The State Rabbinic Court of Conversion

The Rabbinic Court of Conversion | Complete Info

State-Approved Conversion | The Process

1. Enrollment for a conversion class

Enrol for one of AMI's various conversion tracks - class group or personal.

2. Opening a conversion file

Two to three months after beginning studies, you come to the Rabbinic court of conversion to open your file.

3. Concluding interview

After finishing the course, you reach the conversion court sitting. The panel of judges consists of three rabbis. Remember, the Rabbinic judges are there for you!

4. The court sitting

After finishing the course, you reach the conversion court sitting. The panel of judges consists of three rabbis. Remember, the Rabbinic judges are there for you!

5. The moment after

Passed the conversion court? Congratulations - now what's left is circumcision (for males), dipping in the ritualarium ("Mikve") and marriage.

The Rabbinic courts of conversion around the country

7 Palyam st., floor 5, “The Phoenix” bldg. Can be reached on foot from Haifa Center Hashmona train station (a 10 min walk), by Metronit lines 1 or 2 and bus lines 16, 24, 112. For more instructions, check google maps or waze.

 waze  google maps

116 Menachem Begin st., floor 4, “Beit Kalka” bldg. Adjacent to Hashalom train station. The entrance is between the stores on the ground floor. For more instructions, check google maps or waze.

 waze  google maps

24 Kanfei Nesharim st., floor 1, “Hachevra Hakalkalit” bldg. Can be reached from the Jerusalem Central Bus Station with bus lines 54, 74, 75, 78. For more instructions, check google maps or waze.

waze  google maps

5 Hagefen st., floor 1. Adjacent to the Kiryat Gat Central Bus Station.

Stage 1| Opening a Conversion File

Opening a Conversion File | Time to discuss your challenges

Some two to three months after beginning studies, days for collective file-opening will be arranged for the class participants, and they will come to their first meeting with the Rabbinic court of conversion.

This meeting is an introduction, at which the panel of Rabbinic judges who will meet you at the end of the process have the opportunity to get to know you early on, and manage expectations. You will have the opportunity to get to know the rabbis, and reduce stress and fear levels. The meeting takes between 30-45 minutes. An appointment is made for each person. Please come to the court a little early. Be patient, sometimes there are delays. Respect the Rabbinic court and come suitably dressed: A kippa, shirt with sleeves and long trousers for men, a shirt with sleeves beyond the elbow and closed neckline and skirt below the knees for women.

This meeting is also an opportunity to arrange all bureaucratic affairs that enrolment for conversion entails. Below is a list of the documents you will need to bring to the first meeting at the court for opening a conversion file. Important!! It is advisable to keep a copy of all the documents you fill in and submit.

What documents should you bring?

It is important to check that on the ID there appears the legal status line – Israeli citizen or permanent resident. If you are not a citizen, go to the “non-citizens” information page.

Correct ID card photocopy – sample

Biometric ID card photocopy – sample

The document can be produced at your local Interior Ministry branch. On it appear personal details such as current and past addresses, current and previous partners, name changes etc.

To the Interior Ministry site for finding your local branch

This document can also be ordered over the internet, but it can take up to three weeks for it to reach you by mail.

To the Interior Ministry site for ordering the document

These photos will be part of your file throughout the process, and also on your conversion certificate – make sure that the photo is up to date and modest.

If a couple had a civil marriage before applying for conversion, they must bring the civil marriage certificate.

This proof is brought by anyone who wants to register for marriage in Israel.
If the parents married in Israel you need a copy of their marriage certificate and Ketubah. If your parents don’t have these documents you can acquire a copy of them in the Rabbinate they enlisted for marriage.

In a case the parents got married abroad you must go to the regional rabbinical court (not conversion court) to confirm your Judaism. “Shorashim” can help you with that.

Information on Judaism confirmation

If one of the partners was previously married by civil marriage, you must bring a divorce certificate from a lawyer or a law court (an original document).

Download the attached form and fill it in. The form may be filled in by computer or by hand (by computer is preferable).

Download “Request for Conversion” form

If a conversion candidate applied to the military Rabbinic court of conversion, the previous conversion file in the military must be closed in order for the civil Rabbinic court to deal with the conversion. Get in touch with the military Rabbinic court as soon as possible, by telephone or e-mail, and ask to close the file and receive confirmation of it by e-mail.

Tel: 073-3402299 e-mail: giyuridf@gmail.com

Partner's and children's documents

It is important to check that on the ID there appears the legal status line – Israeli citizen or permanent resident. If you are not a citizen, go to the “non-citizens” information page.

Correct ID card photocopy – sample

The document can be produced at your local Interior Ministry branch. On it appear personal details such as current and past addresses, current and previous partners, name changes etc.

To the Interior Ministry site for finding your local branch

This document can also be ordered over the internet, but it can take up to three weeks for it to reach you by mail.

To the Interior Ministry site for ordering the document

These photos will be part of the file throughout the process – make sure that the photo is up to date and modest.

A certificate of Judaism is something that every Jew who intends to get married in Israel must provide.

If the partner’s parents were married in Israel, bring their marriage certificate and Ketubah. Go to the Rabbinate of the city or town where they were married and have their date of marriage checked. Following an investigation in the archives, you will be given a copy of the two documents. Sometimes the parents have the original documents – it’s worth checking with them first.

If the parents were married outside Israel, go to your local Rabbinate for a procedure of investigation of Judaism, or to the “Shorashim” organization that deals with the subject.

Information on Judaism confirmationinvestigation of Judaism

If one of the partners was previously married by civil marriage, you must bring a divorce certificate from a lawyer or a law court (an original document). If the couple are married by civil marriage, they must bring the marriage certificate.

Certificate of parents’ agreement – signature of both parents required.

Certificate of religious conversion of a minor (parents’ agreement or court approval by the Family Court under Section 13 / A of the Legal Capacity and Guardianship). If one of the parents is not present, the form can be received from the Rabbinic court of conversion and filled in after the first meeting.

If any problem arises concerning parents’ agreement to converting children, we recommend calling our Individual Coordinator, Avishai Grosser at 058-7493234.

Looking for the Rabbinic court of conversion nearest to your home? Check here!

Stage 2 | Concluding Interview

Concluding interview | Time to learn about our progress

After a significant study period of between eight and ten months, you return to the conversion court for a concluding interview with the Rabbinic court emissary. The purpose of the meeting is to prepare the candidate for the final court sitting, to identify his stronger points and what needs improvement, and above all to encourage the candidate to continue the process in the best way possible.

If for some reason you could not submit all the necessary documents when opening the file, you must bring the missing documents to this meeting!

Details and tips for the concluding interview

  • The interview will be held eight to ten months after beginning studies
  • The interview will last approximately an hour (this differs from one court to another)
  • There is no necessity to bring additional documents - but do make sure that all the necessary documents (for the file-opening) reached the court.
  • Now too, it is very important to come as relaxed as possible, and even more important to sit down and write about your progress and difficulties - the interview is a very significant opportunity for problem-solving.

Stage 3 | The Conversion Court Sitting

The big moment has arrived

The big moment has arrived Finally we’re there. The ceremony of conversion that we’ve been preparing for all year long.

After studies and preparation at the conversion class, tours, Shabbatons, our accompanying family and above all practice of all we’ve studied at home, we arrive at the final stage of the process at the Rabbinic court of conversion.

The court sitting is an impressive and moving occasion, at which the candidate presents his progress throughout the process to the Rabbinic judges.

An appointment is made for each of the candidates for a sitting lasting approximately one hour. The sittings of all the students in a class are arranged collectively for a number of consecutive days. The class teachers are present throughout, assisting the students when necessary. It is advisable to invite your accompanying family to be with you for the final court sitting.

The structure of the sitting

At the given time (unless there are unplanned delays – which there always are) the Rabbinic judges assemble and read the file. In your file are the documents you have submitted, a summary of the file-opening and of the interview with the Rabbinic court emissary (the Area Coordinator), and letters of recommendation from teachers, the accompanying family and any other good people who helped you through the process.

After a few minutes, the teacher, accompanying family and candidate are called to the sitting. Often the teacher and/or the accompanying family are called in first, alone or together, and only then the conversion candidates enter.

Please note that the candidate is entitled to enter the sitting accompanied by his teacher or another escort.

During the sitting, the Rabbinic judges discuss with the candidate the various changes he has experienced during the process. They gain an impression of his Jewish lifestyle and habits – prayers and blessings, Shabbat and festivals, Kashrut and modesty – and also of his knowledge of Jewish history and heritage and the foundations of our faith.

Remember: the Rabbinic court wishes to convert you, but the rabbis must know that you have made the necessary progress, and meet the standards for conversion according to Jewish law!

Documents for the court sitting

  • Certificate of studies from the conversion institution
  • Written recommendation from the teacher
  • Recommendation from your synagogue
  • Recommendations from friends, workplace, family etc.

The court decision

Immediately after the court sitting, the court will remain alone and the Rabbinic judges will discuss the file and decide whether conversion is possible. Please note that the decision to convert the candidate must be unanimous – all the Rabbinic judges must be in agreement about it!

Most importantly – whatever the Rabbinic judges’ answer may be, continue your process until you succeed!

You passed! Mazal Tov - Congratulations!

The Rabbinical court is happy to announce that you have been accepted to the Nation of Israel. Excitement, tears of joy, hugs and kisses. You will now be asked to stand up and accept all the commandments upon yourself. The rabbis read out the formula, and you repeat it word for word:

"I accept upon myself to keep all the commandments of the Torah, all the Rabbinical commandments, and all the good customs of the nation of Israel, and I believe in one G-d."

Immediately after that, you announce: "Shma Yisrael A-donai E-lohainu A-donai Echad!" (Hear, O Israel, the L-rd is our G-d, the L-rd is one).

After accepting the commandments, appointments are made by the court secretary for circumcision or circumcision checking (males), registering for marriage (couples) and dipping in the Mikve (everyone).

You didn't pass... That's a pity -next time, with G-d's help

It's a pity... But remember, the Rabbinical court did not say you're no good, but that you need to progress a bit farther and please G-d, next time you'll pass. In any case, we will continue to be with you until you succeed - we recommend you get in touch with our Coordinator so he'll be able to advise you concerning your next steps. Court Coodinator | Rabbi Avishai Grosser 058-7493234 avishai@ami4u.org