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First century BCE

Wanting to know the essence of Judaism while standing on one foot, a man ask Rabbi Hillel, "Teach me the Torah while I stand on one foot,"
"What is hateful to you, do not do unto others. That is the whole Torah, the rest is commentary. Now, go and learn," answered Hillel

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Jewish Colorado --> Jewish Denver --> Conversion to Judaism

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Conversion to Judaism

"You shall love the convert"

-- Deuteronomy 10:19

You want to convert to Judaism?

Orthodox Judaism does not actively seek converts. That is because Judaism teaches that the righteous of all nations and peoples have a share in the World To Come.

The purpose of this page is not to explain how a conversion is done, but to bring up points for you to consider.

You want a spiritual meaning to your life and you have chosen Judaism. Now what do you do?  A convert may face some incredible challenges.  Your standard will be different than someone born Jewish.

Time - This will not happen overnight

How long will this take?

Before this question can be answered, you need to answer the basic question is Judaism for me and what does conversion to Judaism mean.

Maybe, your first step is to think this through and ask yourself plenty of questions.  Get a piece of paper and write down your thoughts or better yet keep a journal.
  • Is this for me?
  • If you are married - your spouse must also want to convert.  You need to know if he/she is willing to go through conversion.
  • Do you have children? 
  • Where are you going to send them to School?
  • How is this going to effect your children and your relationship with your spouse.
  • How will this effect your Parents, relatives and other important friendships?
    Most converts find NO family support in conversion to Judaism.
    Ask your Rabbi doing the conversion, in future if my brother or sister or other  family members are getting married can I enter the church and be a part of the ceremony.
  • Can you let go of all other religions, including Christianity and it's beliefs?
  • Will this effect how I earn a living?
  • What do you know about Jewish History? As good as the United States is - How do you think you will be treated as a Jew?

Things to consider...

If you are considering an orthodox conversion to Judaism - there are no Rabbis at present doing conversions.  You will have to seek a Rabbi out side of Denver.

These are not issues you have to do now, but will be future issues, nonetheless you have to weigh if this is for you to decide if you should go forward with conversion  -- You can not work from Friday sundown till Saturday sundown.  This also applies to all Jewish holidays no matter what day they fall on.  Outside your home you can only eat at kosher homes and kosher restaurants. Family and friends homes you once ate at - you can no longer eat at unless special arrangements are made.  There are family purity laws and upon death you can only be buried in a Jewish cemetery.  From the Simple to the Complex traditions in American culture*  that you accept on an every day basis will have to be changed to accepting the 613 commandments of the Torah.

If you have children here are just a few things you need to be aware of - Jewish schools are very expensive.  If you send them to public schools - they will be placed in a setting that puts pressure on them to conform [from the way you dress to dating]. Schools will be closed on non-Jewish holidays and open for Jewish holidays and Friday evening and Saturday school functions. In Denver Boys after the 8th grade can be sent to the Yeshivah.  You must be aware at the Denver Yeshivah boys must live in the Yeshivah dormitories [there are no exceptions].

Have you looked at the 7 Laws of Bnai Noach

* Jews are required by Jewish Law to obey the laws of the land he/she lives.

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How much will this cost you? Conversions Classes may have a fee.

Some Rabbis do NOT charge any fees for conversion. While other Rabbis charge for conversion classes. You should plan to budget between $100 and $350 a month for a family and the classes can run from 1 year to 2 years.

Plus the Rabbi that heads the Bais Din may have a fee
Plus Ritual Fees at the time of conversion: [Mikvah and Mohel]
Plus traveling expenses - Which may include two trips to the east coast to meet with
  the head of the Bais Din.
Misc fees, books and other expenses.
Ritual Items after conversion: Tefillin is approx $500 for each male over the age of 13.
Kashering your kitchen
Mezuzot for each door way in the home approx $33 per door.
A family of 5 or 6 should budget approx $6,000 and be prepared to spend as much as $10,0000 for a conversion in Denver.
Jewish School [tuition] approx $6,000 to 12,000 a year for each child.
What should be your first step...

There be may several opinions on what you should do first.  One of the very best things you can do is -  find books on the subject. Go to the library and research the subject.  Search out books written by Orthodox Rabbis.  "To Be a Jew", by Rabbi Donin is a very good start.

I have read the Bible....

Just because you have read the Bible isn't even enough to answer the question is conversion for me.  I can't stress this enough and also why you need an Orthodox Rabbi.

Why do you need an Orthodox Rabbi?  

Reasonable people can differ on opinion. Since you came to this page looking for advice - this isn't a matter of this group is wrong and this group is right.

Conversion is serious - it is about you and your eternal soul. Ask questions and find out about the Rabbi who will do the conversion.  Some of the question you should ask are:

  • Will my conversion be recognized throughout the world?
  • Can my children attend any Jewish Schools?

Over the years I have had people come into the book store and ask me about conversion.  One of my favorite questions to ask them is would you go a doctor for an operation because he read a few books on the subject?  Of course they said, "NO".   Would you take your children to them?  Again, the answer is, "NO!" They wanted a knowledgeable and reliable doctor.

Just because this is a religious issue don't think there aren't frauds out there that will take your money and your soul.  A doctor can make a mistake and kill you in this world, but a religious leader can kill you into the next.  So if you won't let a Doctor operate on you just because he read a few books on the subject, how much more important is it to find a knowledgeable and reliable Rabbi?

Yes, Judaism is for me....

Contact a reliable Orthodox Rabbi.  See if you can meet with him and if he does conversion.   If he says, "no" then ask him to recommend an Orthodox Rabbi who does conversions. 

Once you have scheduled an appoint to discuss conversion it is good to have plenty of questions ready.
You must be honest

Be prepared to tell the Rabbi your complete background.

Nathan and Temima Feldman came to Denver’s Orthodox Jewish community, a youthful couple professing a search for deeper, more meaningful Judaism; evincing a commitment to the radical lifestyle changes that comes with the decision to live according to Jewish law, or Halachah. Later it was found that these two people had lied about being Jewish and were in fact Christian missionaries.

A true convert can not be pushed away...

Be ready and understand that any Orthodox Rabbi is going to "try" to push you away.  It isn't because he doesn't like non-Jews and don't take it personally.  There is a reason for this - and you will understand in time.

This will be a step by step process...

Once you find a Rabbi who will do the conversion, listen and learn from him. We will be more than happy to get the books he has recommended you read.

Finally, reasonable people can differ on opinion...

You may have friends that will tell you different but remember the Rabbi is your teacher.  You are no longer dealing with opinion but what is in your best interest in you becoming a Jew.