Your decision to enter the conversion process is perhaps one of the most significant decisions a person makes in life. When buying clothes, you may incounter a dillema: What will I look like with this outfit or with a different one. But all these dillemas are really just about one’s outside appearance: if I don’t like one outfit, I can change it for another. The conversion process, on the other hand, deals with your identity, along with those of your children and grandchildren for generations to come.
Since this is a significant decision, it must be done in the wake of a major process of thorough study of Judaism.
Study that will allow you to recognize the remarkable history of this nation, which despite its small numerical size, has had a profound impact on all of humanity. A nation which has managed to survive for thousands of years, despite living outside its home country and scattered throughout the world, and despite the attempts of the strongest of the great powers in history, to destroy this people, physically and spiritually. Despite all this, Am Yisrael remains alive, has returned home and in a very short period of time, built a modern state and is dominant throughout the world. There is no nation in the world with such a history.
Jewish studies also let you get to know Jewish philosophy and the Jewish mandatory code of conduct (mitzvot). It’s important to know that there is a direct relationship between the keeping of mitzvot and Am Yisrael’s survival in the past and continued success in the future.
It is important to be well versed in both the theoretical and practical aspects, as well as actual practice. This is the prerequisite to be successfully integrated into the Am Yisrael at the end of the process.
Integration among Am Yisrael is a great privilege but which also comes with many obligations. You need to know this and decide if being Jewish is really for you.
With all this, we are conscious of your will and objective needs, to accelerate this process as much as possible.
Therefore with our training department consisting of professionals with a rich religious background and extensive experience in preparing converts, we built a curriculum that combines two things: on the one hand a comprehensive program which encompasses many areas of Judaism, yet on the other hand does it very briefly.
This does not mean that at the end of the conversion program you will be experts in Judaism; this is only an initial acquaintance, it must continue throughout ones lifetime. Hillel the elder said: Learn first the basics, then delve deeply and understand well.
Understanding the Conversion track
Phase I – theoretical study
Objective: Provide basic knowledge of Judaism; help learners to successfully deal with testing in the conversion court; train for life as a Jewish family.
Learning framework: participation in a class; a year-long conversion learning program, each week two sessions of four academic hours (45 minutes).
At the end of each subject will be an examination. This makes sure the subject is understood and the students have mastered the materials to succeed in the future.
First quarter – Introductions, a foretaste on all the subjects, and blessings
Second quarter – Prayer, Jewish faith
Third quarter – The synagogue, ritual objects, the Sabbath
Fourth quarter – Kashrut, Jewish life circle
Holidays will be taught according to the calendar, each in its time.
The assigned kit of Ami’s curriculum is designed to help you summarize the extensive material learned during the course. It is divided according to the core subjects and is accompanied by pages of summaries and references to help you organize the material as an instruction plan.
Each student receives an elegant binder in which to place the pages distributed in class that summarize the material.
In addition to the kit, students are also availed to the Ami student website, where they can find the lesson summaries, educational links and much material of considerable help.
Beyond classroom study with the teacher, it is important to review, modify, and add more and more at home. The true path to success is a combination of continuous study and the practice of life as a Jew.
Phase II – Practice
In Jewish studies, as in learning to drive, for example, it is not enough to study. One needs to practice and “hit the road” of Jewish life.
The idea is for each convert to be in contact with an accompyning Jewish family, to help get acquainted with Jewish practice and explain things that are not clear to him. The family will serve as an address for friendly questions and dealing with difficulties, to guide and make easier the convert’s encounter with the world of Judaism.
This course is also a requirement of the conversion court, which wants to see if the candidate for conversion has the interest and practical tools to apply his theoretical knowledge, and is able to live as a Jew after conversion.
Lessons are also designed for meetings, at various stages, in places that demonstrate the practice of material learned. For example: a synagogue, a Jewish kitchen, etc.
The second stage will also integrate with the first, but gradually. That is, the initial exposure to the practice does not begin immediately with the beginning of the program. Rather, it will start in a minor way and increase gradually.
Gradual progress also considers the needs of the convert, who is going through a major change in his life and should proceed at an appropriate pace to avoid information or emotional overload.