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5 years ago  ::  Nov 16, 2009 - 7:02PM #1
Idenitycrisis
Posts: 351

A guy of Celtic descent feels a little tickled that his belief system matches Orthodox, and Reform Judaism. It has me intrigued. If I could possibly get an idea of the conversion process of the two branches, and, if I may request, an answer from those who"officially" practice each. (No crossover explanation, it's easy to make the other guy look bad). Thank you.

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5 years ago  ::  Nov 16, 2009 - 9:53PM #2
ffb
Posts: 2,174

conversion to Judaism is discouraged but if you wish to know the Orthodox path, I can give a brief synopsis -- study, change lifestyle, study, change your entire way of thinking and being, go before rabbinical court, immerse in a ritual bath (and for a male, either get circumcised or have a drop of blood from the foreskin region taken if therre has already been a circumcision); and in Messianic times, bring a sacrifice.


Contact a LOR for more details.

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5 years ago  ::  Nov 16, 2009 - 10:54PM #3
LeahOne
Posts: 16,280

Many 'Reform' Jewish proselytes choose to convert 'Conservative' (the other Jewish sect!) or even Orthodox just in case they or their children want to make aliyah (emigrate to Israel).


My husband converted 'conservative Conservative' although we are basically Reconstructionist/Reform in our attitude.  


I'm not altogether certain how different the beliefs are between Jewish sects, so much as the customs and interpretations of observance.  So much of it is cultural, in the sense of what one was brought up with....a Jew is likely to say "I daven Orthodox"  - I pray according to the Orthodox manner - rather than "I am Orthodox".


Please bear in mind that I'm not particularly a scholar, and so my knowledge of Judaism is mostly experiential.


I suppose I may as well explain to you that if one is male and not circumcised, even a 'Reform' conversion requires a circumcision.  But anesthesia is allowed - as are exceptions for medical problems.


 


 

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5 years ago  ::  Nov 17, 2009 - 5:47PM #4
Idenitycrisis
Posts: 351

Oy Vey! Sounds like a tedious process. (Especially Orthodox) Thanks for the comments and advice. Sounds like this is not for the faint of heart goyim.

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5 years ago  ::  Nov 18, 2009 - 11:33PM #5
Pam34
Posts: 2,650

Typically, it takes about a year (give or take). A prospective convert must find a teacher to work with him/her - usually a rabbi. That can take a while - not all rabbis 'do' conversions. It's time-consuming, for one thing. (Judaism doesn't believe that people 'have to' be Jewish for anything - 'salvation' is a non-issue, so we typically don't seek out converts).


When the teacher feels the prospective convert is ready, he/she will set up an appointment to convene a bet din (a court of three judges). The bet din will examine the subject (ask questions). The convert is expected to know something about most Jewish subjects - from theology to how to light candles to how to play dreidel (minor joke - but the point is, the bet din can ask just about anything).


Male converts get circumcised (if already circumcised, a drop of blood only is drawn) and anesthesia is okay.


Both male and females immerse themselves in a mikvah (a ritual pool) and recite a blessing for doing so.


That's really basically it, regardless of movement (I prefer 'movement' to 'sect'). The makeup of the bet din, the questions they ask, and the level of prior education and theological approach will vary by movement.


Generally, Orthodox and Conservative movements will require circumcision and mikvah, while Reform may 'recommend'. Reconstructionism I believe, follows Conservative practice, and Renewal - well, who knows? There are Renewal -type congregations in all movements, so it depends.


So -


you get a course of study, an oral exam, minor surgery (hopefully!) and a symbolic rebirth - into a new life as a Jew.


 


 


 


 

Blessed are You, HaShem, Who blesses the years.
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5 years ago  ::  Nov 19, 2009 - 8:45AM #6
Idenitycrisis
Posts: 351

Thanks, Pam, that really sums up the whole experience of conversion, at least for me. Thank you everyone for you're comments. Peace.

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5 years ago  ::  Nov 22, 2009 - 1:05PM #7
Pam34
Posts: 2,650

It's definitely worth mentioning - important to mention - that conversion to Judaism is not 'changing your religion' so much as it is changing your LIFE. It is joining a people, not  just a faith/belief community. Belief may - or may not - be the original impetus; but the end result is a new identity, a new ethnicity, a new homeland, a new language, a new PERSON.

Blessed are You, HaShem, Who blesses the years.
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5 years ago  ::  Dec 09, 2009 - 12:39PM #8
nieciedo
Posts: 5,617

It is not possible to have an Orthodox conversion just to be accepted in more communities.


 


It never used to be this way -- the Talmud itself bears witness to this fact -- but the rules for conversion to Orthodoxy have tightened insanely over the years, to the point where the Orthodox Chief Rabbinate of Israel routinely nullifies conversions done by Orthodox rabbis in the diaspora who don't meet their qualifications.


 


The liberal movements generally seem to give full-faith-and-credit to each other, provided the requisite rituals are performed. For example, Reform will in theory allow conversion without hatafat dam brit or mikveh but encourages them; Conservative requires them. If one converts into a Reform community and undergoes the proper rituals, any Conservative community will accept that regardless of what one's theological opinions may be.



Orthodox conversions require ideological adherence. To disagree with a given rabbinical opinion could be interpreted as not fully accepting "the yoke of heaven" which would mean one's conversion was never really kosher to begin with.

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5 years ago  ::  Dec 09, 2009 - 12:40PM #9
nieciedo
Posts: 5,617

That being said, I am very curious as to the details of Ivanka Trump's conversion process. Maybe the rules are different for the obscenely rich?

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5 years ago  ::  Dec 15, 2009 - 11:55AM #10
NahumS
Posts: 1,758

LOL!


I imagine that she's not planning on aliyah in the near future.


Seriously, you've pointed out a real problem. The chief rabbinate here isn't monolithic, and there are serious attempts to work things out. We have a large population of non-Jews in Israel(many of them descendants of Jews) and a welcoming(but halachic) approach to conversion is essential.


Orthodox conversion isn't tedious or onerous (from what I've heard) but it does require sincerity and committment to become a traditionally observant Jew. It requires a significant amount of study as well. Prospective converts would do well to find an orthodox "adoptive family" that can mentor them.

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