Rabbi Dr. Tzemah Yoreh

(He/Him/His)

Humanistic

Headshot

Conversion requirements

Brit milah/Hatafat dam brit:

Not required but available, upon request

Mikvah:

Not required but available, upon request

Beit din:

Not required but recommended

Conversion location:

New York, N.Y.

Mentoring sessions available in:

English, French, A different language

Student levels accepted:

Mitzvah, Chai, Scholarship

Conversion requirements during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

Brit milah/Hatafat dam brit:

Not required (No change)

Mikvah:

Not required (No change)

Beit din:

Not required but recommended (Virtual beit din via video conferencing is also acceptable.)

I am happy to work with

Families with children, People who identify as LGBTQ, People in interfaith or dual-faith relationships

Personal statement

I became a Humanist rabbi, because I feel a deep investment in making Jewish texts and traditions meaningful to people through the lens of their own life experiences. Before I was a rabbi, I was a Jewish Studies academic, but I became deeply frustrated at the “ivory tower” approach to knowledge and the time spent writing books and articles that interested only a handful of people. I wanted to connect more meaningfully to people and to the communities to which I belonged.

My favorite activity in the world is to craft personalized ritual. One of the most poignant interactions I’ve had in my life is when a person I did not know contacted me to ask whether a Humanistic Shabbat blessing for children existed. I told him that I did not know, but I would be happy to compose a personalized blessing for his baby girl. Three years later, the same person contacted me again to say my blessing had become a meaningful part of their Shabbat observance and ask me whether I would compose a blessing for their second daughter. I stared at my computer screen overcome with tears of joy — I had just been paid the greatest compliment of my life.

I will perform conversions in almost any circumstance, as long as the desire to connect with Jewish culture is genuine and deep.

Education

Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Doctor of Philosophy, Bible

University of Toronto
Doctor of Philosophy, Bible