Conversion / Conversion Classes
Attitudes toward conversion of non-Jews to Judaism have varied greatly over the millennia. My philosophy is simple: “Be Jewish by doing Jewish.” If you can live by this credo, you’re already a “Jew by Choice”! Then your religious status is simply a matter of study and conversion.
Jews by Choice will—together with their intended in the case of committed partnerships, study with me on a weekly basis for at least one year (in order to “live” and “do” an entire Jewish calendric cycle of holidays and celebrations). You’ll also learn to read liturgical Hebrew through standard Jewish prayer, focus on each of the holidays, study Jewish history, learn about modern Israel and go on at least one field trip. You’ll also have homework, including daily reading practice, a few reading assignments over the course of one year’s time, and also be expected to screen a few films and take at least one local walking tour on your own.
I would be pleased to discuss additional procedures for those who are considered Jewish on the basis of Patrilineal descent and live a committed Jewish life. In addition, all male converts will be required to undergo ritual circumcision, or symbolic circumcision if they are already circumcised.
Upon completion of your course of study, you’ll be eligible for conversion. I will convene a beit din (“Rabbinical Court”) comprised of two other rabbis and me. We’ll meet at the local mikveh (“ritual immersion bath”) during the day, where the actual process of conversion will take place. The members of the court will interview you, and upon their satisfaction of your commitment to Judaism and mastery of the “curriculum” (study of Jewish living and tradition), conversion documents will be prepared and endorsed by all those present. From that point forward, you will be Jewish! Mazal tov!
Honoraria for conversion classes will vary depending on the duration of our course of study. Typically, study for conversion will take place for approximately twelve to fourteen months, for at least one hour each session. Other fees related to the use of a mikveh and the convening of the beit din are also incurred at the time of conversion.