WHEN we read the Book of Ruth next week on the holiday of Shavuot, we are reminded that all Jews are in essence converts. Some of us go back further than others, literally to Mount Sinai, when a mass conversion of the Jewish people took place. Others of us trace our Jewish heritage and identity to more recent times.
As a people, we cherish Ruth so much. Our love for her unexpected act of kindness, a game changer in the Book of Ruth, is real.
Yet in our daily Jewish life sometimes there is cognitive dissonance between our love and reverence for Ruth — the “Ima shel Malchut, the Mother of the Davidic Monarchy” — and our attitude to real life converts.
We are supposed to treat the convert to our community with extra kindness, but instead we often feel suspicious, forever regarding them as The Outsider.