Making conversion seem acceptable can be a huge challenge. This section is dedicated to programs designed to help make conversion an attractive option.
Check out these fantastic programs below:
Programs designed to reach out to a Jewish member and a non-Jewish spouse
Commitment and Recommitment: Conversion as a Commitment for Both Convert and Jewish Partner, Temple Ahavat Shalom, Northridge, California
Description: Too often Jews-by-choice lament the lack ofJewish involvement or interest by their born-Jewish partners. Our rabbis strongly support the UAHC's encouragement that couples attend the "Introduction to Judaism" course together. As an extension of this principle, the rabbi meets with the couple together several times over the period ofpreparation for conversion. These meetings are intended to heighten the couple's recognition that a healthy Jewish home life requires a committed, active partnership between them and that Judaism can now become a vital, positive part of their relationship, something that knits their lives together, rather than divides them. These meetings also provide an opportunity for the couple to talk through any problems, disagree and mention anxieties they may have about sharing Jewish life in their home, as well as with their extended families and friends.
Conversion Seminar and Havdalah Service, Beth El Hebrew Congregation, Alexandria, VA
Description: An initial, informational meeting for people considering conversion (and their partners) consisting of dinner, followed by a talk explaining the conversion process, a brieftalk about the issues that can arise in a relationship between a born Jew and a Jew-by-choice, a frank and open question and answer period, ending with a creative Havdalah service.
Partners on the Path, Congregation Emeth Gilroy CA
Description: A 4-session group specifically for Jews whose partners are exploring conversion to Judaism.
Keruv Program: Integrating Conversion Candidates, Jews-by-Choice and Interfaith Couples into Temple Life Temple Beth-El, San Antonio, TX
Description: Temple Beth-El Keruv Program provides activities and learning opporttmities for Jews-by-choice and interfaith couples; and builds bridges between these groups and the general temple membership. Activities are geared largely towards students in the temple's Introduction to Judaism class. a 15-week class taught each spring and fall by our rabbis, and a requirement for conversion.
Community wide programs that encourage conversion
Jewish Journeys Shir Ha-Ma'alot Irvine, CA 92612
Description: Each month, a different congregant is invited to share his/her Jewish journey with the congregation. Each person's path through the waters of Judaism is unique and a story unto itself. From the experiences of Jews-by-choice to born Jews,this column shares the varied and many paths to and through Judaism.
Merkin Interfaith Institute, Temple Beth El Charlotte, NC
Temple Beth El Interfaith and Outreach Programs Philosophy, Mission, Goals and Programs
In response to the large number of non-Jewish members of our congregation, the Merkin Outreach Institute was created to enhance the work of our Interfaith and Outreach committee.
“Bridges: Understanding Judaism by exploring the spectrum of religious paths to faith & their reflections on Jewish Being” Lachmont Temple, NY
Outreach is dedicated to meeting the needs of interfaith families at Larchmont Temple and reaching out to share experiences and ideas with non-Jewish congregations in our Larchmont/Mamaroneck community. Our programming not only provides opportunities to learn more about Judaism and other world religions, but also to meet other members of the temple, including other interfaith families. We hope that you will join us this year as we seek to reach Up, In and Out.
A Naomi for Every Ruth Temple Israel Bloomfield, MI
Description: An educational/support/discussion group meeting monthly for two hours session in the relaxed and confidential setting of the committee chair's home. The first hour, instructed by a rabbi or Jewish educator, is strictly educational, covering topics on the syllabus. The second hour, facilitated by the committee chair-person(s) encourages group members to share their own stories about Jewish experiences, and openly discuss issues and concerns in a supportive environment.
From Generation to Generation: Congregational Interfaith Responsa Temple Emanuel of Tempe Tempe, AZ
Bi-ief Description: Our goal was to create a program that could be used as a sample program for the region's project, L'Dor V'Dor. We formed a committee called Generation to Generation to design and oversee programs that meet the needs of the parents and grandparents whose families are affected by interfaith marriages. The program that we created was inspired by "Dear Abby" and involved publishing questions and responsa in our Temple Emanuel Bulletin on interfaith issues affecting the congregants of Temple Emanuel. The difference between our column and Dear Abby is that the answers are submitted by congregants and edited by our committee. (Please see attached bulletin articles.) We selected is project model rather than a traditional class or one time event in order to reach the entire congregation via the bulletin.
The Many Voices of Conversion Temple Jeremiah Northfield, IL
Description: A panel representing four perspectives on Reform Jewish conversion, the rabbi's explanation of the history and essentials of conversion, audience Q&A, and Havdalah.
Program Goa!s: To debunk conversion myths, to present real-life stories from varied perspectives, and to open a dialogue on Judaism's most misunderstood life-cycle event.
Conversion to Judaism Brochure, Temple Israel of Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA
Description: Conversion brochure is sent to every potential member and put out in the lobby for anyone who is interested to take.
A Book of Welcome, Congregation Beth David, San Luis Obispo, CA
Description: This is a book of welcome which contains: a letter of greeting, a prayer, good food recipes for the Jewish holidays and personal stories about the recipes.
Goal: To make a warm connection between the congregation and our newest Jewish souls. To build a bridge of support and friendship with new Jews-by-Choice.
Funny, You Don't Look Jewish, Temple Sinai, Oakland, CA
Description: A panel was formed of Jews who didn’t look stereotypically Jewish.
Goal: Our desire was to help our community recognize the various “looks” of American Jews today. Children of interfaith couples, Jews-by-choice, and Jews of non- Ashkenazic background are often stigmatized for not looking “Jewish.” We wanted to encourage our community to see beyond appearances.
Am I Jewish Yet? -- A Discussion On Conversion, Temple Sinai, Oakland, CA
Description: The format of the program consisted of a panel of three Jews-by-choice (who have been Jewish for 10 to 20 years) speaking about the growth of their Jewish identity.
Goal: Our goal was to provide Jews-by-choice with an opportunity to discuss the evolution of their Jewish identity and the various ways that identity can develop and deepen. The dialogue also permitted those considering conversion and those who had recently converted to discuss and understand that Jewish identity is a process. We wanted to show that conversion is a journey, not an event.
Introduction to Judaism for Everyone, Temple Beth-El, San Antonio, TX
Description: In the spring of 2001, Temple Beth-El made a simple but significant change to our conversion program by offering our Introduction to Judaism course, the 15-week course required for conversion, as “Religious School for Adults” on Sunday morning during religious school for children. This change has injected new vitality and excitement into what was already a very successful conversion program, and may easily be replicated by other congregations.