to Judaism.  This is important work, often difficult work, but there are rewards - the New Mexico Jewish community has been blessed with many converts.

No comments: