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Choosing Judaism

Making the Journey to Judaism

The Jewish tradition teaches, “more beloved by God than all the children of Israel who stood at Mt. Sinai are those who choose Judaism, who come to the Torah of their own accord.” (Midrash Tanchuma)


What does it means to be Jewish? The Jewish tradition teaches us that to be a Jew is to connect your fate with that of Jews everywhere. Conversion to Judaism is a decision that should be undertaken with intent, meditation and commitment. It is a powerful, challenging, and transformative act. Our conversion program helps participants explore all that Judaism entails. Our process usually takes about a year and consists of the components described below.

1) Introduction to Judaism

This survey course address four questions: how do Jews worship; what holidays do Jews observe; how do Jews approach life cycle events; what do Jews believe. This course at Sherith Israel, or its equivalent elsewhere, is an essential first step in the journey.

2) Hebrew language study

Participants will learn to read and pronounce the letters of the Hebrew alef-bet, a first step in becoming familiar with the prayerbook, basic blessings, and core parts of the liturgy. This class follows the Introduction to Judaism class.

3) Mentoring

Each prospective Jew-by-choice works with a mentor, a member of the synagogue, who suggests an individualized program of study and practice based on the mentee’s knowledge, experience, and interests. Mentors are chosen for their knowledge, enthusiasm, and compatibility.

4) Jewish Community

Judaism is a tradition that cannot be practiced alone. We expect individuals studying for conversion to participate in the community  by joining us for Shabbat and holidays and by exploring opportunities to connect with the community, such as volunteering with Hamotzi, attending Torah study, or taking advantage of other programs and classes at Sherith Israel or in the wider Jewish community.

5) Conversion

Conversion culminates with an appearance before a three-person beit din (religious court consisting of one clergy, the mentor, and an additional person, either clergy or congregant), immersion in the mikvah (ritual bath), and becoming a member of Sherith Israel . The congregation will publicly welcome the individual into the community at a Shabbat service. We expect that individuals who have completed the conversion program at Sherith Israel will become members of the congregation on the day of their conversion.

Wed, August 10 2022 13 Av 5782