At Temple Beth El, we feel that it is a privilege to work with individuals who are interested in becoming Jews-by-choice. Through the years, we have developed a program to welcome individuals interested in learning about Judaism and to celebrate a formal integration into the community and a formal commitment to the covenant of Israel.
A beautiful, new 4,000 square foot Kehillah (Community) Center will provide a gathering place for family activities, adult education, Shabbat services, and more. The adjacent catering kitchen offers an opportunity to rent the Kehillah Center, providing a spacious, new party and event room in West Boca. Learn about catering options; to inquire about renting the space, call 561-391-8900.
Study is one of the most important parts of the conversion process (called gerut). Therefore, Temple Beth El is pleased to offer an 18-week course taught by the clergy and other experts in the community. The course of study covers topics such as holidays, customs, life-cycle events, values, theology, prayers and rituals, Jewish texts, history, and Hebrew. There is an expectation that one will complete readings and reflections in advance of each session. At the end of the course, there will be a comprehensive short-answer review given to those individuals who are pursuing conversion.
Introduction to Judaism is open to Jews and non-Jews alike. Often, a Jewish partner, friend, or family member will choose to accompany the prospective convert to the classes. This class is also useful for non-Jews who do not intend to convert but are interested in learning more about Judaism or for people born and raised as Jews but who feel as though they never received a solid Jewish education. All are welcome.
Those who choose to convert will have regular meetings with one of Temple Beth El’s rabbis to discuss issues raised in class as well as personal thoughts and challenges one may experience during the process. Issues sometimes include understanding particular concepts, dealing with one’s family of origin, and feelings a person might have during holidays such as Christmas and Easter.
A person who is interested in converting to Judaism is expected and encouraged to participate in Jewish rituals. One is encouraged to light Shabbat candles, come to Shabbat and festival services, and celebrate Jewish holidays in the community and the home. At Temple Beth El, we embrace individuals who want to learn more about our community and welcome them at our temple events.
How long will it take?
This question cannot be answered in the same way for everyone. Conversion is a very personal process and nobody can say how long it should take or how long it will take. Conversion will happen once a person feels that he or she is ready to take on the commitments of becoming a Jew, and to enter the covenant between God and the people Israel. The appropriate time to celebrate the culmination of that process is determined in consultation with the rabbis.
When a Jewish family adopts a child, they may choose to have the child undergo a ritual immersion and if the child is a boy, a circumcision as well. The reason for this being that the child’s mother may not have been Jewish. It is also possible that the birth parents’ religious backgrounds are unknown. This is often followed by a moving ceremony that expresses the families’ joy and gratitude after having brought a new member into their family.
Individuals who convert to Judaism are encouraged to continue studying and learning. Temple Beth El offers many adult-learning opportunities that may be of interest to someone interested in pursuing more Jewish knowledge.
For more information, contact the Clergy office at 561-391-8900.
Temple Beth El is also happy to match newer converts with those who are have been Jews-by-Choice for many years. Through this mentoring program, individuals have the chance to discuss their shared experiences, ask questions, and reflect on their personal development.