Conversion - Extra Info
WLS welcomes anyone considering converting to Judaism. As with other Reform Synagogues in the UK, the process of conversion is in accordance with the procedure of the Beit Din (Rabbinic Court) for the Movement for Reform Judaism. It involves developing knowledge, experiencing Jewish life and showing commitment to the Jewish community. This can take approximately 16-18 months and involves regular attendance at synagogue services, participating in our year-long Jewish Preparation (JPREP) course (including studying Jewish knowledge and Hebrew), meeting regularly with the Rabbis before a visit to the Beit Din and Mikveh (immersion in ritual bath) which leads to Jewish status. Men are also asked to provide written proof that they have undergone circumcision. A conversion with the Movement for Reform Judaism is accepted by non-orthodox communities around the world.
If you are interested in converting, please speak to Jane Gough to arrange a visit to WLS in order to experience some services. (We also encourage you to visit other communities: after all we shall expect to see you at services extremely often so you need to see where you most feel comfortable!).
During your year of preparation you will be expected to attend services every week, and we encourage you to try the different services which WLS offers. In addition, you are expected to attend the Ma’ariv (evening) service each Wednesday at 6:30 pm. Following the Beit Din’s requirements, you need to experience the entire year’s cycle of Jewish festivals before they will consider accepting you for conversion. Attendance at the weekly JPREP lessons is also required. Each candidate is assigned a sponsoring Rabbi who is responsible for supporting you on your Jewish journey and, when you are ready, recommending you to the Beth Din.
People often say ‘We’re thinking about getting married, how long will this take?’ We don’t like to give definite answers since the answer can be as different as the people going through the process. Generally it takes at least one year to participate in the course and experience a year’s worth of Jewish festivals. It can then take a further three months before an appointment with the Beit Din. All in all, it usually takes about 16 to 18 months from the start of the process until attendance at the Beit Din.
Importantly, couples should not plan a Jewish wedding expecting the process to be completed by a certain date. We encourage anyone who is planning to be married to discuss this with the Rabbi at the earliest opportunity – before setting a date.
Once enrolled in the process you can register with the Beit Din. We also have a buddy support scheme to welcome you into the WLS community, answer questions or simply be a friendly face to help you through a service. For male converts, the Rabbis will discuss with you and can recommend a mohel for you to consult about circumcision. After authorisation from the Beit Din, the whole process culminates in an admission ceremony into the community, at which you are given the Beit Din’s certificate of conversion.
If you have any other questions or would like to find out more about conversion to Judaism at WLS please contact Jane Gough on 020 7535 0291.