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Where my conversion stands

March 23, 2010

Since I stopped updating regularly here, I’ve taken substantial steps toward converting in the conservative movement. I’ll give you a recap of how all this went down.

First, around the time of my last post, I had started attending conversion class with a conservative rabbi h ere in the D.C. It was a great experience. The class was roughly half couples in the same situation as E and I, where one half of the couple was Jewish by birth and the other was considering conversion. (interesting note – I was the only man seeking conversion; in all the other couples it was the woman who was converting). The other half of the class was single woman going through the conversion process by themselves. The class was an overview of Jewish theology and tradition as well as a place to discuss the challenges faced in conversion. Issues of melding the families, handling Christmas, raising kids, etc. were discussed at length along with the rules of kasrut and how to pray the sh’ma. I gained an enormous amount from the class and now, two months after the class ended, I am still processing and attempting to remember all the information I learned there.

Converting to Judaism can be an overwhelming process. If you’re like me, you know the broad outlines of the faith, but there is so, so much to learn. It can seem daunting. Taking in the outlines of Judaism is a classroom environment was very helpful for me, and I’d recommend it to anyone else considering conversion. Working one on one with a rabbi (which is the stage I am in now) is essential, but I think if you’re starting from square one, a classroom setting is a good way to go.

As the class ended in February, I met with the Rabbi one on one. That conversation was both an examination of where I am in my journey and a discussion of next steps.

E and I are at this point living some of the traditions. We’re celebrating Shabbat when we can (E and I are often separated on Friday night due to her being in NYC and me being in DC), but we’re not regular members of a synagogue, and I cannot read Hebrew. Me learning Hebrew and us finding a shul in which we feel comfortable are the next concrete steps we need to take and I hope, if all goes according to plan, I’ll be going before the beit din by the end of the summer.

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