Conversion to Judaism is as old as Judaism itself; after all, Abraham and Sarah, the ancestors of our people, were not born Jewish. Ever since then, people have been drawn to join our community — often through love for a Jewish person, which becomes a love for Judaism as well.
The best-known story of a single non-Jewish conversion is found in the Book of Ruth, in which the widowed non-Jewish daughter-in-law, Ruth, casts her lot and her life with her Jewish mother-in-law, Naomi. The story of Ruth is an on-going part of Jewish history, which continues to this day.
Other stories regarding conversion suggest also both the wife of Joseph son of Jacob who was an Egiptian princes and Moses’s wife. Way before those the others are Abraham’s household or servants.
In fact, more people are choosing to become Jewish today than at any other point in history. This is a blessing and a cause for celebration and gratitude. At HHRI conversion is afforded the dignity and honor it deserves.
The formal process of converting to Judaism takes years of study, and culminates with three powerful rituals, the last of which is immersion in a mikveh. We work in concert with rabbis and leaders of the different Jewish denominations to make each conversion a real simcha, a celebration. Please be aware that only a rabbi, leader or cantor can schedule an immersion for conversion.
For more information about conversion at HHRI please contact HHRI’s Mikveh Center Director.
The boundaries between “Jewish” and “not-Jewish” are not as clear today as they once seemed to be. According to a traditional understanding of Jewish law (halacha), a Jew is someone who was either born to a Jewish mother or who formally converted to Judaism. However, we do not support only that as IS NOT in the Torah. Read this article. We recognized father and jewish mothers raised with a Jewish identity and education. Both also in the Reform and Reconstructionist movements officially recognize as Jews anyone born to a Jewish father and raised with a Jewish identity and education. Given the discrepancy between these two points of view, some “patrilineal Jews” choose to immerse in a mikveh to turn aside challenges to their authenticity by satisfying the legal requirement for conversion.
However, in such cases, the term “conversion” can seem inappropriate and even hurtful to someone who has always identified as a Jew and lived a Jewish life. Today, many rabbis speak of the ceremony as an affirmation instead, since the immersee is not converting to Judaism but affirming his or her Jewish identity.