ONLINE JEWISH ACADEMY of ISYNAGOGUE
Gold Medal Awarded Long Distance/Online Conversion to Judaism Program
email firstname.lastname@example.org 847.331.3584 (Mobile)
for additional information, see www.converttojudaism.net
email email@example.com for the enrollment form
call 847 331 3584 with questions or outside USA use skype number 1-847-868-3599
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO CONVERT TO JUDAISM?Some Rabbis want you to wait years. Our program is 12 sessions which we recommend you pace yourself to one session a week and then can convert after. For two thousand years there have been lenient and harsh schools of Jewish thought on conversion. We want to ENCOURAGE conversion for sincere individuals. If you can complete a session a week, it takes 4 months. Some finish faster, most take longer. It obviously depends on your time, discipline, background, etc. We are always available to help via phone, skype, email.
Can you convert to judaism for marriage?
Yes as long as by the time you convert it is sincere and something you want to do , and yo have no beliefs antithetical to Jewish belief.. There are many pluses in having one religion in the family and sharing it with your spouse and his/her family.
Can you convert entirely online?
You can study entirely online. Orthodox will not teach you this way. It is preferred f you are a participating member in a Jewish community. Some Rabbis will only convert you if you are. Conservative and Orthodox require you meet with abeit din of 3 rabbis in person and immerse in front of a same sex witness. In some cases , some Reform and Reconstructionist rabbis might permit beit din meeting via skype and the immersion in front of witnesses where you are and then submnit thatb testimony to the beit din
.If i convert to judaism will my children be jewish
If you give birth AFTER you convert, yes. If they are already born, then they need to convert too. If pregnant, then the baby is Jewish when it emerges.
How to convert to judaism Reform
When you convert, you convert to Judaism, not a denomination. if you prefer Reform rabbis participate on the beit din, we can arrange it.
Some TESTIMONIALS and reviews about our award winning program: Enrollment form follows
From a Stanford PHD
"I can, however, tell you that I very much enjoyed meeting all of you. The experience at Beth Hillel was everything I hoped it would be, every bit the word that Rabbi Brief found for me when I could not think of the right one for my Jewish friends who started me on this journey: "welcoming".
Also, I realize I may have never mentioned that I found the course itself awesome. The combination of books, online resources, blogs, video streams, etc., and, especially, the youtube videos, was, for me, perfect. I don't know if it was intentional, but the variety of mediums used and the method involved --- each section of the course involving overlapping commentaries in the books, complementary videos, memorization exercises, etc. -- served to emphasize for me the constancy and comprehensiveness of the learning that is at the core of Judaism.Thank you, again, so much. What a blessing to have found you all."
now I am back in Sweden and just a few weeks have passed since my special and memorable stay in Chicago.
Today is Tu BiSchwat and I would like to take this as an occasion to once again thank you for your help and support and your great explanations and guide during the last year. For me it was a wonderful experience. It was nice to finally meet you. -And it felt very special to finally be allowed to convert. I'll be in touch, and I´ll let you know how my life develops in the future. Take care,Miriam Lital
Thank you again for all you have done for this family. Your videos and study books that we have poured over, have helped us all to grow in our faith and has confirmed in our hearts that we are doing what is right. We are so excited to be a part of Israel and the Jewish people. We have... bonded even closer as a family. Thank you so much for the work you are doing for those that do not live close to a Jewish community and could not convert if you were not doing what you are doing for so many
Sunday, February 19, 2012 9:18 AM from Wales
I don't quite know how to put into words how moved and grateful I am following
my conversion ceremony earlier this month.
I still have to remind myself that it has really happened!
It was the best thing that has ever happened to me...the most moving, and possibly
the most tearful!!! In retrospect, I think I left my brain outside, too, so overwhelming was the experience!Without you, I am convinced that it would not have been possible, so the gratitude
that I owe you is immeasurable.
I can't tell you how it feels now that I can also pray "who has made me a Jew" instead of having to miss that bit out.
What has also come home to me even more than before is the responsibility and honour that goes with being Jewish; to uphold the honour of HaShem and His people is a serious
responsibility as well as a joy, and I am mindful of this every single day.
I pray that the joy that you have enabled in my life will be felt by everyone you help, and that you will be blessed in everything you do. I know you can't maintain correspondence with everyone whom you teach, as there are probably
too many. But would you mind if I ask your advice from time to time, please?
Sorry to have rambled on. My real purpose is to thank you for the life-changing support you have
With very best wishes.
"What I really like about your program is that you use technology to
your advantage. All the classes you would normally teach a convert in
your office you have recorded and put on line. The advantage with
making a recording of your material and making it accessible to your
students and perspective students, is that your students (those who
have decided that Judaism is for them) they can study the material any
time that they want and gain benefit. How many Rabbi’s would enjoy a
phone call at 9 pm so the student can learn the bedtime prayer at the
time they should be saying it? As for the perspective students (those
who are trying to decide if Judaism is right for them) there seems to
be a need to gain enough information to be able to make that decision.
Your videos certainly do cover the critical amount of needed
information to make that decision.
You inquired about our unique online/long distance conversion-to Judaism program. Below is the enrollment form. Thanks for inquiring. We look forward to working with you.
Long Distance Conversion-to-Judaism Program Enrollment Form – Supervised by Chicago Conversion Beit Din
Return this form via email or fax to conversion course 847 824 6816 (but let us know you faxed it)
Name: Date of Birth:
Gender Male or Female?
If male, are you circumcised?
Name of Spouse (if applicable):
Is your spouse/partner Jewish already? Or converting also?
Names(s) and ages of Children: Indicate if they are converting and if not, why not:
Educational History (names of schools beyond High School , degrees earned):
Present/Past Religious Affiliation:
How did you learn about the program?
Please briefly explain your interest in converting to Judaism: (The final essay will ask for more detail
Describe any prior Jewish learning. If you have previously worked with a rabbi, include name and contact info:
How to Purchase books and pay tuition for the course
____I intend to come to Chicago to convert with ____Conservative____Reform beit din
____I have a local beit din/Rabbi who will convert me after this course
____I can't come to chicago and do not have a relationship with a local rabbi
Please indicate your desired order:
_____ 1 adult conversion ($495), excluding books (to be purchased independently) eithin USA
_____ 1 adult conversion including books ($595)
_____ 1 adult conversion including books, sent outside of the USA ($636)
_____ Additional DVD package (+$24.95) All the videos for the course organized on 2 dvds
_____ Number of other family members (18 or older) also converting (additional $250/person)
___________ Total Amount
Pay for course and materials with credit card
Credit card #--------------------------------------------------------------------
Security code on back__________________________
Or If you prefer paypal, pay with the donation button on the homepage of this blog/ the donation buttonindicate so and we’ll paypal the request
Read and put initials here
___I/we understand this conversion, may not be acceptable to Orthodox Rabbis and the Israeli Orthodox Rabbinic establishment for the purposes of aliyah
__I/We do not accept Jesus/Yeshua as our Lord and savior, or messiah.
We very much look forward to working with you!
We also offer online post conversion Jewish studies, bar bat mitzvah long distance training, online Hebrew school. See www.isynagogue.blogspot.com for more information
A few couples have chosen to have a Jewish wedding after the conversion while in Chicago, either because they are married already civilly and want a Chuppah and ketubah, or because they want to get married. If you want to do this and need a license, you can get one from Cook County the day before the conversion and we can set up a Huppah at the synagogue right after the conversion.
Converting to Judaism - Conversion is a journey.
"Dearer to God than all of the Israelites who stood at Mount Sinai is the convert. Had the Israelites not witnessed the lightning, thunder, and quaking mountain, and had they not heard the sounds of the shofar, they would not have accepted the Torah. But the convert, who did not see or hear any of these things, surrendered to God and accepted the yoke of heaven. Can anyone be dearer to God than such a person?"
Tanhuma (ed. Buber),
The Mitzvah to Encourage the Convert
by Harold M. Schulweis
Rabbi Dana Kaplan's informative essay enumerates the lamentations of "the ever dying people," a dirge supported by surveys and studies in the last decade and reiterated in sermons and lectures from the pulpit and platform. The bête noire has been misidentified as intermarriage. While rhetorically we admit that intermarriage is a symptom, not a cause, our institutional projects commit a fallacy of misplaced concreteness. De facto, we treat the symptom as a cause. That inversion misdirects our struggle against the erosion of assimilation.
The symptoms are external; the causes are internal, within. The internal problems of interfaith marriages call for a double pronged inreach-outreach program. That approach must precede, not only chronologically but spiritually, the situation presented as interfaith marriage.
I write from the perspective of a congregational rabbi who has felt compelled to initiate and implement a pluralistic outreach-inreach program for unchurched Gentiles and unsynagogued Jews, and who are joined by affiliated synagogue mentors, all of whom attend the lectures and seminars. The mentors have pledged to open their doors and lives to the seekers, both Jewish and non-Jewish. I will shortly explain my motivation and method, but I would like first to confess my frustration with the conventional ways I have followed in dealing with the phenomenon of intermarriage.
AN INTERFAITHLESS COUPLE
Jeff's mother calls me with a not untypical request. Her Jeff has met Kathy who is "a lovely lady but a Catholic.” Jeff's parents are members of my congregation. They are 9-1-1 Jews, who mainly call on the synagogue in emergencies. "Would I officiate at Jeff's wedding?" …
For the sake of his parents, Jeff has come to see me. All Jeff wants is that I perform the marriage. From the initial conversations with both Jeff and Kathy it is clear that all they require from me is the performance of an "interfaithless" union. Their religious antecedents seem much the same. They are secular, privatistic, not particularly religious.
Jeff is part of our national statistics. According to the National Population Study of 1990, 1.2 million native born Jews when asked with what religion they identified, answered "None.” Jeff is de-facto, a "none-Jew,” as Kathy is a "none-Christian.”
And who am I to them? In their eyes I am a facilitator, a customs and ceremony officiant, an accessory to a wedding event, placed high on the list along with the caterer, florist and band leader. They prefer the benefits of clergy without the complication of conversion. Conversion is an instrumental matter, a temporary inconvenience, a means necessary for them to overcome the obstacle to matrimony. Still, Kathy is compliant, willing to undergo a ceremonial conversion because it will please Jeff and his parents.
But I've had experience with other Kathys before. I ask Jeff to leave us alone in the study. In pursuing the conversation with her, it is evident that there is more to Kathy than she presents. Jeff, of course, has never talked to her about the possibility of conversion to Judaism. In this he is a dedicated libertarian. He would not coerce her. Nor would I. But in the course of our conversation, it is evident that Kathy is a searching spiritual person who has done a good deal of investigation of other religions, from New Age religions to Zen Buddhism, but curiously not of Judaism itself. She is attracted to Jews and to Judaism and is aware of the warmth of the Jewish home, the absence of dogma, the emphasis on family and on education. Has she thought of conversion to Judaism?
She has been convinced that Judaism is not for outsiders. She knows this because she has been told by many Jews, secular and religious, that you have to be born into Judaism and that conversion is not the traditional way to Judaism. She echoes what I have heard from Jews and non-Jews alike and in fairly vulgar terms. She repeats the joke she was told by one of Jeff's friends. "What is the difference between a virgin and a shiksa? The answer: a shiksa remains a shiksa." The point is that a shiksa is incontrovertibly unconvertible. Being Jewish comes with the chicken soup. You cannot become a Jew by immersing yourself in a mikvah. "Blood is thicker than water." I am embarrassed by this racism but no longer surprised.
When we speak further about Jewish values, Kathy is seriously taken with the possibilities of conversion. But when Jeff returns to the study he is strangely upset with me. He had sought only a rabbinic presence, my ecclesiastical cloth to cover the embarrassment of his parents. He had certainly not expected talk about a series of classes of conversion, lectures, a Beth Din tribunal, and a mikvah immersion which would complicate their schedule. In all of this Kathy remained compliant and silent. After all, Jeff is the born Jew.
When they left I felt disturbed. It was not only that I felt myself being used by Jeff and his parents, but that I was caught in a web of symptoms. Was I treating the symptoms as if they were causes? The wrong questions were being asked and the wrong answers were given. The conversion was an afterthought. The ceremony was wagging the faith, the rite overwhelmed the passage. Moreover, the problem was with Jeff, not with Kathy. Who was the cause and who was the symptom? It was a mis-meeting. Jeff had to be spoken to differently, and Jeff's parents too. There are buried questions that must be raised. Why is my token presence so important? What has Judaism, the covenant to do with this contact? And how have I dealt with Kathy and how did she feel? Was she a commodity, an "it" used to pacify his parents' need for Jewish respectability? Did I regard Kathy as a surrogate for the Holocaustal hemorrhaging of my people, a replacement for our low fertility rates?
I sought a different opportunity to speak with them, to unlock their questions, to transmit something of the wisdom and pertinence of Jewish faith and practice. I needed to reach out to them both. If becoming Jewish is a sacred process, it cannot be confined to discussion of a celebratory event. It's not the wedding, it's the covenantal commitment to Judaism that is at stake.
I recognize that there are many Kathys out there who are reading books on religion and attending lectures in ashrams and not for the purpose of matrimony. Why is the synagogue so closed to them, why is the perception so deep and pervasive that being Jewish is a matter of birth, not becoming? I was left with many questions.
OPENING THE DOORS OF THE SYNAGOGUE
About two years ago, after many such misencounters with Jeffs and Kathys, I decided to organize and implement a Keruv program which would be different in a number of ways. With the enthusiastic cooperation of Rabbis Edward and Nina Feinstein, we created a pluralistic outreach-inreach program with some distinctive features. I sought a faculty that would be drawn from rabbis in the community, Orthodox, Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist, who would teach subject matters ranging from rites of passage to theology from their distinctive ideological points of view. The idea was predicated on the belief that God did not create denominations and that Judaism is not a seamless univocal tradition. At the end of some seventeen sessions of lectures and meetings, those unchurched seekers who sought to become Jews to choose their own rabbis, their own Betei Din so that they would choose to live Jewishly in a manner compatible with their own beliefs and convictions.
Following a few announcements in the Jewish press and in the LA Times, we found people of all backgrounds and faiths, lapsed Christians and lapsed Jews, flocking to our lectures. Each session was filled with between 400-500 Jews and non-Jews.
There were whispered criticisms. Is it Jewish? Does Judaism encourage conversion? Can a non-Jew become a Jew? Who are "they" to "us" and do we neglect guarding our own vineyard?
We had occasion during the lectures to point out to the audience of seekers what many had forgotten, had not known, or never considered. Who are we Jews and where did we come from? Had we forgotten that the first Jew by choice was the founder of Judaism, that Abraham was mandated by God to "get thee out of thy country and from thy kindred and from thy father's house unto the land I will show you...and I will bless thee and make thy name great. Be thou a blessing and I will bless them that bless you and curse them that curse you and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed." Judaism's birth was through conversion. Who else was there for Abraham and Sarah to make into a people except the pagan non-Jewish population around them?
Had we forgotten what we recite in the Passover Haggadah – our reminder "in the beginning our fathers were idolaters," heathens and slaves, and that on Passover we celebrate not the birth but the becoming of the Jewish people?
Did we forget that every single day throughout the year, three times a day we pray the thirteenth benediction of the Amidah, which singles out "righteous proselytes" (gayray tzedek) as a blessing for us, and for God?
Had we forgotten that on the festival of Shavuoth, which celebrates the revelation of the law, the rabbis selected not the book of Ezra, but the book of Ruth to be read to the congregation? Did we remember that Ruth was a Moabite woman, and that in the Torah the Moabite was prohibited to be married to a Jew; and according to Deuteronomy, a Moabite was not to enter the congregation even to the tenth generation? And yet it is Ruth, the exemplary Jew by choice, who is celebrated as the great-grandmother of King David from whom the messiah is to spring.
It is important that the community be reminded that the rabbis in the Talmudic era proudly claimed Bitya, the daughter of Pharaoh, and Yithro, the father-in-law of Moses, and Zipporah, the wife of Moses, and Shifra and Puah, the Egyptian midwives who refused to obey the edict of Pharaoh to murder Jewish males and saved Jewish lives, as Jews by choice. With pride the Talmud informs us that Rabbi Akiva, Rabbi Shemiah and Abtalion were all descendants of proselytes.
"THEM" AND "US"
But there were many voices from high sources in Jewish life who criticized our efforts and said that we should be spending more energy on "us" rather than on "them.” But surely, when "they" become "us" they are no longer "they.” Moreover, what in fact did the Keruv Program do for "us,” for the congregational mentors themselves? The numbers of synagogue mentors who came from our synagogue and attended all the lectures did so in a dedicated manner different from their attendance at other adult education courses. The mentors were enlivened by the Keruv Program because they felt possession of a significant cause. They were learning in order to teach.
DEBUNKING THE MYTHS
The bias against outreach searches for its own myths.
"Judaism doesn't believe in conversion." Yet, the great Jewish historian Salo Baron has pointed out that 2,000 years ago, Jews were ten percent of the Roman Empire because they were extremely successful in converting pagans to Judaism. So successful, that the emperors Domitian and Hadrian made proselytism to Judaism a capital crime. It was not Judaism that prohibited the proselytization of non-Jews, but Hadrian's laws forbidding Jews to circumcise non-Jews that proscribed proselytism. Not Judaism but Roman Christianity prohibited conversion.
Still, other myths to discourage pro-active proselytism; secular Jews use other arguments to oppose an open door to Jews by choice. "Not faith but culture and ethnicity present barriers to conversion." But what cultural aspects of Jewish life do they who neither read Yiddish nor Hebrew have in mind that is beyond the reach of Jews by choice? The secularists refer to culinary matters, the joys of lox and bagels, of knishes and kugel, and a smidgen of Yinglish and Hebronics. But I know their children. They exhibit no proclivity toward gefilte fish or lox and bagels. Maimonides himself ate neither cholent nor tzimis, nor understood "mame-loshen.” Did that bar him and his descendants from Jewish identity and loyalty? Neither ethnic culture or identity is innate. They can and are cultivated through the programs of Keruv.
Speaking of Maimonides, I turn to the magnificent answer he offered Obadiah, a convert to Judaism, who asked Maimonides whether he, a Jew by choice, could recite the prayer, "Our God and God of our fathers.” Someone had told Obadiah that because his ancestors were not Jews he dare not recite that prayer. In Maimonides' response he writes, "By all means you should pray 'Our God and God of our fathers,' for in no respect is there a difference between us and you. Do not think little of your origin. If we trace our descent from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, your descent is from Him by whose word the world was created."
Thinking back to my conversation with Kathy, I realized that these non-Jews who came to the lectures had not come to my office brought by a Jewish partner seeking my ceremonial imprimatur. Most of the non-Jews during these two years were not interested in matrimony. They were spiritual seekers and it enabled me to address them differently. Importantly, I never thought of them as making up for our terrible Holocaust losses or as surrogates for our lagging demographic statistics. I never spoke to them about their conversion for the sake of appeasing Jeff's parents. They are not to be used as means for our ends.
The Kathys in our midst have to contend with Jeffs, who wonder why she spends so much time and energy, why in the world she would choose to be Jewish? In that incredulity lies one of the primary sources of our dissolution the vacuity of Jeff's Jewishness. In truth, Jeff is unaware of the superordinate system of values and wisdom and spiritual depth in Judaism, not only wonders what it is that possesses Kathy to become Jewish, he wonders what possesses his parents to insist on a Jewish wedding. Both Kathy and Jeff must be encouraged to become Jews by choice. The outreach program is as much for the native born as it is for the searching stranger.
Either educate "them" or "us" is a perverse disjunction. If Judaism is understood as a faith and culture that has something of supreme value to offer the world, then outreach is very much part and parcel of Jewish teleology. Not either/or but both/and. The reluctance to share our wisdom with the spiritual seekers is less a sign of particularistic fidelity than a trivialization of Judaism. If we have nothing to say to the other who seeks, we have nothing to say to ourselves or our own. The seekers ask us hard questions. "Tell us why Judaism is so important? Tell us how it can enrich our lives and the life of the universe?" As much as they would know "how" and "when," they ask "What for"? That root question we must answer not only for them but for ourselves and our children, for all whose chose to be Jews.
The Talmud observes that the precept to understand and to love the stranger in our midst, which the rabbinic tradition takes to mean the proselyte, appears thirty-six times in the Torah. The stranger in our midst is our very selves. Proactive conversion must be placed high on the Jewish agenda of the next century. In the words of Dr. Gary Tobin, in his new book Open the Gates, "Proactive conversion can revitalize the Jewish community."