The Conversion Episode, 2018
Ep. 136: In honor of Shavuot, stories from people around the globe who have chosen to be Jewish
On Shavuot we read the Book of Ruth, which tells the story of Ruth, the first convert to Judaism, who ultimately becomes the great-grandmother of King David. In Ruth’s honor, this week we’re talking about conversion to Judaism, and hearing stories from people around the globe who have chosen to become Jewish—starting with our listeners.
Reporter Abby Holtzman travels to Savannah, Georgia, to bring us the story of a 13-year-old girl who has taken the plunge, literally, to convert to Judaism. Rabbi Seth Farber, the director of ITIM, an advocacy organization that helps people convert to Judaism outside the Orthodox Rabbinate, explains the complexities of conversion in Israel, and how he’s trying to change that. Nathan Steiger shares his story of losing his Mormon faith and, together with his wife and daughters, embracing Orthodox Judaism and converting as a family. Naomi Telushkin (sister of our producer Shira Telushkin) and her fiancee, Ben Pigett, an Australian submariner converting to Judaism, discuss what Judaism—and Ben’s conversion—means to both of them. Listener Yolanda Wu tells us about her decision to finish her conversion 20 years after she started it—and the very Jewish life she and her family had been living in that time.
We love hearing from our listeners! Email us at [email protected] or leave a message at our new listener line: 914-570-4869. We may share your note on the air.
Want more Unorthodox in your life? Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and join our Facebook group to chat with the hosts and see what happens behind-the-scenes! Show your love for Unorthodox with our new T-shirts, sweatshirts, and baby onesies. Get yours here.
This episode is sponsored by One Day University, which brings together the greatest professors from the world’s top schools to present special versions of their best lectures live. Register for upcoming events at onedayu.com using the code JEWISH for 30% off.
Unorthodox is a smart, fresh, fun weekly take on Jewish news and culture hosted by Mark Oppenheimer, Stephanie Butnick, and Liel Leibovitz. You can listen to individual episodes here or subscribe on iTunes.
- UnorthodoxEveryday HeroesEp. 391: Bernard-Henri Lévy’s new film about Ukraine, and Brooke Eby on raising awareness about ALSNovember 30, 2023
- UnorthodoxSitting TogetherEp. 390: A Beautifully Jewish Thanksgiving, featuring an iconic folding chair and a conversation with knitwear designer Inbal GrossNovember 22, 2023
- UnorthodoxDark Times, Bright LightsEp. 389: Reporting from the March for Israel in Washington, D.C.; Etgar Keret’s writer’s block; LeElle Slifer on advocating for her kidnapped Israeli cousins; and Tablet’s Hanukkah BazaarNovember 16, 2023
- UnorthodoxWords of WisdomEp. 388: Dan Senor on ‘The Genius of Israel’ and Gila Sacks on the legacy of her father, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, in this momentNovember 9, 2023
- UnorthodoxJewish PrioritiesEp. 387: A trip Across the JEW.S.A to Miami, plus timely conversations about Jewish identity, Israel, and more recorded live at the Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish HistoryNovember 2, 2023
- UnorthodoxClosely KnitEp. 386: Israeli actress Swell Ariel Or on living in the U.S. while Israel is at war, Tablet’s audience editor Ani Wilcenski on speaking up on social media, and artist Jeanette Kuvin Oren on teaching art to displaced children in IsraelOctober 26, 2023
- UnorthodoxMoving Forward, TogetherEp. 385: Rabbi Ari Lamm on what Jewish ethics says about freeing hostages and more; actress Lisa Edelstein on her new PBS series, ‘Little Bird’October 19, 2023
- UnorthodoxTime for ShabbatEp. 384: After a painful week, we’re embracing one of the most beautiful and steadfast Jewish traditionsOctober 13, 2023
- UnorthodoxVoices From IsraelEp. 383: Am Yisrael ChaiOctober 10, 2023
- UnorthodoxThe Good BookEp. 382: Co-host Liel Leibovitz on ‘How the Talmud Can Change Your Life,’ plus Israeli journalist Leore Dayan on his semi-autobiographical TV series ‘Normal’October 5, 2023
- UnorthodoxUnder the StarsEp. 381: Celebrating Sukkot in styleSeptember 28, 2023
- UnorthodoxTalking the TalkEp. 380: Linguist Deborah Tannen on ‘cooperative overlap,’ Peoplehood founder Julie Rice on creating community through conversation, and Mitchell Silk on communicating across languages and culturesSeptember 21, 2023
- UnorthodoxStealing the ShowEp. 379: ‘Golda’ director Guy Nattiv and ‘You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah’ writer Amanda SternSeptember 14, 2023
- UnorthodoxBeautifully JewishEp. 378: Starting the new year with a celebration of the objects that enrich our Jewish livesSeptember 7, 2023
- UnorthodoxWe Could NoshEp. 377: Jake Cohen’s new cookbook; the Jewish story behind PLNT Burger; New York’s rugelach king; and a trip Across the JEW.S.A. to the kosher Catskills August 31, 2023
- UnorthodoxSounds of the SeasonEp. 376: High Holiday music prep with Rabbi Josh Warshawsky, plus Ladino singer Sarah Aroeste, and the music archive of the National Library of IsraelAugust 24, 2023
- UnorthodoxEntering Elul Ep. 375: Diving into the month leading up to the High Holidays with Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin, Rabbi Diana Fersko, and moreAugust 17, 2023
- UnorthodoxRocky Mountain High NotesEp. 374: Song Exploder host Hrishikesh Hirway’s new single, plus a trip Across the JEW.S.A. to ColoradoAugust 3, 2023