Mancom Talk: Ruth Challens, Conversion Class Liaison

Ruth Challens Conversion Class Liaison

A bit about me

I am married to the most amazing person, Virgil. We have four sons between us, and we are blessed with nine grandchildren.

In 2008 my husband and I decided to convert to Judaism. There were no classes offered at Temple Israel in Hillbrow, so in 2009 we started attending classes at Beit Emanuel. In February 2010, on completion of our conversion course, we appeared before the Beth Din. I find it hard to believe that it has been five years already.

A defining moment which I would like to mention happened to us when Israel celebrated her 60th birthday: We were at the Wanderers during the celebrations, when two different photographers took pictures of us. My picture appeared on the SAZF website and in their magazine, and Virgil’s picture appeared in a local newspaper. How co-incidental was that?

We are active members in both the Progressive and the wider Jewish communities. Our involvement with United Sisterhood spans six years. We assist in the collection and distribution of food to needy Jewish families. We have also served on the Management committee at our previous shul.

At present I hold the portfolio of Conversion Class Liaison. I enjoy this portfolio very much, and look forward to working alongside Rabbi Sa’ar, and also in ensuring that our new ‘Jews by Choice’ will be fully integrated into our local community.


Israel has always been top of my list of countries to visit. During 1999, we undertook our first visit to Israel. It was on this tour that I experienced a sense of homecoming in Jerusalem. During 2006 and 2007 I visited Israel again. My last visit to Israel was in 2013 to attend the Beutel seminar. My roomie (a valued member of our shul) and I shared some amazing and beautiful experiences. It was after this seminar that I decided to get involved in serving on our Mancom. This is the third year that I am serving on the Mancom at Beit Emanuel.

I look forward to this year with great eagerness and excitement.



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