Conversion

Conversion

Rabbi Lillian Kowalski teaches a 12-week Introduction to Judaism 101 course several times a year. People register for these classes for many reasons – some want to increase their knowledge of Judaism, others are interfaith couples who want to be married through Temple, and some take it out of general interest. And, of course, people take these classes in order to begin the process of conversion.

The language of instruction is English. Books are included in the cost of the course and are distributed at the first class. 

A section of 101, taught by Rabbi Dara Lithwick, is also conducted in French. For this section, students must purchase their own books.

If you are interested in converting to Judaism, following the Introduction to Judaism 101 course, you must complete a written assignment. The assignment is “open book,” and is sent to you at your request, upon completion of the 12-week 101 class.

Another course then follows: Introduction to Judaism 201, (12 weeks), in which basic Hebrew reading is taught for 10 weeks and then Rabbis Kowalski and Grushcow each teach 2 weeks of “how to” for Jews. These four sessions address some of the practicalities of converting to Judaism in the context of Reform Judaism.

The candidate for conversion will then meet with Rabbi Grushcow, Temple’s Senior Rabbi, to review the written assignment. Then, if the person is ready, she/he will go for ritual immersion at the Mikveh. A man must be circumcised before going to Mikveh; (we can facilitate your circumcision, if this is necessary). There is a fee for going to the Mikveh.

We encourage people on the conversion path to become a part of the Temple community, by attending services and other programs. Potential converts are also required to volunteer at Temple for at least four hours. Prior to going to the Mikveh, we require that the person become a member of Temple; (membership fees can be discussed with our front office).

For more information about our Introduction to Judaism classes or about Conversion to Judaism, please contact Aliza.

This Shabbat, I will have the privilege of witnessing 14 adults becoming b’nei mitzvah at our synagogue. For a variety of reasons, none of them observed this rite at the traditional age of 13. Many are women, to whom the doors were closed in more traditional settings. Others only became Jewish, or connected with their Judaism, as adults. The group includes a child survivor of the Holocaust and a parent of a newborn baby. Some have Jewish fathers, Jewish mothers, neither, or both. They are people of different ethnicities and different mother tongues. What they all have in common is that none of them take their Judaism for granted — even if they grew up immersed in Jewish life. One way or another, they are all coming from the outside in.

Each year, on Shavuot, we host a program called “Ruth’s Roundtable,” and we invite some of our Jews-by-Choice to speak about their journeys to Judaism.

Shavuot 2019:

Rachel (to read Rachel’s words, click here).

Shavuot 2018:

Helene  (to read Helene’s words, click here).

Dale (to read Dale’s words, click here).

Jews by Choice tell their stories

“It’s hard to pin-point the spark that initiated my fondness for Judaism, its people, its history and its culture. Born into a French-Canadian Irish descendant Catholic family, I certainly did not have anything resembling Jewish in my environment.”
“Bond is an important word when I think about what drew me to Judaism. The bonds. The deep love and dedication that bonds one’s personal family. The bonds between Jews all over the world. The bonds from one generation to the next by teaching, learning, and sharing the history and heritage of Judaism. As well as honoring those who walked before us.”
“I now feel that being Jewish is a lifelong evolution of learning, reflecting and trying to improve the world for future generations and preserve our traditions. My conversion was one important step in this process that helps me affirm my commitment to leading a Jewish life.”
“Conversion classes changed my attitude from being skeptical at first to becoming enthusiastic and finally wanting to convert more than I ever thought possible. Having a Jewish identity has enriched my life in every way.”
“When I got married and even when we began dating, I celebrated all the holidays, went to the Synagogue on family occasions and began to live a Jewish life fully without any effort, and I really enjoyed the culture. After about four years of marriage and being considered a full member of the family, two forces influenced my decision to convert.”
“Pour moi, être juive Reform est une manière spirituelle et éthique de vivre. Ça me relie à une communauté avec laquelle je peux grandir, apprendre et partager. C’est un engagement envers la vie et le monde dans lequel nous évoluons.”
“Au fond de moi, j’ai toujours su qu’un jour je me convertirais au judaïsme. J’ai toujours ressenti un profond et inexplicable sentiment d’appartenance. La longue histoire et la culture juives ont toujours été une véritable passion, voire une obsession.”