I read all the comments to the article. Intellectually I know that I converted because I wanted to be a Jew - to take on the responsibilities of and reap the rewards of being a member of the tribe. It wasn't because I wanted to do something specific in the synagogue. But, because belonging to a synagogue is pretty important to converts (especially those of us who have no Jewish family whatsoever - not even in-laws) the idea that anybody can walk through the door of a temple and be seen as equal to converts without doing the work involved to convert rubs me the wrong way. To me, it devalues the conversion process if nothing is required of someone. One of the things I liked least about growing up as a Protestant was anybody could walk through the door of the church and purport to share those same values - but in reality their belief system could be all over the map. What I like about Judaism, and in fact what drew me to it in large measure, was that there is a shared belief system and you have to learn about it, go through a process of claiming it as your own, and then as a Jew you are held accountable by other Jews if you do not live up to those standards.
Quite different than someone who is lukewarm to the idea of being a Jew because their family might get upset or friends might not understand.
You can't be a little bit pregnant and you can't be a little bit Jewish - at least that's what I think. You either are or you aren't.
Every convert has had their own obstacles in the process of their conversion. Family members get incensed, friends ask questions that make you uncomfortable, fellow Jews don't "get" why you want to be Jewish. It's a big deal to convert and a process one should have to go through to become Jewish. It toughens you up for living a Jewish life. By going through that process you claim your Jewish identity in a way that you couldn't have if there not been those challenges.
I was thinking about Daniel Pearl's declaration of "I am a Jew" before he died. It is a claim I too would be willing to make, if faced with it. Would someone who attended my synagogue who was unwilling to convert be able to say the same if they were being persecuted for being affiliated with a synagogue? How would their declaration go - "I thought about becoming Jewish but decided the feelings of my extended family who would be annoyed or disappointed if I converted came first, so I didn't, but I really like the Jews and feel 'Jewish,' but I'm really not a Jew - my spouse is and we've raised our kids that way. Yes, I admit, I am asking my kids to live and die as a Jew, but I'm not willing to do the same myself."
I know that sounds harsh - but through the lens of a convert active in my synagogue - that was my immediate reaction to the discussion. It sounded to me more like people who want it both ways: convincing the clergy that they should be allowed to do everything a Jew does in the synagogue or else they will raise their kids outside the temple or something. If the clergy really doesn't believe being a Jew is of value - then we're really in trouble. Warm bodies at all costs. I don't get it. You can be warm and welcoming and not give away the store.