Leaving Bacon Behind Press Release

New book “Leaving Bacon Behind” by Melvin S. Marsh is released, a nuanced, easy-to-read guide to converting to Judaism for people of all backgrounds


“Leaving Bacon Behind: a How-To Guide To Jewish Conversion” by Melvin S. Marsh has been released worldwide. This 171-page guidebook, which as achieved Amazon Bestseller status as #1 in the “Jewish Life” category, shares personal insights and practical advice for converting to Judaism in the modern world.

A self-described “Jew by choice,” Marsh offers a step-by-step path for becoming a part of the Jewish community – from initial exploration to finding a Rabbi, gaining necessary education to ultimately converting and adopting the faith as a part of daily life. The included appendices provide an in-depth overview of observances, holidays, terminology, recommended reading, and beyond, making this guidebook a valuable resource for anyone interested in conversion, or simply looking to learn more about the Jewish faith.

The author masterfully condenses the complexities of religious conversion and the storied history of Judaism into a digestible, even entertaining format. The book serves as both an entry point to conversion and a useful reference throughout the process.

Because of his own experiences, Marsh also includes a section of special considerations that include converting on a budget, potential backlash from family and friends, being a member of the LGBT community, kosher eating, rural living, and more. He tells his own story of discovery and conversion, showing readers that not every path toward Judaism looks the same, and providing valuable, personal context to the practical advice that fills each page.

This excellent guide to conversion tackles every aspect of the process, and does so with friendly honesty that supports readers throughout their journey.

Leaving Bacon Behind (ISBN: 9781960142894) can be purchased through retailers worldwide, including Barnes and Noble and Amazon. The paperback retails for $18.95, and the ebook retails for $8.95. Review copies and interviews are available upon request.

From the back cover:

Leaving Bacon Behind provides a comprehensive, easy-to-read guide for conversion that focuses on questions prospective Jews by Choice might have, including “Why should one convert to Judaism?” and “What happens after the conversion?”

This book is a direct result of the questions the author fielded during his time as a moderator in one of the largest Jewish-by-Choice internet communities and his own personal experience as a disabled transsexual Jew by Choice. This includes content discussed in Judaism conversion classes and live courses, as well as questions, comments, and feedback from prospective and successful Jews by Choice. No other book on Jewish conversion has incorporated widescale, peer-reviewed feedback from the target community.

As the author does not fit the stereotype of an able-bodied, middle-class, white heterosexual female converting for marriage, this book includes a section of additional considerations for converting on a budget, if one is LGBT, disabled, or non-white, if one is already married to a non-Jew, or if one already has children.Leaving Bacon Behind is sure to be a must-read conversion classic.

About the author:

Melvin S. Marsh earned a BS from Emory University, a MS from University of North Dakota, a MS from Georgia Southern University; has published articles in Nature Human Behaviour and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences among others; has been recognized for excellence in teaching, clinical work, research, and both acting and directing; and he is the author of Leaving Bacon Behind. His website is www.melsmarsh.com

About Manhattan Book Group:

Manhattan Book Group (“MBG”), located on Broadway in New York City, is a registered trade name of Mindstir Media LLC. MBG is widely known as a premier hybrid book publisher. We have combined the best of traditional publishing with the best of self-publishing to provide authors with the “best of both worlds” in a sense. To learn more about MBG, visit https://www.manhattanbookgroup.com/

Media Contact
Company Name: Manhattan Book Group
Contact Person: Jen McNabney
Phone: 212-634-7677
Address:447 Broadway 2nd Floor #354
City: New York
State: New York
Country: United States
Website: https://www.manhattanbookgroup.com/

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You can’t please everyone I guess

Yesterday, I did my first public… well… anything in several years.  Between Covid and the back injury, I just don’t get around much anymore.

But a few weeks ago, I was invited to come up and do the Shabbat candle blessing at my synagogue because I published the book.  Given my injury, I had to make sure it was ok to even leave the town.  (I live in a relatively small city/large town with very little around so I have to tell my lawyer about almost every trip I make in the car and get approval.  It’s bonkers.)

I saw some old friends who I adore.  I found out one of my best shul friends, Gene, was promoted to the Board of Trustees.  I saw my favourite member of my beit din, Rabbi Brad.  (Mysterious Beit Din Member Number 3 for those of you who have read the book.)

Several people laughed at the title when it was announced.

Now one person was kind enough to say he was going to buy it for his… I think it was brother in law who was going to convert.  Which I really appreciated.  I didn’t get his name.  This was certainly the first time I knew it was going to go to a member of the target audience.  He will probably go Reform I am assuming so some of the book might not apply.

For every person who was interested in talking to me about the book, there was someone who criticized.

One of the people at the Oneg asked if I wrote a book about bacon (which she said with a sneer).  I told her it was about conversion, and then she said “We all EAT bacon or at least the majority of us.”  I had to remind her that she and whoever she thinks exists are hardly a majority and that I don’t.  Then snarkally said “Converts think they are better than us.”  I told her, “I get it… no one likes a convert.”  Her reply… “Welcome to the damn tribe.” I said I converted 11 years ago but thanks anyway and she stormed off.    People can be so mean.

She probably doesn’t even realize that Rabbi Brad doesn’t eat pork (he does eat shellfish but not pork).  And in Israel, even the secular Israelis don’t tend to eat it as you may not farm pigs on the land of Israel which makes pork challenging to come by.   So no, the majority of Jews do not eat pork.

Conversion, at least mine, took over 16 years to complete.  And my dear friend Gene was even longer, though I can’t remember how long, he finished two years after I did if I remember right.  Then it took the book 10 years to find a home.   I worked hard, and the least someone could do was say “Good Job.”

I’m sure she has not written a book, much less one which has been nominated for three awards so far in it’s one month of existence.  (Edit : And 2 hours after the post went live I found out I am on the best sellers list.  Jewish Life… kindle.)

I won’t let her bother me anymore I suppose.  However, I think this does prove my point for some of the mentions I make in the book about the discrimination from other Jews.  It is rough.


In tangentially related news, a handful of reviews have finally started to roll themselves in for the book.  So far all 5 stars, but the sample size is 2.  Either way, I really feel bad that I am celebrating the book while there is an Israel-Hamas war which started just after it finally was published.  I am, even here in Augusta, feeling the effects as my neighbour has already made multiple threats against me.


There is still no news as to the kid.

No news as to if my back will ever be repaired.  There is so much I could do if it was and my upcoming events is basically zero.  The author copies of the book weighed about 12 lbs for 20 books so if I bought 40 books it would be over my weight limit.  Very challenging.

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Sorry for the website / Author’s Update

I hired some one off Upwork to resign my website and he installed and then reset the website after I asked him to fix the security issues that his plugins created.  He also removed me from the administration of my own website and was incredibly patronizing.  I just hope I get a refund.  So we are back to the one I sketched out.  It might not be the fanciest, but I can do things a little at a time and I will be ok.

I did just receive the author’s copy of my new book “Leaving Bacon Behind” making this possibly a decent start to the new year (it arrived this afternoon / Tishrei 4).  This is 10 years in the making.  Still not up on amazon yet, but will be soon.  It will be available to order at all bookstores in the US.  Yes, even your favourite indie bookstore!

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A new beginning

It would seem that I now get to change this website a bit and hopefully attach my old domain to this because I finally was able to get my book published.

A book that started as a FAQ when I was moderating Facebook’s Jewish by Choice community before it was hacked by that Messianic Jew who kicked everyone out, and then expanded in National Novel Writing Month 2012 is finally about to come to light.

A book that has been workshopped half to death and has suffered through not one, but two publishing failures and one scammer.

Ten years later… “Leaving Bacon Behind” is finally leaving and going out into the world.

I just hope everyone enjoys it.



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