Conversion

We know that taking the step of contacting The Temple to express interest in conversion is a major one, and many people fear being rejected by the congregation or the clergy. Please know that you are welcome here, and we hope that by reading the information below, you will feel comfortable contacting us with questions and to discuss these next steps in your journey. 


We wish that we could tell you exactly what you have in store as you walk the rest of the steps on the path to becoming a Jew, but honestly, we do not know. We are taught that there are seventy faces to the Torah; one way to understand this saying is that there are multiple paths that will lead to Judaism. Everyone’s path is unique. We want to make your journey as easy as possible, however, and so we are available to help you along the way.

We hope that if you decide conversion is right for you that you will register for our Judaism 101 class. If, after that class, you feel that conversion is still the right step for you, we invite you to take our Judaism 102 class.

Rabbi Lapidus coordinates our conversion program and you may contact her, or any member of our clergy team, to discuss conversion by calling 404.873.1731. Cherie Winsett is the person to contact about registrations for Judaism 101 and 102 classes.

Requirements for Conversion at The Temple


Conversion to Judaism is a challenging and powerful process. While it requires strong dedication and soul-searching, the results are extraordinary. At The Temple, conversion follows a period of preparation approximately a year in length. During this period, the prospective convert studies Judaism, participates in the life of the synagogue and the Jewish community, and develops and deepens a personal relationship with God, Torah, and the Jewish people.

Conversion at The Temple requires all of the following:


1. Judaism 101: An Introduction to Judaism. This class is a prerequisite to the conversion program. It is not exclusively for those considering conversion; as part of our TAMID Lifelong Learning Program, this class is a broad overview of Jewish living for anyone interested in learning more about Judaism. Topics include Jewish holidays, history, approaches to God, texts, and other themes of basic Judaism.

2. Judaism 102, Choosing Judaism: Judaism 101 or its equivalent is a prerequisite for this class, which consists of group sessions with other conversion candidates, personal reflection, and individual meetings with a sponsoring rabbi who guides the candidate through the conversion process. There are six group sessions, and students are expected to meet with their sponsoring rabbi as well. As part of this program, students will complete a self-study guide of 66 Questions and read books from the required reading list. Prospective students must meet with Rabbi Lapidus prior to registering for this class.


3. Jewish Living: The conversion candidate begins to see the world through Jewish eyes. This includes celebration of Shabbat, holidays, attendance at worship services, observance of mitzvot (commandments), and participation in the community. The candidate’s sponsoring rabbi will help each student develop a personal plan for Jewish living.


4. Gemilut Chasadim (Acts of Loving Kindness): Each candidate will engage in ongoing acts of loving kindness, helping to repair the world. Each candidate will participate in social justice and acts of tikkun olam (repair of the world) in the community.


5. Becoming a Member of The Temple: Unless previous arrangements have been made with the sponsoring rabbi, each candidate agrees to become part of The Temple community upon completion of conversion by joining the synagogue.

6. Conversion Ceremony: As each candidate prepares for conversion, the sponsoring rabbi will discuss participation in the mikveh (ritual immersion) and for men, the ritual of milah (circumcision) or hatafat dam brit (drawing a drop of blood). Each candidate will also write a personal statement to be shared as part of the conversion ceremony.

Judaism 101


The class is taught by The Temple clergy and education staff starting in October and again in February. The class takes place on Monday nights along with all of our TAMID adult education offerings from 8:05-9:00 PM. Students are encouraged to sign up for an elective, such as Hebrew, during the first hour of class (7:00-7:50 PM). There will also be a Shabbat experience for the class.


Judaism 102: Choosing Judaism


This class consists of six group sessions with other conversion candidates, focusing on personal reflection and a more detailed study of Jewish thought and practice. As part of this program, participants will complete a self-study guide of “66 Questions,” write six journal entries, and read books.

We ask that everyone who is interested in Judaism 102 meet with Rabbi Lapidus prior to registering. During Judaism 102, each conversion candidate will be paired with a sponsoring rabbi to meet with several times prior to the conversion ceremony.



 

 

1589 Peachtree Street NE | Atlanta, GA 30309 | t 404-873-1731 | A Reform Synagogue | Affiliated with The Union for Reform Judaism