Journeys into Judaism

One story from Talmud (Shabbat 31a) tells about a gentile who wanted to convert to Judaism. He stated he would accept Judaism only if a rabbi would teach him the entire Torah while he, the prospective convert (ger), stood on one foot. Hillel, a renowned sage accepted the challenge, and said: “What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation of this—go and study it!”

Unlike most every other religion, which only requires a declaration of faith, conversion to Judaism first requires study. Yet, the conversion process does not end with a test of knowledge but rather a confirmation that there has been a change of identity and a renewal of faith. The support of a mentor as well as family and friends is critical to the process. A celebration of the completion of the process is an uplifting tribute to the convert’s dedication and transformation.

Cultural Identity

Judaism is a religion of both membership and identity. For those who are born to a Jewish mother, “membership” is guaranteed. Some Rabbis now recognize the “membership” of those born to a Jewish father as well. For those who wish to join with the Jewish people in all ways, a conversion process is offered. The specific requirements for conversion are to be addressed between the convert and the supervising rabbi so we will not offer any specifics as to the conversion process. The following is offered so that the family and friends of the convert can enhance the experience with offerings of support and inspiration.