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Thoughts of Rabbi Jacobs

24th February 2012

Dear Friends,

I had two sources that inspired me to choose the topic of 'converting' others for this month's thought by Rabbi Jacobs. One was an interfaith panel held in Oxford last week, where the Chief Rabbi posed the following question to his discussion partners: 'How do you deal with those who don't follow your path? Does your religion have room for them?' The other event, which also took place in Oxford, was a conference organized by the Oxford Jewish Centre on defining Modern Orthodoxy. The excellent speakers included Rabbi Avi Weiss, Gilla Rosen, Clive Lawton, and our very own Ivor Jacobs. One of the points in which Modern Orthodoxy is said to differ from the Orthodox Right is its attitude of openness towards those on its left (for example, Conservative, Reform, or Liberal Judaism), and to secular Jews as well as to non-Jews. But how is this to be done? How are we supposed to embrace those outside the 'charmed circle' and invite them in while at the same time respecting them for who they are and where they are?

Taken from a talk that Rabbi Jacobs gave at an interfaith conference in 1972, the excerpt below addresses these questions and provides, I think, some very helpful answers.

Shabat shalom,
Agi Erdos
editor
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