Considering Conversion

A decision to convert to Judaism requires careful consideration and extensive self-examination.

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Reprinted with permission from www.convert.org/.

Conversion to Judaism means accepting the Jewish faith and becoming part of the Jewish people. Judaism welcomes sincere converts. In fact, Abraham and Sarah, the founders of the Jewish people, were not born Jewish. Throughout the ages, untold numbers of people have converted to Judaism.mikvah conversion

Still at the Thinking Stage

If you are considering becoming Jewish too, here are some suggestions for you as you explore Judaism a step at a time.

Consider why you are thinking about conversion. People choose to become Jewish for many different reasons. Some came to Judaism after a long spiritual search. Many people who eventually convert had their interest sparked because of a romantic relationship with someone Jewish. Among the reasons most given by people who do convert are that

    1.        Judaism has sensible religious beliefs.

    2.        Becoming Jewish allows the convert to share the faith of the partner.

    3.        Becoming Jewish makes the family religiously united.

    4.        Becoming Jewish will make it easier for children by giving them a clear religious identity.

Think about your own reasons. Remember, conversion must be your own free choice, not done because of pressure, but out of a genuine desire to embrace Judaism.

Learn as much as you can about Judaism. Some reading suggestions are included in the bibliography on conversion. Go to lectures, take introductory courses on Judaism that are offered by many colleges and Jewish congregations, and talk to some Jewish friends. Remember that Judaism has an important ethnic component. You are joining a people, not just a religion, and so need to learn about different aspects of Jewish culture and about Israel [and the Holocaust].

See if Judaism's basic beliefs and practices make sense to you. Remember, though, that Judaism is a faith of good deeds [and other ritual observances], not forced creeds. There is more concern in Judaism that you act morally than that you have specific beliefs [at least among liberal Jews]. All Jews share a passion to make the world a better place. It is difficult to provide a brief summary of basic Judaism. To get you started, though, here are some general Jewish beliefs that are widely held among Jews:

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Lawrence J. Epstein is the author of numerous books, including Conversion to Judaism: A Guidebook and Readings on Conversion to Judaism.