In 1938, Jerome Folkman, a Reform rabbi from Grand Rapids, Michigan, attended a dinner party hosted by one of his congregants. The guests had finished eating and were settling into typical after-dinner chatter, when the audacious “Mr. R.” broke the rhythm and declared, “We should send missionaries to the gentiles and try to win converts to Judaism.” Side conversations halted and the guests, all Jewish, curiously peered at Mr. R. as he continued: “Why aren't we more aggressive? Why don't we ask others to join our ranks?” The guests tittered. Some giggled nervously, others muttered that Jews just don't do that. A pragmatist interrupted—the suggestion, in his mind, was only as good as its actual consequences. “Do you think we would get any converts?” he asked. Rabbi Folkman, who later divulged he, too, had toyed with the idea of Jews becoming missionaries in America, tried to clarify the kernel of wisdom behind Mr. R.'s shocking statement.