They’ll Become Jewish for $50,000 March 3, 2009

They’ll Become Jewish for $50,000

I’m offended. No Christian has offered me $50,000 to join their church. Seriously, where are their priorities?

But as I mentioned last September, a Jewish man was offering that much to bring people to his synagogue:

DOTHAN, Ala. — Larry Blumberg is looking for a few good Jews to move to his corner of the Bible Belt. Blumberg is chairman of an organization offering Jewish families as much as $50,000 to relocate to Dothan, an overwhelmingly Christian town of 58,000 that calls itself the Peanut Capital of the World. Get involved at Temple Emanu-El and stay at least five years, the group’s leaders say, and the money doesn’t have to be repaid.

Looks like the first family to take Blumberg up on his offer has made the move! And 10 others families may soon follow:

Matthew and Michelle Reed, along with their 2-year-old son and newborn baby boy, are the first of what could be a stream of people to move to Dothan under a program that offers Jewish families as much as $50,000 to relocate and get involved with the city’s only synagogue, Temple Emanu-El.

“It’s been freaky how easy this has been,” said Matt Reed, 25, taking a break from moving boxes inside his new home on Whatley Drive. The curly-haired Ayden, 2, plays with a new trash can while his mom watches after Sam, just 6 weeks old.

Michelle Reed’s Jewish family has roots in Dothan, while her husband was raised Mormon and is in the process of converting to Judaism. Their mixed background wasn’t a drawback for program organizers — as many as half of Temple Emanu-El’s members have similar histories.

About 400 families have since applied for the relocation project, and 60 of those were qualified after initial screening. Finalists go through a vetting process that includes written references — including one from their rabbi — home visits, checks for criminal and financial problems, and interviews.

I think this is the impetus we’ve been looking for.

Let’s get twenty currently Jewish people to renounce their faith and come out as atheists to offset Blumberg’s $1,000,000 conversion plan!

It’s not a perfect balance, but it’ll work just as well.

(via The Invisible Pink Unicorn)

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  • David D.G.

    One of the things that demonstrates the weakness of religion is its need to bribe people into participation with everything from indulgences to social programs to (in this case) cold, hard cash.

    Atheism should not, and does not, need to engage in similar stunts, since it already offers what no religion does: A personal relationship with reality.

    ~David D.G.

  • Erp

    I think most of these were already Jewish or in the process of becoming Jewish for other reasons. The money was for moving to the community not conversion or more active participation. In fact I suspect they carefully weeded out people who weren’t already active Jews.

  • Yeah, it seems that these guys were already Jewish/in process of becoming Jewish, as Erp said.

    And the guy is testing for qualification, so I imagine you have to be a “good” Jew.

  • The Vicar

    Historically, the easiest way to stop a religion has been not armed force or force of law but economics. The best example is the initial rise of Islam: when the early Muslims (and this dates back to before the Sunni/Shiite split!) conquered an area, they would do no forced conversions of Christians and Jews — but Muslims paid a much lower tax rate. So the conquered people had to support Islam either by funding it or by converting, and most of them eventually converted. (And that, in fact, eventually led to riots and revolts, because the Caliphs found that their tax base had dried up, and had to raise taxes on Muslims, all of whom had become accustomed to special treatment.)

  • mikespeir

    Sounds like a deal to me. And I was circumcised at birth. Piece of cake!

  • But where’s the profit in gaining the whole world and losing the soul?

  • This has nothing to to with conversion or participation. It’s about getting more Jews to move to a predominantly Christian area. I don’t understand the point of this post.

  • Epistaxis

    I’d become a Jewish woman for $50,000, because then I could respond to that ad in the paper offering $80,000 for my eggs. FYI, I am currently a man.

  • joe

    mikespeir, FYI:Men who are already circumcised undergo a ceremony known as “Hatafas Dam Bris.” This means that a small drop of blood is taken during the Bris ceremony.

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