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Why Zooey Deschanel converted to Judaism
Before actress Zooey Deschanel wed Jacob Pechenik in June, she "made a grand gesture" by converting to Judaism, according to Us Weekly. - photo by Payton Davis
Actress Zooey Deschanel never identified with any particular faith but a "grand gesture" to her husband-to-be changed that, according to Us Weekly.

Before marrying film producer Jacob Pechenik in June, Deschanel converted to Judaism for him, an insider told Brad Witter of Us. Us noted Deschanel's decision marked a turn from earlier comments she made about her faith.

"My family is liberal," Us quoted Deschanel as saying. "I was raised in the 'you can be whatever you want' kind of way. And in the end, I was like, 'Eh.'"

But Jennifer Pearson wrote for the Daily Mail the "New Girl" star's choice dealt with her wanting "to be as one with husband." According to the Daily Mail, a source said her decision has reaped benefits as Deschanel and Pechenik are "loving" their marriage.

Radhika Sanghani wrote for the Telegraph about the decisions by other women who like Deschanel change religions for love.

While Deschanel isn't alone, according to the Telegraph, outcomes in such situations are mixed.

"For some, it ends well," the Telegraph's report read. "They connect to their new religion, and their faith does not waver even if their relationship does. But for others, their conversion is nothing more than a piece of paper, and can even become something they regret."

According to Religion News Service, couples like Deschanel, before her conversion, and Pechenik might face some hurdles in the marriage process: The Jewish Conservative movement prohibits unions between a Jew and non-Jew.

However, Judaism's Reform movement allows rabbis to "preside at interfaith ceremonies," RNS noted. Reform rabbis often require interfaith couples to raise children as Jews, though.

RNS reported that Rabbi Wesley Gardenswartz said the debate is one that reverberates in Jewish communities.

This is about our children and our grandchildren, and making sure that in this glorious open society, that when our children fall in love with whomever they fall in love they know they can always come back to their spiritual home," RNS quoted Gardenswartz as saying.
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