On to more current events. I had phoned and emailed the Rabbi of the local congregation I had chosen to seek to join. I said that I been thinking about conversion for about 4 years now and had decided that now was the time.
I was in a very stable place in my life to start such a journey. Besides having accepted that yes, I could make the necessary dietary changes, my job and marriage were great and my daughter was now a bit over 15 months old.
It was though I was finally acknowledging that my current state of spiritual inertia was no longer sustainable. I could no longer resist the pull of this ancient religion that seemed to speak to me on a subconscious level. I felt that this was where I belonged, that a part of me had always yearned to return here.
Needless to say I relished the prospect of this journey of self-discovery and threw myself into reading. As part of the conversion process I would be expected to:
- Learn to read Hebrew (not as hard as you think!)
- Attend synagogue regularly (harder than you might think!)
- Become involved in Jewish community life
- Attend classes (at least a year)
- Read about Judaism (there is always a set reading list which varies greatly depending on your community)
- Read Torah (the most fundamental of Jewish texts)
- Show an evolving practical commitment to leading a Jewish life (not just kashrut)
Once this was achieved I was expected to go before the Beit Din (literally house of judgement) which is a council of 3 Rabbis who pass judgement on whether you are fit to join the community and become Jewish. Then you go to the mikveh, for men circumcision is also usually required depending on your congregation.
Not put off yet? Excellent. Now you can join me on my journey of exactly what this process will be like…