We welcome people interested in converting to Judaism with openness, sensitivity and care. We strive to honor the unique process of conversion for each individual, even as we hope to welcome you into our community.
Before beginning the process, it is important to consider the type of spiritual home that may be right for you. This will likely involve visiting a several different Jewish congregations and speaking with a number of rabbis. One of the gifts of living in New York City is that there is a wide variety of Jewish expression at your fingertips. Rabbi Carter is available to help you as you think through this process.
Conversion candidates need to engage in a serious study of Judaism. This should include the Brooklyn Brownstone community's Introduction to Judaism course, or the equivalent, as well as individual learning with the Rabbi. Rabbi Carter can guide you in this process. An important part of this period of intensive learning does not just occur in a classroom or even a rabbi’s study. We also want our conversion candidates to participate in Jewish communal and Jewish home life. The only way to really understand Judaism and Jewish life is to experience it! Throughout the conversion process, candidates will meet with Rabbi Carter to process the emotions and spiritual growth that are part of this journey of identity with Judaism and the Jewish people.
While for many, conversion takes about a year, there is no exact time-line for this process, as it is quite personal and unique for each candidate. When the rabbi and conversion candidate agree that the time of conversion is approaching, the candidate will respond to a series of essay questions, select a Hebrew name, and prepare to sit before a Beit Din (Jewish court). The Beit Din consists of three rabbis who will speak with the candidate about the candidate’s spiritual journey and their commitment to living a Jewish life in the future.
The final step in the conversion process is immersion in the mikvah (a body of “living water”). Most people find this step to be extremely spiritual and moving. Prior to immersion in the mikvah, men must be circumcised or undergo “hatafat dam Brit” (drawing a drop of the blood of the covenant). Finally, we invite all people who have completed the conversion process to celebrate their new Jewish identity by coming up to the Torah on Shabbat, taking an aliyah, receiving a blessing, and celebrating with the community as a whole.