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Times Have Changed

Times Have Changed

Rabbi Avi Shafran’s letter in response to Gary Rosenblatt’s column, “Ruth’s Conversion Would Be Rejected Today” (June 17), suggests that by stating “thy God (will be) my God,” Ruth was “declaring acceptance of the commandments” of the Torah. The story of Ruth takes place many centuries before the compilation of the Mishnah, at a time prior to the development of the corpus of Jewish law that Rabbi Shafran would have us believe needs to be accepted “in principle” and “sincerity” by a convert to Judaism.

The overriding concern of biblical prophets was the syncretic worship of multiple gods. By accepting “thy God,” Ruth is complying with religious dogma but not the minutiae of halacha.

It would also be interesting to know how the Israeli rabbinate would react to a conversion candidate who stated she “uncovered the feet” of her prospective husband and told him to “spread your robe over your handmaiden.”

Teaneck, N.J.

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