Interested in converting to Judaism? Here are the most popular questions about becoming Jewish, in no order of importance. Click on your question or browse our FAQ
- Is my conversion valid?
- Can you convert to Judaism entirely online?
- Should I convert Orthodox, Conservative, Reform (or something else)?
- How long does it take to complete a conversion to Judaism?
- How much does it cost to convert to Judaism?
- Will I receive a conversion certificate?
- Who are the rabbis and cantors who facilitate conversions?
- Who is allowed to convert to Judaism?
- I am technically Jewish by birth. Am I still able to convert?
- How do I get started?
Is my conversion valid?
The rabbis and cantors at Darshan Yeshiva who facilitate conversions are all ordained and recognized by their respective denominations’ governing bodies, where applicable.
In addition, the conversions Darshan Yeshiva facilitates are conducted in accordance with our mentors’ (and their respective communities’) interpretation of Jewish law.
There is not one, universally-shared definition for conversion to Judaism, no single conversion to Judaism certificate or single governing body who decides who is a Jew and who is not.
Can you convert to Judaism entirely online?
Yes! But there are some important things to remember.
Online conversion programs should feature some kind of hybrid model that includes both the distance learning and mentorship. Darshan Yeshiva provides monthly, one-on-one rabbinic or cantorial via phone, Zoom, or in-person conversation to make sure students are connected on a person-to-person level with their mentors.
In addition, the conversion process often concludes with certain Jewish rituals, including the brit milah/hatafat dam brit (ritual circumcision or equivalent), beit din (court of Jewish law) and the mikvah (ritual bath). These are completed in person under the sponsoring rabbi’s or cantor’s supervision in their location. Darshan Yeshiva provides this as well, and at no cost to our students.
Should I convert Orthodox, Conservative, Reform (or something else)?
This is a very personal choice and there is no perfect answer. We recommend you think about whether you are converting for yourself, or to fulfill a specific movement/synagogue/rabbi. If it’s the latter, then speak to that community and its leadership. If that’s not the case, and you’re not sure which movement is right for you, then take a look at the following article (Which Jewish movement is right for me?)
Students in our program choose from Conservative/Masorti, Reform, Reconstructionist, Jewish Renewal, Humanistic, and Post-Denominational/Pluralistic conversions. Not sure what these terms mean? Learn more about Jewish denominations
Even though we have mentors from all progressive movements in Judaism, we still want our students to learn the same things that all other students are learning. We are very proud of our pluralistic conversion curriculum, or a curriculum drawing from a wide range of Jewish thought, observance, and opinions, online. Preview our pluralistic curriculum
How long does it take to complete a conversion to Judaism?
Some conversions take more than a year. Our conversion to Judaism program is designed to take ten months to complete. In some cases, students are able to finish their coursework in fewer than ten months. However, it is at their sponsoring rabbi or cantor’s discretion whether a student is prepared to convert before ten months are over.
How much does it cost to convert to Judaism?
Typically conversion programs will charge the following:
- Fees for introduction to Judaism courses taken in-person or online
- Fees for a bet din (an honorarium for each person)
- One time fee for the mikvah (ritual bath)
- A request to join the synagogue and pay some form of dues fees (usually a percentage of one’s income or a flat fee)
Our program is $235/month for ten months. Students who request a scholarship will receive a $400 discount with no questions asked, bringing the price to $199/month. Program tuition covers the cost of your course materials, lifetime access to additional programs, and your sponsoring rabbi or cantor’s time as well as any costs associated with the coordination of your beit din (court of Jewish law) and mikvah (ritual bath), where applicable.
The only costs not covered are for the brit milah/hatafat dam brit (ritual circumcision or equivalent) and student travel and accommodations, if any.
Will I receive a conversion certificate?
Yes – when you convert to Judaism, the sponsoring rabbi will give you a certificate, usually (but not always) reflective of their movement.
All students who complete a conversion to Judaism through Darshan Yeshiva receive the following documentation for their personal records:
- Your certificate of completion that Darshan Yeshiva provides you to demonstrate that you completed the coursework required to complete your program, and
- Your conversion certificate that your sponsoring rabbi or cantor provides you to demonstrate that you completed a halachic conversion to Judaism, or one that is in accordance with Jewish law, under their supervision.
Of note: Darshan Yeshiva maintains a clear policy regarding supplemental documentation to satisfy the needs of local agencies, such as synagogues, governments, immigration offices, etc. Read our policy regarding supplemental documentation
Who are the rabbis and cantors who facilitate conversions?
Almost all rabbis who work for synagogues will help people convert to Judaism. Some cantors will help as well, given that the role of cantor also includes being an educator. This is not universally true for all rabbis and all cantors, so do not be upset if you approach Jewish clergy and are told that they do not work with conversion students.
Our faculty at Darshan Yeshiva is made up of a number of Jewish clergy, including rabbis and cantors, all of whom are ordained and recognized by their respective denominations’ governing bodies, where applicable. These mentors represent the various branches of progressive (other than Orthodox) Judaism, and are based throughout North America, Central America, and Europe. Each and every one of them is experienced in mentoring conversion candidates and is eager to meet you. Find your mentor here
Who is allowed to convert to Judaism?
Anyone who sincerely wishes to be part of the Jewish people may convert to Judaism.
In order to be considered for the Darshan Yeshiva Conversion to Judaism program, an applicant must meet the following basic criteria:
- Applicants must be 18 years or older, unless completing the conversion process with a parent or guardian
- Applicants must be fluent in a language spoken by their mentor and be able to understand our conversion materials in English or Italian
- We will not facilitate conversion away from Islam in order to protect our students’ personal safety.
- We will not accept applicants who wish to remain a part of Jews For Jesus, Messianic Judaism, or similar.
- We will not provide conversion for the sake of making aliyah (immigrating to Israel) or being recognized as a Jew in Israel. Read our Israel policy here
I am technically Jewish by birth. Am I still able to convert?
Mazal! There is technically no need to convert to Judaism if you are already Jewish.
Having said that – at Darshan Yeshiva, we recognize that not every Jewish journey follows the same path. In some cases, halachically Jewish individuals, or those who have one or more biological parents who are also Jewish and are considered Jewish themselves, may not have been raised in a traditional Jewish home and feel the need to recommit to Judaism.
For these individuals, we recommend our “affirmation of Jewish identity”, which enables you to follow the same plan of study and mentorship as a conversion candidate. At the conclusion of this process, your rabbi or cantor will work with you to identify Jewish ritual that signifies your personal commitment to Judaism, even if a technical conversion is not needed. Learn more about affirmation of Jewish identity
How do I get started?
If you are interested in converting in your local area, reach out to synagogues and ask if their rabbis or cantors assist with conversion. Attend Shabbat services, classes and other events.
To get started at Darshan Yeshiva, simply apply online today.