These are the things that no one has probably thought to tell you about conversion in the Reform movement. You’ll be glad to know them. Believe me.
In conversion class, when you get to the page with the Thirteen Articles of Maimonides, do not get excited. Do not highlight them and think you have found the answer to what you need to know about Judaism. This is just one opinion of one man at one time in his life. Judaism does not lay things out in a neat list like this. Read more
Things you need to know about conversion in the Reform movement:
You will study with your rabbi for about a year. You may also take a conversion class with people from several different movements and synagogues. The rabbis from the various congregations may take turns leading these classes. It’s a good opportunity to discover and discuss the difference in observance by different movements.
There is a lot to read and think about. Some of the books will be about conversion. Some will be about Judaism. There will be Jewish history and also at least a bit of Hebrew.
The most widely spread and popular of all creeds is that of Maimonides, embracing the thirteen articles. Why he chose this particular number has been a subject of much discussion. Some have seen in the number a reference to the thirteen attributes of God. Probably no meaning attaches to the choice of the number. His articles are:
1. The existence of God;
2. His unity;
3. His spirituality;
4. His eternity;
5. God alone the object of worship;
6. Revelation through his prophets;
7. the preeminence of Moses among the Prophets;
8. God’s law given on Mount Sinai;
9. the immutability of the Torah as God’s Law;
10. God’s foreknowledge of men’s actions;
12. the coming of the Messiah;
This creed Maimonides wrote while still a very young man; it forms a part of his Mishnah Commentary, but he never referred to it in his later works (See S/ Adler, “Tenets of Faith and Their Authority in the Talmud,” in his “Kobez ‘al Yad,” p. 92, where Yad haHazakah, Issure Biah, xiv, 2, is referred to as proof that Maimonides in his advanced age regarded as fundamental of the faith only the unity of God and the prohibition of idolatry). It did not meet universal acceptance; but, as its phraseology is succinct, it has passed into the prayerbook, and is therefore familiar to almost all Jews of the Orthodox school.
I never intended to become Jewish. When I read the interfaith books that were available before my marriage and realized that many times they’d been written by women who had converted after years of marriage, I vowed I’d always maintain my identity. It wasn’t until years later that I began to understand what might have led those women to make the decision they had. Read more
This blog is for those of us who have chosen Judaism or are exploring ways in which Judaism will be a part of your life. After many years in an interfaith marriage, I chose to convert and discovered there is a lot to learn about Judaism. There is also a lot to learn about yourself – especially about yourself as a Jew. For me, once the decision to convert was made, I was calm and settled about it. Because of that, I was surprised to find I felt something was missing once I converted.
I mean, I stepped out of the mikvah with plenty of knowledge of what Jews do, but no real insight into what I would do as a Jew. What followed was a period of extended study and questioning, along with experimentation with different aspects of Judiasm. Ultimately I came to an appreciation of myself as a Jewish woman.
This category of this site has information for those who have wrestled with similar issues – or not. Please comment about your experiences and feel free to suggest topics for future posts.