Jewish Conversion Up Close

29 Oct 2014

“You shall love the proselyte,” Devarim 10:19. “You shall not oppress a proselyte,” Shemot 23:9

On the 3rd of Marcheshvan, Knesset law paved the way for a vote on the controversial Conversion Bill. If passed, the law could transfer the authority for Jewish conversion to local rabbinical authorities in place of one central rabbinate. Many claim this will open the door to expedite thousands more conversions each year; some see this as good news; others as spiritually disastrous. Rabbanim in the Chareidi and Dati Leumi communities say it will divide the Jewish people.

Although we are not a religion that actively promotes proselytizing, we do welcome those who choose to fully embrace and commit to the Torah’s precepts. Once converted, he/she becomes a full-fledged Jew.

Orthodox Judaism does not take the conversion process lightly. Becoming a Jew involves serious preparation. After a substantial period of study, the potential convert comes before a rabbinical conversion court, demonstrating an abiding belief in the Almighty, astute knowledge of Judaism’s fundamental beliefs and practices, and an unwavering readiness to take on the obligations of Torah observance.

The following articles depict the fascinating journeys to Judaism of individuals who exemplify the term, “Ger Tzedek” (righteous convert).

Finding Mount Sinai in Montana

Logging on to Judaism: A Convert Retrieves Her Soul from Cyberspace

From Japan to Jerusalem

The Prince of Light: The Story of an African Prince Who Left Royalty and Fortune to Pursue a Torah Lifestyle

Go Where I Send Thee: A Former Minister Finds Torah

The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.