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Why should I choose an orthodox conversion?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg


Library » Jewish Identity » Conversion | Subscribe | What is RSS?


Conversion is much more than acceptance of a certain belief or way of life. A real conversion is actually a "soul transfusion." Upon immersing in the Mikvah, the convert is given a new "Jewish soul" in addition to the standard soul shared by all humans.

Only G-d has the ability to grant someone a new soul -- and He informed Moses the exact procedure a person must undergo to merit this special present. This conversion process was relayed by Moses to his disciples, who relayed it to their disciples, until this process was put on paper in the Mishnah, Talmud, and Code of Jewish Law.

The conversion process consists of several steps:

1. Acceptance of ALL the Mitzvahs of the Torah, as perscribed in Halachah.

2. Circumcision (for males).

3. Immersion in a Kosher Mikvah.

[4. In the times of the Temple in Jerusalem, it was also necessary for a convert to bring a sacrifice.]

Any conversion which does not conform to the abovementioned standards is invalid. And currently, only the Orthodox movement adheres to those standards.

See also


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Posted by: Gail Haase, Cedartown, Ga on Feb 23, 2005

My mom converted Consertive before her & my dad got married. She went to classes and had a Mikvah. But people on this website told me she's not Jewish. That means neither are my siser, briother or I.

My mom made sure we went to the temple when she wasn't working. When we were toddlers took as to Shabbot classes on fri. mornings at the temple my great Uncle went to. It was mom not dad who made sure we were in a consertive temple for the high holidays even though she didn't know a word of Hebrew. Mom made sure we kept passover. Mom wanted us girls to have a Bat Mitzvah but dad said no. Mom is the one who made sure that my brother went for his hebrew lessons taking him by bus or walking if she didn't have bus money. My dad who I love alot didn't. But she's not Jewish because she didn't convert Orthodox.I don't understand it. My mom was more religious then my dad was. So why isn't she Jewish? None of the makes any since to me now. Mom won't let us not fellow the holidays.

Editor's Comment

I understand your frustration and feel your pain. The confusion in this issue arises because we often confuse being religious with being Jewish. After all, in every other religion being religious is what makes you part of that religion. However, this is not the case with Judaism. Jews as a People existed before the religion of Judaism, thus the practice of Judaism doesn't make you Jewish; rather being Jewish obligates you to practice Judaism. It is clear that your mother was guided, and guided you, towards observance of Judaism, but unfortunately, and to no fault of her own, no one guided her to the proper path of becoming Jewish. See Are Jews a race?


Posted by: Anonymous on Mar 23, 2005


I have two tattoos (one on my back and one on my thigh). I'm going to get them lasered off when I'm financially stable. I would like to know will the Orthodox court convert me if I have tattoos or would they make me wait until I get them lasered off?

Editor's Comment

I don't believe the tattoos will be a cause to delay your conversion.


Posted by: Anonymous, Sacramento, Ca on May 13, 2007

If a potential convert does not live anywhere near an Orthodox shul but does live in walking distance from a Reform or Conservative, will the conversion be valid provided the potential convert follows Halacha completely?

Editor's Comment

Once the Torah establishes what is required for a conversion, circumstances or convenience don't change that. In other words, when adjustment is required, the law is not adjusted; rather the prospective convert has to adjust his location through a move or frequent travel. This is true in all areas of Judaism. We need to adjust to the Torah; it doesn't adjust to us.
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Usually referring to the Babylonian edition, it is a compilation of Rabbinic law, commentary and analysis compiled over a 600 year period (200 BCE - 427 CE). Talmudic verse serves as the bedrock of all classic and modern-day Torah-Jewish literature.
Jewish Law. All halachah which is applicable today is found in the Code of Jewish Law.
Literally means "fit." Commonly used to describe foods which are permitted by Jewish dietary laws, but is also used to describe religious articles (such as a Torah scroll or Sukkah) which meet the requirements of Jewish law.
A ritual bath where one immerses to become spiritually pure. After her menstrual cycle, a woman must immerse in the Mikvah before resuming marital relations.
[Hebrew pronunciation: Moshe] Greatest prophet to ever live. Led the Jews out of Egyptian bondage amidst awesome miracles; brought down the Tablets from Mount Sinai; and transmitted to us word-for-word the Torah he heard from G-d's mouth. Died in the year 1272 BCE.
Established by King David to be the eternal capital of Israel. Both Temples were built there, and the third Temple will be situated there when the Messiah comes.
First written rendition of the Oral Law which G-d spoke to Moses. Rabbi Judah the Prince compiled the Mishna in the 2nd century lest the Oral law be forgotten due to the hardships of the Jewish exiles.
1. Usually a reference to the Holy Temple which was/will be situated in Jerusalem. 1st Temple was built in 825 BCE and was destroyed in 423 BCE. The 2nd Temple was built in 350 BCE and was destroyed in 70 CE. The 3rd Temple will be built by the Messiah. 2. A synagogue.
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.