Brit Milah/Hatafat: Recommended but not required
Mikvah: Yes (ocean or other permissible natural body of water in Italy), JCC swimming pool in Florida
Bet Din: Yes, bet din may include rabbis and/or lay Jews
Conversion Location: Serrastretta, Italy at Sinagoga Ner Tamid del Sud (Reconstructionist) and Sarasota, Florida
Students Accepted: Scholarship, Chai, Mitzvah
I am a pulpit rabbi with 16 years of congregational experience, currently serving as rabbi of Sinagoga Ner Tamid del Sud. I came to the rabbinate later in life, after a career as a special education teacher, counselor and a professional puppeteer – as creator of The Kids on the Block international educational puppet program. When I made the decision to study for the rabbinate, I found that I was the oldest in my class and my fellow students called me “Rabbi Mama!”. I have a MS in education/psychology from George Washington University, para-rabbinic certificate from Hebrew Union College, smicha (ordination) from Rabbinical Seminary International and advanced smicha from The Rabbinic Academy.
As a result of my personal journey, I am open and sensitive to those students who slowly and steadily have been drawn to Jewish life. As the first and only woman rabbi in Italy and the first and only non-orthodox rabbi in Italy, I have had the pleasure and honor to work with many “b’nei anusim” students – those who have discovered and now desire formally to embrace their Jewish roots. I have learned how important it is to extend the hand of Jewish welcome to all those who are drawn to Jewish studies and conversion. I am honored to assist you on your personal Jewish journey.
Sinagoga Ner Tamid del Sud, which I founded, is an affiliate of the Jewish Reconstructionist Communities (JRC) and is recognized as the second Reconstrutionist synagogue in Europe.
Mazel Tov on your desire to immerse yourself in Jewish studies. As a supervising rabbi I applaud your motivation and initiative!
Rabbi Aiello's Interfaith Family Policy
If you are part of an interfaith relationship and your partner is not Jewish, I require a meeting (in person or via Skype) with your partner to discuss how your conversion to Judaism will affect family harmony. It is so important that the potential convert is able to create a Jewish home and that the non-Jewish partner is supportive of this initiative. If there are young children in your interfaith family, I require that they participate in Jewish family rituals and observance, but formal conversion of your children is not required.