UM Frankel Center Event: West Bloomfield Lecture Series, Ryan Szpiech
February 6 @ 7:00 PM - 8:30 PMCost: Free
Ryan Szpiech, University of Michigan
In the Middle Ages, Jews often faced pressure to convert to Christianity or Islam. While some did so out of conviction and others out of practical convenience, many in the Christian world converted as a response to pressure or force. A small number also sought conversion to Judaism. How did fellow Jews view converts and apostates in their midst? Did they distinguish between Jews who chose to leave the fold and those who were anusim, or “forced ones”? A traditional rabbinical theme that “Even though he sinned, he is still Israel” (BT Sanhedrin 44a) often guided discussion of how to deal with conversion, and not all were in agreement about the rights of a Jew to return to the fold. By the same token, not all could agree on the status of one who left his own religion to claim a Jewish faith and identity.