At Adath Israel, candidates for conversion to Judaism are welcomed with openness, sensitivity, and compassion. Though different factors may motivate individuals to pursue Jewish life through conversion, the process of formally joining the Jewish people always shares a few key components.
Before beginning the process we ask potential candidates to reflect carefully on the type of spiritual home they seek and to affirm that choice by visiting Adath Israel several times for services and by experiencing a variety of synagogues and Jewish settings. It is important for candidates to grapple with the complexities and implications of this important first step.
Candidates must undertake an extended period of study with Rabbi Haaz and other members and friends of Adath Israel who are eager to learn about Jewish belief, practice, and values, as well as the Hebrew language. This time of study is a “safe space” in which the candidate speaks openly about the blessings and challenges that go with developing a Jewish identity: taking on specific mitzvot, finding a place in the Adath Israel community, building a sense of Jewish peoplehood, cultivating deep relationships with God and Israel, and exploring how conversion impacts work, family, and personal relationships. Though conversion candidates are expected to explore and demonstrate a serious and sustained commitment to each of these aspects of Jewish observance and identity, Jewish practice should evolve and grow over all the years of a person’s life.
One of the final steps in the conversion process includes an appearance before a Beit Din (a Jewish court – a panel of the candidate’s sponsor and two other committed, observant Jews), in which the candidate discusses his or her journey toward Judaism and affirms his or her commitment to living a life of mitzvot. Pending approval by the beit din, immersion in a mikveh follows. Prior to immersion, men must be circumcised and/or undergo hatafat dam brit. In keeping with the choice of Adath Israel as a spiritual home, candidates who complete the conversion process will join the synagogue as members and enjoy all benefits of the embrace of our sacred community.