Conversion to Judaism is a serious decision that completely changes a person’s life. According to traditional Jewish law a Jew is someone who has a Jewish mother or has undergone conversion to Judaism. As long as there have been Jews there have been people converting to Judaism. In the book of Bereshit (12:5) the Torah mentions that Avraham and Sarah, the first Jews, converted people before they traveled to the land of Canaan. All over the world there are many different kind of people who undertake the process of Giur. Some have Jewish parents or grandparents, others have no Jewish ancestry at all, all share a belief in one G!d and a desire to be part of the Nation of Israel.
Conversion is on the one hand remarkably simple, one has to accept and endeavor to achieve the obligations of Jewish law and tradition. On the other hand it is quite complex because one has to understand and experience the obligations before they can be accepted. One has to first live an observant Jewish life before one can convert, otherwise they won’t understand what they are being obligated to.
The Nozyk Synagogue
Learning and assimilating the minutiae of Jewish life often takes years. A student for conversion is expected to attend the four classes we offer each week, as well as attending prayers on Shabbat and holidays. Further initiative must be taken on the part of the student as well whether it is Learning Hebrew language, learning online additional Tora studies, traveling to Israel or taking parts in the various Jewish activities offered in Warsaw.
The preparations for Giur will take at least two years, though this is highly dependent on the amount of time and effort the candidate is willing to invest. A general curriculum of material that must be mastered and integrated into daily life includes: Shabbat, Kashrut, prayer, blessings, the Jewish holiday cycle, the Jewish life cycle, Jewish ethics and more. The candidate must master basic Hebrew in order to properly read the prayer book and understand the basic text. Finally as converting is joining the Jewish people a potential convert has to make a place for themselves within the local and world Jewish community.
We do not convert people in Warsaw, rather we prepare people to go before a Rabbinical court – Beit Din. The Beit Din meets with the Giur candidate and tests them to see if they are fully prepared to become a Jew. When the Beit Din is satisfied with the candidates preparation they then finish the process of conversion. We work with a number of different Rabbinical courts, most often in England or Israel. After conversion one becomes a candidate for membership in the Jewish Community of Warsaw and immigration to Israel. There is no charge for the education and preparation here in Warsaw, though each student needs to pay for their own learning materials and items for ritual observance. Each Beit Din charges for the various administrative cost and of course the candidate has to pay for their own travel, board and lodging.
The process of conversion at the Nozyk synagogue begins with a meeting and interview with one of our Rabbis. If you are interested please send an email titled: Conversion to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Ec Chaim Synagogue
In the Ec Chaim Synagogue there is a procedure for the conversion to Judaism, which is in line with the policy of the Council of Rabbis of Progressive Israel (MARAM) and the General Conference of Rabbis of Germany (ARK). The curriculum lasts at least a full Jewish year and contains the main topics of Judaism – the history of the people of Israel, the Jewish calendar and the annual cycle of holidays, liturgy, Jewish law (Halacha), Jewish literature, philosophy, practical Jewish life in the synagogue and home, and many other. A person who has expressed the desire to move to Judaism should have the “baggage” of Jewish experience, preferably several years. Participation in the annual course provided by the Ec Chaim synagogue’s Rabbi, as well as active participation in community life, including the presence in the synagogue during prayers – is an integral part of the whole process.
It should be noted that the final decision to admit to Beit Din is made only by the Rabbi of the synagogue. We expect active participation from the candidates in the life of the community. The Jewish Community of Warsaw recognizes Beit Din ARK certificate as proof of a Jewish nation. This certificate is recognized by all non-orthodox congregations in the world (conservative and reformed) and by the State of Israel as proof of a Jewish nation. All interested please contact Ec Chaim Synagogue.