At Darshan Yeshiva, we take our responsibilities regarding conversion very seriously. And we expect our students to do the same. Below are important terms and conditions that describe in detail what our Conversion to Judaism program does and does not provide.
This may look like a lot of scary, legalistic language. (We promise, it isn’t!) But we believe openness and transparency are important to a successful relationship. Please read this information in its entirety and contact us with any questions.
WHAT WE DO AND DO NOT PROVIDE
Summary (“the Quick-and-Dirty”)
Darshan Yeshiva provides distance learning conversion to Judaism through a referral system that connects ordained rabbis and cantors (“mentors”) with students (hopefully, you). You and your mentor are in charge of your conversion education and process, and we provide administrative and technological support. With this in mind, we recommend you give serious consideration to your choice of mentor and think about the many factors involved in conversion.
Our program is available to students who maintain citizenship in the following countries:
- North America: The United States of America and Canada
- The Caribbean: Any of the 24 countries that make up the Caribbean
- Central America: Costa Rica
- Europe: Any of the 27 countries that make up the European Union (EU) as well as Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom
- Africa: South Africa
- Australasia: Australia, New Zealand, and the Philippines
In addition, individuals who are current citizens of one or more of the listed countries and are living abroad may be considered. We do not provide any kind of conversion with the purpose of Jewish citizenship in Israel for any reason. You’ll find our Israel policy here.
Once you have completed your online Jewish learning and mentor sessions, you and your mentor will schedule your ending ritual component, if applicable. You will need to complete all student payments before this time. Your program tuition pays for your beit din (rabbinic court) and mikveh (ritual immersion), so you will not incur additional fees.
Following your conversion, your mentor will provide you with a personal record of your process called a conversion certificate. We recommend that you safely store your conversion certificate as you would with any essential document. In addition, you may request a copy of your mikveh log or receipt from the mikveh on the date of your immersion. We’re here to help you after your conversion; however, we do not provide paperwork to agencies, such as those for Israel immigration.
The Long Version
Darshan Yeshiva (a project of PunkTorah) provides a referral service for students interested in converting to Judaism. Students apply for our program and choose the rabbi or cantor (“mentor”) with whom they would like to work. We interview students to verify our program is likely to meet their needs and validate the mentor-student pairing, after which students begin working directly with their respective mentors.
We recommend students consider the following when choosing a mentor:
- Are you interested in a conversion that is approved by a particular movement in Judaism, a vaad (rabbinical council), an organization or synagogue? If so, you should choose a mentor within that movement. For example, if you are interested in joining a Reform synagogue in the United States, you should choose an American Reform mentor with whom to work. If you are interested in joining a Conservative/Masorti synagogue in Spain, you should choose a Conservative/Masorti mentor instead.
- Are you interested in converting for Jewish Israeli status, including but not limited to marrying a Jew in Israel, becoming an Israeli citizen, etc.? If so, you should work with a rabbi in Israel. As a reminder, our program does not facilitate conversion for individuals who seek status within Israel due to the ever-changing nature of religious politics. Please read our Israel policy here.
- Are you seeking a conversion mentor who does not require certain ritual ceremonies, such as the brit milah (ritual circumcision), beit din (rabbinic court), or mikveh (ritual immersion)? If so, you should choose a mentor who does not require these components with whom to work.
- Is the cost of a conversion program a concern? If so, we ask that you wait to apply to work with a mentor. Take some time off from your process and revisit your program when you are ready and able. We do not want you to start this work only to leave soon after for financial reasons.
We provide an online Jewish learning program (including videos, podcasts, handouts, etc.) that serves as the backbone of the educational component of our program. Mentors and students utilize these materials for continual learning throughout the program, so students are not required to buy books or attend in-person class sessions.
We allow students 30 days after registration to confirm their choice of program and/or mentor is right for them. Should they decide the program and/or their mentor is not right for them, students may contact us at any time during this period to receive a full refund of their tuition payment(s). (Helpful hint: Do not choose your mentor based on geographic location or price alone. Doing so will leave you unhappy with your conversion process, and we don’t want that to happen.)
Students work with their mentor at their own pace. The conversion process is managed entirely by the mentor and student. Mentors and students communicate regularly to schedule and conduct their one-on-one mentor sessions, to decide the level of work the student needs to complete prior to their ritual components, etc.
Once the student has completed their online Jewish learning and mentor sessions, they will continue onto the final ritual components of conversion. These rituals may include brit milah/hatafat dam brit (typically for biologically male candidates), beit din, and mikveh. The student will be required to travel to their mentor’s location for the beit din and mikveh. Our mentors do not travel to their students. Any expenses related to the student’s ritual components (excluding the brit milah/hatafat dam brit) are included in our program pricing, so money will not change hands between the student and their mentor and/or the members of the beit din.
Following the completion of their program (typically after the mikveh), the student will receive a signed certificate of conversion from their mentor. This record may include the student’s chosen Hebrew name, the date and/or location, and other relevant details and is signed by the members of their beit din. In addition, students who complete a mikveh immersion may request a copy of their receipt and/or the log book for their personal records. (Helpful hint: We recommend you make this request of the mikveh administrator on the day of your immersion.)
Mazel tov! You’re now officially Jewish.
We want to stay connected with our students following their conversions. Students’ mentors will be available to support them as they embrace Jewish life as a Jew. However, we — our rabbis, cantors, and staff members — do not provide any of the following:
- Letters or other documentation to Israel immigration organizations, Israeli agencies, or similar
- Letters or other documentation to particular synagogues, communities, government and other agencies, vaadot and other committees, or similar
We do provide students with a record of their coursework (the certificate of completion available for download) as well as their conversion to Judaism (the conversion certificate provided by the mentor). These documents represent the components of a student’s conversion program, including the Jewish learning and rabbinical and/or cantorial oversight.
NEED MORE INFO?
You can find everything you need to know about our conversion program in our Conversion Program questions located in the help desk.
If you still have questions, please feel free to contact us and a member of our team will email you as soon as possible.