Jewish Identity

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.