Sometimes I think we study religions just for the weirdness of the passing parade. Consider this article on South Koreans’ fascination with Judaism: Stories from the Talmud as a required school text? Jewish books in vending machines?
A few South Koreans have converted, but they have to go elsewhere to do so, since there is not much formal Jewish life in the country.
Jewish observance in Seoul is almost entirely centred on Friday night services in the back of a Christian chapel on a US Army base. Every week, the tiny congregation of ex-pats and locals flip pews containing hymns books and New Testaments to face a pokey little ark for prayers. At the end of the night, everything gets put back in place for Friday night Mass. If there was not a small Ner Tamid hanging above the ark, you really would mistake it for a cupboard.
Most of the regular and long-serving members of the congregation are non-Jewish Koreans – civil servants, doctors and a politician from the ruling party, who is currently squeezing in his attendance between bouts of campaigning for local elections. They have no wish to convert but they take their interest in Judaism seriously. Most boast impressive collections of Judaica and read Hebrew fluently.
Yet I wonder, will some convert en masse as did the aristocracy of the Khazars?