"Wherever you go, I will go; where you lodge, I will lodge; your people are my people, and your God is my God; where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried." (Ruth 1:16-17)
For thousands of years, Ruth and others have joined themselves to the Jewish people, accepting both our history and our destiny as theirs. The forms of joining the Jewish people have changed over the centuries, but the general procedure remains the same since the time the Rabbis first discussed the issue in the Talmud. To convert to Judaism, a person must act not for any ulterior motive; rather, one must accept Judaism as one's exclusive religious practice and become part of the Jewish people. Westminster Synagogue offers a programme for those wishing to convert, to confirm their Jewish status or members who simply wish to join a group that is exploring Judaism and what it means to be Jewish.
The person who wishes to convert should make an appointment with our Rabbi and arrange an interview. The candidate should attend (if appropriate or relevant with his or her Jewish partner). Everyone will receive a sympathetic welcome and all help will be given to go through the process. Generally the process takes one year so that the candidate can experience all of the Jewish holy days and some of the Jewish life cycles. Classes are run once a week and attendance at Shabbat and Festival services is integral to the process. Candidates for conversion are required to write essays, on which guidance will be given. After the period of study, the candidate will be recommended to appear before the Rabbinic Board (Beit Din) of three Rabbis who will assess the candidate, following the recommendation of the sponsoring Rabbi and Synagogue. This is not an examination but a discussion about the essays, the experience and approach of the candidate and his/her partner (if relevant).
For more information about conversion, please click here or contact Rabbi Stanley by email at email@example.com.
The photo is of Maty Grunberg's 'Book of Ruth' one of many books available at the Westminster Synagogue library. To browse more books, click here.