Conversion in Rabbinic Texts
The Covenant of Circumcision
Male converts to Judaism are traditionally required to undergo circumcision or, if already circumcised, a ritual removal of a single drop of blood.
Acceptance of the Yoke of the Commandments
Kabbalat ol ha-mitzvot (acceptance of the commandments) combines faith and action with an intent to evolve as a practicing Jew.
Preparing for the Mikveh
Plan ahead to enhance the spirituality of the immersion experience; a mikveh or mikvah, a ritual bath, tends more toward the functional than the spiritual.
The Mikveh’s Significance in Traditional Conversion
Immersion in the mikveh actualizes the transition between the convert's old identity and his or her new one as a Jew.
Choosing a Hebrew Name
As with a literal newborn, the convert as a spiritual newborn selects a Hebrew name and adopts Abraham and Sarah as spiritual parents.
The Rabbinic Conversion Ceremony
The different layers of the rabbinic discussion of conversion reveal the beginnings of a transformation from a citizenship ritual to a theological initiation rite.
The Beit Din (Rabbinic Court) and Conversion
Final authority for conversion rests with the three-person beit din, which rules on a candidate's sincerity, knowledge, and potential for success as a Jew.