Conversion process | General questions
Conversion is a personal process, and depends on the converting student’s progress. Ten to twelve months, is ideally the right amount of time for the studying part, in which the convert experiences the Jewish holidays, and covers the academic and practical sides of Judaism. After finishing all the material, and when both the teacher and student feel that the material has been well covered and learnt well, the decision is made to turn to the conversion courts. Then a reprisentitive of the court decides if the student is ready and a date is set for the actual conversion.
Our conversion is strictly Orthodox. The only conversion recognized in the country by state institutions and authorities is an Orthodox conversion. All the teachers in Ami Conversion Ulpan are Orthodox teachers who studied in Yeshivot Hesder through the Religious Zionist approach and are graduates of Yeshivas and Seminaries. The judges of the court all come from a similar background and worldview. This way you can be sure you won’t learn items of the non-orthodox which may cause you to fail in the court. We are students of Rabbi Chaim Druckman Shlita, the former head of the conversion system and Head of Ami Conversion Ulpan, and we keep strictly to his rulings.
There are several organizations that offer studies to prepare for conversion. “Ami, a Personal Conversion Ulpan” is the largest, most professional, and the organization which offers a variety of programs. Starting with the personal program of learning one on one, meetings in small groups, and classrooms spread out all over the country. The inclusion of a computerized system for distance learning, along with our unique curriculum, represent a significant innovation in the Conversion Studios, and makes us the leading body. Thousands of our students have succeeded in court in significant percentages. Ask them.
No, that’s not true. Israel considers converting ‘a national mission’ and so there are funds allocated for schooling. Government budgets do not cover all the expenses, so we depend also on the donations of individuals, and of course the participation of the students themselves. Student participation varies between the different learning tracks, and obviously the personal track will be more expensive that the those who learn in class, who only pay a mere symbolic sum.
The conversion process is the process of building a Jewish home and a life together. A couple who plan to marry, and those already living as a married couple, the process is a cornerstone for building the house together. The role of the Jewish spouse (if one’s spouse is Jewish) is to accompany and support his partner convert. Also a special conversion court wants to get the impression that you are able to have a Jewish life. Its Hardly possible to make good progress without the support of a spouse, before and after. Therefore, the Court requires that your partner should also take an active role in the studies.
Conversion process | Rabbinic Court
It’s fine. Opening a file in the special conversion court is a formal process which simply registers you in the courts’ database. Most students open the file in court all together about two months into their studies. If the file has already been opened, there is no problem. We are in contact daily with the court system, and the file you opened will accompany you through the process, so you do not have to reopen.
It should be emphasized that the teachers in the conversion course prepare the participants of the course to be able to pass the tests of the court, nevertheless sometimes the candidates are not able to make he needed changes in their lives in a short period opf time. Often the court is impressed at the first hearing and confirms the conversion, and sometimes their approval is subject to a condition which they check on at a hearing at a later date. Just like when getting a driver’s license, not all pass on the first test, but those who want to get their license keep trying until they succeed. We are committed to help and support you through the process, as required and according to your will, to success.
Conversion process | Special questions
The Interior Ministry does not allow anyone who is not an Israeli citizen to convert in this country. There are several options to convert those who are not citizens. You may contact the commission for foreign nationals in the Interior Ministry. Other materials can be read here. In any case we recommend contacting us to examine the possibilities and further exploration of available options.
You can always continue. Unfortunately, there are those who find themselves in a situation where they started the process, but not always finish for various reasons. In general, we emphasize that we see importance in a student’s persistence. A student who previously started but has not finished learning, can undergo an interview, which will determine the level of knowledge and progress in the process. The “Ami, Personal Conversion Ulpan” have special programs for those with significant background, who just need to align with the expected level for the hearing at the court. If your past studies have brought you to a certain level, we can tailor a program for you to fill in what’s needed.
There are no shortcuts, and you don’t need any. Your previous studies were part of the way and you can continue where you left off. At the first meeting, we’ll get an impression of your level and progression, and we’ll adjust the course for you.
Finding out suddenly is not simple and can be emotionally difficult. We encourage you to call and consult us about the various options we offer to suit your needs and get through the process. Obviously, some of the decisions (e.g. whether to postpone the wedding, etc.) you will have to make alone. We will try to listen and help you analyze the situation. Conversion process requires the couple’s decision that cannot be made from a hysterical and a complex emotional state. It’s important for us that you know there are solutions, but they are not magic solutions or ‘quickies’.
The conversion process requires a certain level of free time. We are aware of the fact that many of our students work most of the day just to provide for living costs. Therefore, we take great pains and efforts to take this into account and be flexible, as long as it does not hurt the pace and level of preparation of the student.
Children who are under the age of bar/bat mitzvah (13 or 12 years old) are converted with the decision of the parents. So if the daughter or son are young, they are converted to Judaism together with their parents, but will not have to go through the curriculum that the parents have to go through. After the conversion of the parents, the children will be circumsized and immersion together with the parents. It is important to emphasize that the court wants to get the impression that the father and mother educate their children according to Judaism and therefore expects the parents to register them in religious schools.
The conversion process is the process of building a Jewish home and a life together. A couple who plan to marry, and for those already living as a married couple, the process is a cornerstone for building the house together. The role of the Jewish spouse (if ones’ spouse is Jewish) is to accompany and support his or her converting partner. In addition the special conversion court wants to get the impression that you are able to have a Jewish life together. It is hardly possible to make good progress without the support of a spouse, before and after. It is important not to give up because of it. If you want to get advice, we will be happy to help you out.
Conversion process | More questions
No. One cannot continue to believe in another religion and at the same time in Judaism.
In the Jewish communities abroad whose courts are accepted by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, in most cases, the process is longer. If you are about to undergo a process of conversion in a Jewish community outside Israel, it is very important to check that the court is approved by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, and meets the criteria of the rabbinate in Israel.
Besides learning theoretical and practical learning, conversion studies include experiencing Judaism on a personal level by connection with an observant family. The role of an accompanying family is important, because it presents a Jewish in-house practical experience, which is the only way to really get a sense of everyday Jewish life. Judges of the special court for conversion, want to get the impression that not only has the student progressed in his studies theoretically, but has also seen it in practical aspects, which is only possible with an accompanying family. In addition, the accompanying family can also give the court a wider picture of the converts’ progress.
Reform conversion is not recognized in Israel. We in “Ami, a Personal Conversion Ulpan” have the perception that the Orthodox way is the way that unites, is legal by Jewish law and correct.