Assistance Offered to the Non-Jew Wanting to Convert,
Already in the Process of Conversion, or Newly Jewish
Abraham – the first Jew – was not born Jewish. His father, Terach, was an idol worshiper. In fact, Terach owned a store where he sold a variety of idols to all those who believed in the “higher forces” and “higher powers” of stones, wood, metal and other earthy material – and their ability to answer all one’s prayers!
Abraham did not follow his father’s ways! While a young boy, Abraham once looked outside, standing in wonder at the beauty of creation. He thought to himself that creation is far to big to have just existed for always, There must surely be a G-d. He thought that the sun must be G-d because it gave light to the world. But he noticed how the sun gave way to the moon at night and thought that the moon must be God. The next day, he noticed that yet again – the sun took control of the world, and he began to realise that there surely must be Someone in charge of creation – someone orchestrating all of the events happening everywhere. It was then that Abraham awoke to believing in the One G-d Who created the heaven and the earth.
Converts tend to go through a similar process in their search for the One G-d (and to an extent Baalei Teshuva – those Jews returning to their original roots – go through as well.) Every person is entitled to find his way to G-d, to pray to Him and to learn from His teachings. Even though he is not born a Jew – and a direct descendant of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, he may too behave in the same way as Abraham did, by investigating and inquiring about the One G-d until he feels satisfied enough in his belief that this world has only one G-d who rules it.
The Torah does not instruct a Jew to convert those who belong to another religion. It is not considered a Mitzvah by any means. While many religions practise the belief that one must do everything to convert others to one’s religion, Judaism shies away from this. There are commandments given to all the world (see The 7 Mitzvot of Bnei Noach for more info) and there is no need for every person in the world to be Jewish.
Judaism does however share some beautiful teachings about the person who comes from another way of life and embraces Judaism as their new way of living. The Jew finds himself surrounded by commandments that instruct him to be careful with one’s behaviour towards the orphan and the widow. It also instructs him regarding his behaviour to be sensitive to the convert (see Deuteronomy 10:19.)
Any person who feels strongly enough that Judaism is the way of life that he wishes to follow is welcome to learn more about the Jewish religion with a view to converting. The process to convert is by no means an easy one however, and is filled with many challenges. It’s important that if one is going to convert, that one be prepared to accept all of Torah, and because of this, many will be dissuaded from converting. Those who really do want to convert will embark on a proper program with an accepted orthodox rabbi and Beit Din (Rabbinical Court) to complete the process. Taking any other route not accepted by mainstream Judaism will in fact result in further complications down the line – sometimes mistakes that can cause tremendous heartache for the next generation.
Those converting may often find the process a lonely one and may not know where to turn when they find themselves with much material to cover and perhaps not enough support to help them through it.
Chessed Ve’Emet provides additional support in the form of teaching the necessary material as well as guiding those wishing to convert as they work through the process fully. Lessons are given using Skype with webcam and we are happy to work through the material most suited and needed to be learnt at the time.
We offer this service only to those who are already part of an accepted program and who can provide a letter stating that they are indeed part of the program. The guiding rabbi must be aware that the additional lessons are being given and everything is done with the cooperation of the rabbi involved in the conversion process.
For those wishing to gain further clarity about where the Jewish religion stands in contrast to the obligations of the non-Jew, see For the Non-Jew for more info – where we can offer another approach to assisting you understand more about an appropriate spiritual path in life.
If you are serious about converting and in need of assistance along your new path, please contact us today so that we may be able to offer you the support you need.
Types of material we cover together include:
- Laws of Family Purity (Lessons for those preparing for marriage) both for men and for women
- Laws of Shabbat
- Laws of Kashrut
- Laws for the Festivals
- Laws of Tefillin and Tzitzit (for men)
- Laws of Prayer
- Hebrew Reading
- General Spiritual Growth
WHO IS A JEW?
Did you know? A Jew is a Jew if his/her mother is Jewish. If her mother is/was Jewish – she is Jewish – even if G-d forbid she chooses to deny her Jewish roots and brings up her children as non-Jews. If she herself was brought up as a non-Jew by her mother – who was actually Jewish, then she would be Jewish in any case – and so would her children!
As a result of this, many people do not even realise that they may be Jewish. It is only when they begin to find our more about their family trees, that they see that their great-great-grandmother was Jewish – but they may think that it was only her that was Jewish – but not that they are. If however, their great-grandmother was her daughter, and their grandmother was her daughter, and their mother was her daughter – then that would make them Jewish, even if for three generations, nobody in the family acknowledged or practised Judaism!
If you are not Jewish, but have often felt inclined towards conversion – do check out your lineage. It is vital to know in the first instance if in fact you actually are Jewish! When consulting with a rabbi, it is vital to know more about your family tree so that he can see whether you may in fact be Jewish already!
Indeed, there are many Jews who live their lives as non-Jews, never realising that being a Jew stems from the mother’s side all the way up on the family tree.