Question:

I often hear rabbis complain that the Jewish people are shrinking due to intermarriage and assimilation. But it is you rabbis who are the major obstacle to Judaism growing! If you would make conversion a bit easier, many more non-Jews would join us. Why do you stubbornly insist on a long and difficult conversion process, when you are closing the door to many potential converts?

Answer:

I would like to nominate you to be the next prime-minister. You have come up with a brilliant formula that could greatly benefit the world.

You argue that the Jewish people would grow if only it were easier to become Jewish. If we apply your logic to some other scenarios, most of society's problems could easily be solved. We could reduce the number of people living below the poverty line by simply making the poverty line lower. And we could have many more millionaires around if you didn't need so much money to be one! The crime rates would drop dramatically if we just legalize criminal activity. And if we dropped the average life-expectancy people would live so much longer!

Either Judaism is truth, or it is not. If it is truth, then truth can't be saved by diluting it. And if it isn't, why bother saving it at all?

The road to conversion is a challenging one. I have seen the hard work sincere converts put in to become Jewish. They inspire me and I am proud to know them. And I have seen the sad consequences of "quickie" conversions too. To paraphrase Groucho Marx, how could someone respect a religion that bent the rules to let them in?

Perhaps the conversion system isn't perfect. That is something that the rabbis should indeed be working to improve. But we can only fight assimilation by presenting pure, unadulterated Judaism in an accessible and relevant way. That is a Judaism that can be respected - by Jew and non-Jew alike.