Have more questions or want more details? Call us at (310) 440-1273 or send us an email at introaju.edu. We’ll be glad to answer any questions and share more information to help you decide if the Miller Introduction to Judaism Program is right for you.
Who attends the Miller Intro to Judaism Program?
Those who are not Jewish, but have always been a little bit curious. Those who are not planning to convert, but are sharing their lives with Jews. Those who are considering conversion to Judaism. Those who have been Jewish in their hearts for years and want to make it official. Hebrew school drop-outs. Rabbinical school wannabes. You.
Is this class for Jews too?
Absolutely! Whether you were born Jewish but never quite learned what it’s all about, you’re back after a long hiatus, or you’re just looking for a deeper understanding of your heritage, most of us could use a bit of a refresher. Jews from all walks of life enroll in the program: from people who had a Jewish day school education to those whose strongest connection was the annual box of matza on the kitchen counter.
What if I’m not planning to convert?
We are an Intro to Judaism class, not just a conversion program. Some of our students are thinking about becoming Jewish. Some are just interested in learning more. Some are already Jewish. We are eager to meet you wherever you are on your personal journey. We will never pressure you to convert.
Is the program friendly to LGBTQ individuals and couples?
Of course! The Intro Program welcomes all those who want to learn and experience Judaism with us.
How does it work if I want to convert to Judaism?
Completion of the Intro Program fulfills the basic learning requirements for conversion to Judaism. However, it is just the first step in the journey. Every candidate for conversion needs a sponsoring rabbi, who will work individually with you to determine what additional steps you will take to officially become a part of the Jewish People. Every person is different, and every conversion journey is unique.
Please note that your sponsoring rabbi must be from the community in which you live. We believe that becoming Jewish is inseparable from becoming part of a Jewish community, so we are unable to provide an entirely "distance conversion." We are happy to help you connect with a great sponsoring rabbi in your area. We love being "match-makers."
In that case, I’m looking for a rabbi to sponsor me for conversion. Can you help?
For those planning to convert, think of the Intro Program as a personal concierge service for your whole journey into Judaism. We will help you find a local synagogue and sponsoring rabbi, and for those in Southern California, assist you in arranging your mikvah (ritual pool) and Beit Din (rabbinic court) appointment. Finding your way into the Jewish community can feel overwhelming, but we're always here to help.
Are there any other perks associated with the Intro Program?
Yes! Our students are offered complimentary High Holiday tickets at many Los Angeles synagogues, across all denominations. Additionally, graduates of the Intro Program are entitled to significant discounts on many other continuing education programs at the American Jewish University, including continuing Hebrew education and the popular Making Marriage Work class and weekend retreat. How cool is that?
What topics do you cover?
Classes cover Judaism’s biggest and most inspiring ideas as well as the nuts-and-bolts of daily Jewish living. Over eighteen weeks we’ll cover history, holidays, practices, text, and values and we’ll tour a mikvah (ritual bath), hear from a Holocaust survivor, hold a model Passover seder, and more. In addition, we’ll start with Aleph-Bet (Hebrew alphabet) and either teach you to read Hebrew or help you brush up on your Hebrew skills. For a detailed list of topics covered, see our Course Outline.
I’m in a relationship with/engaged to/married to/it’s complicated with someone who is Jewish already. Should they come to class with me?
YES! We strongly encourage couples to attend the class together and share in this powerful, transformative experience. Most couples report that attending class together sparked inspiring and important conversations and brought them closer together.
Are you Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, what…?
Our Rabbi is Conservative (Masorti), but the Intro Program is pluralistic and open to the whole community. Many of our students and alums consider themselves Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist, Orthodox, or “Just Jewish.” Our curriculum is taught by affiliate partners and institutions from across the Jewish spectrum. As we see it, our job is to help people become the Jews that they were meant to be in the world, rather than forcing them into any particular box or branch.
We are proud that the Rabbinical Assembly (Conservative/Masorti) has officially adopted the Miller Introduction to Judaism Program as a highly recommended program for its communities. Read their announcement here.
I’m in a rush… Can I complete the class in less than eighteen weeks?
Yes. You can complete the Intro Program at your own pace by taking more than one class per week. You can also slow it down and take your time -- your registration is good for a whole year.
Just remember, if you are converting, there will likely be additional requirements from your sponsoring rabbi. Talk to them about what timeline they require for completion of the conversion process.
What happens if I miss a class?
Almost everyone needs to miss a class from time to time. The Intro Program offers many simultaneous sessions all over Los Angeles. If you need to miss a class, it's no problem to make it up at one of our other locations/in one of our other sessions. Just attend class at another time, get your instructor to sign a make-up slip, and you're good to go.
Will my conversion be recognized in Israel?
Good question – it’s a bit complicated! The Israeli government does recognize conversions officiated by most denominations of Judaism (Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist, etc) for the purposes of obtaining Israeli citizenship (“making aliyah”). However, there are several important standards that must be met, including:
Conversions must be officiated by a rabbi associated with a recognized denomination of Judaism. (2) In addition to the Intro to Judaism class, you must actively participate and continue your learning in an affiliated synagogue for at least nine months prior to the conversion. (3) After the ceremony, you must stay active in a synagogue for at least nine months before applying for aliyah.
For detailed information, please read the criteria in “Conditions for Granting Oleh (Immigrant) Status to Converts from Abroad” as set by Israel’s Interior Ministry.
Also, you should know that non-Orthodox conversions will not be accepted by the Chief Rabbinate, which can impact your ability to have certain lifecycle ceremonies, particularly weddings, in the country.
If you think that living or studying in Israel is in your future, or the future of your family, we strongly encourage to have a conversation with your sponsoring rabbi to ensure that all requirements are fulfilled. We are committed to helping you as best we can. However, Israel’s citizenship standards are subject to change and we cannot guarantee the outcome of an aliyah application.
Do your rabbis officiate at weddings?
Yes, our rabbis do officiate weddings (and other lifecycle events). We would be glad to speak with you about celebrating life's most meaningful moments. Please contact us, introaju.edu, to schedule a time to speak.
After the course is over, will I ever see you again?
We hope so! Our INTRO 2.0 alumni community offers Shabbat and holiday celebrations, learning opportunities, and much more. Some of our recent events included learning Tunisian Jewish cooking secrets in a kosher restaurant kitchen, throwing a Purim costume party for the kids at Skid Row’s Union Rescue Mission, and some extremely competitive Hanukkah Pub Trivia.
How do I register?
It's easy to register online! Just visit our website, then click on Register for Courses. You can also call us, at (310) 440-1273. Current and upcoming class schedules and locations are posted on the website.
How much does it cost?
Our highly subsidized tuition is $350 for an individual, $550 for a couple. If you don’t have enough for tuition right now, don’t panic. Through the generosity of alumni and friends of the program, we make sure that no one is turned away. Call us to discuss payment plans, scholarships and other options.
When is payment due?
You can pay online at the outset of the class, or you can make payments. Class tuition, minus a small registration fee, is refundable up to the fourth week of the class. You read that right: You can try us out for the first month, basically risk free.
Do you offer financial aid for tuition?
Yes, we are able to offer generous scholarships and payment plans to ensure that this experience is open to all. Please call us at (310) 440-1273 for a confidential conversation.