Candidates must undertake an extended period of study which includes enrolling in either the Introduction to Judaism course taught at BJ (the course runs from October to May) or an equivalent course (Derekh Torah at the 92nd Street Y or Exploring Judaism through the Rabbinical Assembly). Additional options for appropriate study may be arranged on a case by case basis. Further supplementing that education with study of the Hebrew language significantly enhances the journey towards conversion. Recommendations for Hebrew study are available.
Once this period of study has begun and up until conversion, candidates meet periodically with a sponsoring rabbi or rabbinic fellow. Meetings serve as a “safe space” in which both candidates and sponsors discuss the process of developing Jewish identity: taking on specific mitzvot, such as Shabbat and holiday observance, kashrut, prayer and tzedakah; finding a place in the BJ community; building a sense of Jewish peoplehood and a relationship with Israel; and exploring how conversion impacts work, family and personal relationships. Though we expect conversion candidates to explore and demonstrate a serious and sustained commitment to each of these aspects of Jewish observance and identity, we recognize that for both those born into Judaism and those who choose Judaism later in life, Jewish practice should evolve and grow. Finally, since religious practice and spiritual growth cannot occur without further study, we consider a lifelong commitment to Jewish learning an essential component in the affirmation and nurture of Jewish identity. It important to stress that there is no set time frame for conversion, rather each individual process is unique and can range anywhere from a period of several months to years.