Conversion processes for Jews by Choice
We welcome all those who have a sincere desire to become Jewish and are willing to work hard towards that goal. Beit Emanuel is widely regarded as the ideal venue for those who wish to join a conversion programme. We make sure to welcome newcomers as valued members of our community, without making them feel awkward or marginalised. Graduates of our programme have gone on to become participants and leaders in community affairs, several serving as chairs of the management committee.
I am thinking of conversion, but not yet sure whether to take this step.
You are under no pressure to rush in to a decision. You are welcome to visit our shul and observe the services as often as you wish. You should make an appointment to discuss your situation and your feelings with our rabbi.
Can anyone convert to Judaism?
Anyone who is sincere about the conversion process is eligible: there are no barriers in Progressive Judaism on the basis of race, ethnicity or sexual orientation.
How long does the process of conversion take?
At least a year. The actual period depends on how much time the candidate can spend on the process. To qualify, the candidate undergoes an interview about Jewish liturgy before a panel of rabbis who make up a Beit Din or religious court.
How much work is required?
Introduction to Judaism classes are held every Wednesday from 6.30pm to 8.30pm and include supper. Candidates are given reading materials for home study. Candidates may also be required to attend separate introductory classes in Hebrew. They are also expected to attend weekly Shabbat services, festival services and other events at the synagogue, so as to get a full understanding of the liturgical calendar. In cases where candidates are converting for the purpose of marriage, the marriage partner is expected to show support by also attending classes and services.
How much does the conversion process cost?
The cost for a year or more worth of Basic Judaism classes is R9 500. This includes the weekly meals, the interview before the Beit Din and other ceremonies associated with being accepted into the Jewish community. The Hebrew classes are an additional cost. (Please check with the office for current costs.)
See also: The course outline for Jews by Choice