A conversion under Liberal Jewish auspices normatively takes 18 months, including a minimum of six months regular study and a year experiencing all the Jewish festivals and attending synagogue on a weekly basis.
The process usually begins with the individual attending some services and getting a feel of whether they are in the right community for them. On request – or when the rabbi considers it appropriate – a candidate can complete an interview and an application form, which is submitted to Liberal Judaism headquarters and the formal conversion process can then begin.
Regular classes teach the facts of the festivals and lifecycle ceremonies, Jewish history and thought. The differences between Progressive and Orthodox Judaism are explored, as well those between Judaism and other religions. The candidate learns to read Hebrew and understand the structure of the prayerbook and meaning of the prayers.
During that time, the candidate must attend Shabbat and all festival services, and support their time in synagogue with appropriate home rituals including lighting candles and making kiddush, Havdalah and Pesach Seder.
When the candidate feels ready, and the rabbi agrees, an interview is arranged with Liberal Judaism’s Beit Din (Rabbinic Board). This is composed of three independent rabbis who discuss with, and examine, the candidate’s wish and readiness to convert.
If accepted, the candidate is informed of the decision and asked to join the rabbis in a short act of blessing. Certificates are signed and presented days later at a formal acceptance ceremony in their own synagogue.
Liberal Judaism does not require any further procedure.
You may be referring to a traditional procedure called “Hatafat Dam Brit”, in which a small prick is made with a needle into the penis and a drop of blood caused whilst the traditional blessings are said. This is not required by Liberal Judaism.
This is easily refuted. A conversion through Liberal Judaism is not a process taken lightly, but at the same time it is demonstrably more acceptable to so many than the restrictive process required by the Orthodox Beit Din.
Although that was possibly the case in the past, nowadays an increasing majority of our Liberal Judaism’s converts also come for other reasons.
Many have been married to a Jew for years, living in a Jewish family, helping to raise Jewish children and realising that they had become Jewish all but for a piece of paper.
Others might have discovered a Jewish ancestor and wish to re-join the fold. An increasing number have no Jewish background but have been searching for a religion that makes rational and spiritual sense.
It is a privilege to welcome all who genuinely seek to join our faith and people.
Regulations change, but at the moment a conversion certificate from the Liberal Judaism Beit Din will be accepted. There are some conditions that apply, for example that the convert has spent some time actively involved, after their conversion, in the congregation that sponsored their conversion.
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