Conversion to Judaism at Emanuel
Emanuel Synagogue welcomes all those who wish to explore what it means to live as a Jew – learning about our faith, vision and values; our spiritual practices, history, culture, traditions, values, festivals, connection with the land of Israel, and the Hebrew language.
The Process of Conversion
To be a Jew means to belong to a faith people. Conversion to Judaism therefore is not just a matter of accepting faith or a belief in God, it means also joining the Jewish people. As such, it is important to understand and know our history and heritage, values and ethics, practices and observance.
To help guide your learning, you will participate in our introductory course Darkeinu. It meets once a week and during the course you will learn about Jewish theology, philosophy, history and practice. There are also a number of day-long seminars which provide an intensive look at a number of topics.
The course is over four terms and you can join at the beginning of any one of the four terms.
If you have a partner, even if they are Jewish, we ask they attend the classes with you and that you take this journey together.
You will also be required to learn to read Hebrew. We have classes you may choose to take and we highly recommend them. Hebrew reading is the key to unlocking the prayers and texts of Judaism and as such, is an important part of your learning
Conversion to Judaism is a personal journey but it is not undertaken alone. Becoming part of the community and congregation, celebrating and observing the cycle of the Jewish calendar, from weekly observances to festivals, is an important part of conversion.
Feeling the connection to and support of community is central to Jewish practice and we want each of you to feel that special bond. As such, we ask that you attend services, and we have a variety of styles of prayer from which to choose, become part of synagogue life, as well as connect with and support the congregation through membership.
Each person who enters our conversion programme will choose a mentoring rabbi.
You will meet regularly with that rabbi who will guide you and be a source of information and inspiration for you. It is a more personal way to learn about Judaism and to have the opportunity for further discussion, learning and questions.
All people who wish to convert through our synagogue must join the synagogue and attend at least one year of Darkeinu classes (four terms). During that time, you will meet with your sponsoring rabbi, become involved in the life of the synagogue and introduce practices into your home and life
When you and your sponsoring rabbi feel you are ready, you will be invited to take two tests: one take-home and one in class.
Once they are completed, an appointment will be made for you to attend the beit din who will have a conversation with you about your journey and experiences and they will confirm your commitment to Judaism and our people, as well as invite you to read a previously unseen passage of Hebrew.
Once the beit din has affirmed your conversion, you will be required to have a mikvah (ritual immersion)
For men, circumcision is required and you can discuss that further with your sponsoring rabbi. For men who are already circumcised, there is the ritual of hatafat dam brit, which will also be discussed between you and your sponsoring rabbi.
Following the beit din and ritual requirements, we will mark the moment with a naming ceremony, celebrating you and your conversion to Judaism.
There are three forms to be completed before you can commence in the programme.
To receive electronic copies of these forms please contact our office firstname.lastname@example.org or 8322 1966 to ask for them to be sent to you. Below is a description of the required forms.
We require all new members to complete the security screening form and return it to the office together with the required supporting documentation (i.e. copies of driver’s licence, passport and two character references).
The screening can take around 4 weeks to process and we’ll notify you of the outcome so that we can welcome you to services, events and classes. There is no fee to process the security screening.
We require all conversion students (and their partners, if applicable) to join the Synagogue as members. This is so you can be informed of all of our events, including discounted ticket prices and feel part of a welcoming community. Please see the last page of the application form for the various fee levels.
Conversion Fee and Application
We require all conversion students to complete an enrolment form. The fee to join our conversion program is $1500 that can be paid by including your credit card details on the enrolment form. Alternatively, you can authorise for us to deduct this amount with your membership fee payment (if applicable); call the Synagogue Office to pay over the phone with a credit card; or by direct deposit into: Emanuel Synagogue, BSB: 062-198, Account Number: 1067 7810.
Meeting a Rabbi
Also, it is important to arrange an appointment with one of the rabbis prior to joining the programme. To make an appointment contact Sarah or if you have an existing relationship or connection with one of the other rabbis, you can be in touch with them.
Upon completion of our requirements, you will be considered Jewish by all non-Orthodox Jewish movements including Masorti, Progressive and Renewal streams. We believe our conversions follow the requirements of halacha (Jewish Law) but the Orthodox rabbinate does not accept our authority and therefore they do not accept our conversions.
If the person converting is a woman, this is true for her children as well. Our converts cannot be married in an Orthodox synagogue or receive honours there and they may not attend an Orthodox Jewish Day School.
Our converts are accepted as Jews by the State of Israel for the purposes of the Law of Return and all secular laws, but not for matters exclusively under the auspices of the Orthodox rabbinate such as marriage.
If you are considering conversion, you may wish to speak with an Orthodox rabbi in addition to our rabbis, just to ensure that you are fully aware of their position and perspective. If you have concerns or questions, we would be happy to discuss them fully with you.
Darkeinu: Introduction To Judaism
Our Darkeinu programme is designed to be an introduction to Judaism. During the course you will learn about Jewish theology, philosophy, history and practice. We consider faith, culture, traditions and values, as well as festivals and connection with the Land of Israel.
The class meets once a week during term times and includes a number of day-long seminars and you can join the course at the beginning of any of the four terms during the year. Darkeinu is taught by our rabbinic team in lessons which are engaging and interactive.
To register or to find out more information about Darkeinu, contact Sarah Vasin.