To schedule a conversation with one of our clergy or to discuss your spiritual path please contact Audrey Okaneko in the Temple office. Rabbi Cohen oversees those pursuing conversion and welcomes the opportunity to speak with you.
Some people are born Jews and others choose to become Jews. In today’s world, many of us Jews would say that we “choose” to be Jewish everyday through actions and deeds.
At CBB we welcome those who are considering conversion, or the parents of adopted children, to make an appointment with one of our clergy to discuss your personal journey and see how we might support your process.
We offer a Fundamentals of Judaism class every year and this class is an important opportunity to study in-depth with others considering conversion. The class and the process of conversion is based on “The Seven Circles” and includes:
- the study of Torah, the siddur (prayer book), and other sources;
- experiencing the Jewish calendar and the life-cycle events within our community and its families;
- journaling and doing personal reflection and writing of your discoveries, questions and challenges;
- and working with a sponsor who has been through their own conversation process.
Eventually, when both you and the clergy feel the time is right, the following steps are taken.
- Beit Din (House of Judgment) – FOR MEN AND WOMEN – The person will come before the Beit Din, an assembled group of three clergy forming a rabbinic court. Various questions will be asked of the person converting and a decision will be made, Hebrew name declared, and the person will be announced a Jew.
- Milah (Circumcision) – FOR MEN ONLY – For men who have been circumcised, there is a simple drawing of a drop of blood from the penis by a trained mohel, ritual circumciser. This ceremony is called hatafat dam brit, the drawing of the blood of the covenant. If a man has not yet been circumcised it is highly recommended, but not required, by our clergy that he undergo a medical circumcision. This surgery requires three to five days of recovery. If finances are an issue, the clergy will assist.
- Tevilah (Ritual Immersion) – FOR MEN AND WOMEN – The person will go to a mikvah, ritual bath house, immerse three or seven times in the mayyim hayyim, the living waters, and make a series of blessings so that one’s immersion is kosher, ritually fit and ready.
Following official conversion, often a person is called up to the Torah or honored during a Temple service so that our community can officially welcome and celebrate its newest member of our tribe.