The Pluralistic Bridge for Conversion

ANSWERS TO

Frequently Asked Questions

Process  | Men  | Parents  |  Raised Jewish | Authority  |  The Experience

The Process

For Men

For Parents

  • I have children. Can they be converted, too?

    Yes, it is not uncommon for a child to accompany a parent in the conversion process. However, children under the age of 13 are handled a bit differently, because they are not considered able to freely make an informed choice.

    • Male children must fulfill the requirement of ritual circumcision, like male adults.
    • Children do not have a formal meeting with the Bet Din (although the older ones may be asked about their attitude toward becoming Jewish).
    • The parent(s) must meet with a Bet Din panel in order to establish that the child will be raised as a Jew.
    • After the Bet Din panel is satisfied with the parental assurances, the child enters (or if very young, is taken by a parent into) the mikveh. A bet din arranges to witness that immersion while respecting the child’s sense of modesty around strangers.
  • Will my children be Jewish if I am converted before they are born?

    Yes, if you are the biological mother.

Raised Jewish

  • I was raised Jewish but wasn’t born to a Jewish (biological) mother. What is needed in order for me to be recognized as having formal Jewish status? I’m not really “converting” to something new!

    Individual rabbis who are members of our Bet Din may give different answers to this question. However, regarding someone whose (biological) father was Jewish, or who was adopted as a child by Jewish parents, the “highest common denominator” answer is:

    What’s needed is that you go through the same outward ritual process as someone who was not raised as a Jew.

    Granted, at first glance the term “conversion” may not be a good fit for you. We respect that your present sense of identity may already be fully Jewish. Yet in your situation we tend to use the term “conversion” anyway — while not taking it so literally. That’s because the outward process is virtually the same, in order for you to achieve Jewish status in the eyes of all of our member rabbis.

Authority and Recognition

  • What documentation will prove that I have completed the conversion?

    You will receive two conversion certificates: one in English and one in Hebrew. You will also receive a separate attestation of your immersion in a mikveh. The rabbis of the Bet Din panel will have signed all these documents.

    Our Bet Din keeps a paper copy of these certificates in a fireproof safe, and a digital copy is archived, as well.

  • Will American rabbis accept my conversion as valid?

    Conservative, Reconstructionist, Reform, and transdenominational rabbis will accept you as a Jew. At this time, few Orthodox rabbis will accept any conversion other than those that they or their Orthodox colleagues authorize.

  • Will my conversion be recognized as valid in Israel?

    • The Israeli government (Ministries of Absorption and of the Interior) will recognize your conversion, so that you will be accepted as a citizen if you wish to make aliyah (move to Israel).
    • Conservative and Reform congregations in Israel will be delighted to welcome you into their midst.
    • At this time, the official religious and rabbinic authority in Israel (the state-sponsored Rabbinate) will not accept you as a Jew. Unfortunately, they do not recognize our authority as rabbis. This means that in Israel, you will not be able to marry or divorce or be buried as a Jew.

About the Experience

  • What do people say about their experience with the Sandra Caplan Community Bet Din?

    • “I was glad to have rabbis from three movements on the Bet Din at my conversion. I feel that I have embraced and been welcomed into the entire Jewish community.”
    • “Everyone was so kind. I was surprised at my emotions.”
    • “I feel like a whole new person.”
    • “I have always lived a Jewish life and I didn’t think the process was for me. Now I am so grateful to have done this. It was good.”
    • “The entire experience was amazing, beyond words, like nothing I have ever felt before. I’m happy my rabbi could be with me.”
    • “At long last, I am home where I belong among my people.”