Converting to Judaism
Preparation for conversion is a two-step process. First, complete an Introduction to Judaism course. Second, secure a sponsoring rabbi. You will select your own sponsoring rabbi, who will serve as your coach and mentor in this process. Typically, your sponsoring rabbi will be connected to a synagogue or community in which you participate.
Your classroom experience is supplemented and supported by meetings with your sponsoring rabbi , who will help you to integrate what your learning in the Intro Program with your life and the life of your family.
Once you have completed all the class requirements, and you have the approval of your sponsoring rabbi, you can schedule the conversion ceremony.
The conversion ceremony is also a two-step process, which generally take place back-to-back. First, the Beit Din, a panel of three rabbis, will conduct an interview. They will ask about your story and what has brought you to this moment, about what elements of Judaism are most important to you, and about how you practice Judaism in your daily life. They will also likely ask you some basic Jewish knowledge questions, to ensure that you have really internalized the things you learned in class. The conversation is not a test -- it is simply designed to confirm your commitment to living a Jewish life.
The final step is immersion in the mikvah. A mikvah is a ritual pool, used to mark all sorts of life transition moments -- ranging from marriage to childbirth to other times of celebration and change. For this ritual moment you will enter the mikvah and take three complete immersions under the water. After each immersion, you will recite a brief Hebrew blessing. Mikvah immersion is done while completely undressed, but it is a very private and modest ceremony.
After completing both the Beit Din and the mikvah you will receive your legal paperwork signed by your Beit Din, which affirms that you are now a full member of the Jewish People.*
*If you are male, there may be an additional step required prior to your Beit Din and mikvah. Please consult with your sponsoring rabbi about whether they require circumcision, or hatafat dam brit, a symbolic drawing of a single drop of blood, in order to complete your conversion. The different denominations of Judaism have different requirements in this area, so it is important to speak with your chosen sponsoring rabbi to find out what is expected of you.
The whole Jewish People is enriched by every soul who chooses to tie their personal destiny with ours. We welcome you.