Conversion: Defining the Boundaries of Judaism. If we follow an ethnic frame of Judaism, the convert to Judaism can never be the equal of the born Jew. If the essence of being a Jew is being born into a clan, then a convert can at most be an in-law, a branch grafted on to the original tree. By contrast, a religious frame not only makes room for the convert but potentially sets her up as the ideal. Unencumbered by Jewish ethnic ties, the convert nonetheless sees the compelling truth of the religion and embraces it as a way of life.