To read general information on Humanistic Jewish Life Cycle Events, click here.
Joining the Jewish People
If you are a non-Jewish person, perhaps someone who is in a relationship with a Jew, and you just wish to participate in Jewish congregational life, without converting, that it completely acceptable. You can join Oraynu as a full member with all the rights and privileges of other members. We will embrace you into our community and encourage your full participation.
If you want to join the Jewish people but are not particularly religious, nor do you wish to repudiate your family of origin, let us help you meet your goal through a Humanistic Jewish conversion. Since we define Judaism as the evolving culture of the Jewish people, with religion being only a part of that culture, we see conversion to Judaism as adopting the convertee into the Jewish people, an adoptee if you will—a person you come to love, respect, support and fully embrace into your family.
If you are not a Jew but believe that the Torah and Jewish laws are the best way to live your future life and you want to follow the Jewish religion, then Humanistic Judaism may not be the right fit for you. It is possible to legitimately convert to Judaism through various Chasidic, Orthodox, Conservative, Reconstruction, Reform and Humanistic organizations. We strongly recommend that you convert within a denomination that will enable you to live your life as a Jew in a way that is consistent with your beliefs and worldview. To read about the philosophy of Humanistic Judaism to see if it reflects your worldview, click here.
Why Do You Want to Become a Jew?
- Are you marrying or have married someone who is Jewish and want to be accepted into your partner’s family and community?
- Are you planning to raise your children as Jews and believe it’s easiest if you raise them in a ‘fully’ Jewish home?
- You admire and like Jewish people, share their values and want to belong?
- You enjoy Jewish culture and participating in Jewish traditions?
Whatever your reason, we will work with you to make your wish a reality, and the process a pleasant and meaningful one that encourages your questions and respects your intellect and dignity.
Who is a Jew?
According to the worldwide Movement of Secular Humanistic Judaism, a Jew is a person of Jewish descent or any person who declares himself or herself to be a Jew and who identifies with the history, ethical values, culture, civilization, community, and fate of the Jewish people. To read the full position statement click on “Who is Jew”.
How Does one Convert?
Although there has been a movement towards centralizing conversion to Judaism, it has largely not been successful. Each denomination within Judaism has its own set of requirements for conversion. Sometimes even rabbis within the same denomination have differing criteria. Different movements and rabbis may or may not accept the conversion of other denominations or rabbis. So, we recommend that you convert into the community to which you want to belong and by which you wish to be accepted as a Jew.
- Meet with Rabbi Eva Goldfinger to find out more about the program and to register
- Join Oraynu Congregation and participate in Jewish culture and community
- Complete a mentored, independent serious course of study (see below) including required and recommended readings. Some of the readings can be purchased through Oraynu.
- Choose a meaningful and celebratory private conversion ceremony in the Rabbi’s office with witnesses or a congregational conversion ceremony
- Sign the required commitment documents
- Choose a Jewish name
- Be welcomed into the Jewish people and receive a Conversion Certificate signed by Rabbi Eva Goldfinger, Rabbi Karen Levy and a third Oraynu Leader
- Receive a Bar/t Mitzvah Certificate signed by Rabbi Eva Goldfinger
Course of Study Outline
Introduction & Jewish Ideas and Practices through the Ages
Rhythms of Jewish Life—Evolution of Festivals & Life Cycle events
History of the Jewish People
Jewish Literature and the Arts through the Ages
Click here for Conversion Course Syllabus
Since this is an independent study program, you can finish it as slowly or as quickly as you choose.
For more information and costs, please contact our Life Cycle Director, Rabbi Eva Goldfinger at firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-494-7450.