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 How long did you study one on one with your Rabbi before conversion?

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esf

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PostSubject: How long did you study one on one with your Rabbi before conversion?   Mon Jan 02, 2012 10:15 pm

Hi everyone,

I'm just wondering how long people studied one-on-one with their Rabbi's before your Rabbi set a date for Beit Din and mikvah? I've read the other posts about how long you were interested in Judaism, or doing classes etc, and I realize everyone will be different, but I guess I'm just looking for some other experiences.

I've been talking with my Rabbi at least monthly for over a year now, attending services regularly, and he seems generally happy with me, but not in any hurry to set a date. I don't want to rush things, but by this stage I just feel like I'm ready to be Jewish! (I attended a synagogue for the first time over 6 years ago, and have been learning in various ways ever since, including doing the 30 week intro to judaism course my current Rabbi recommends)

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Rocky_girl



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PostSubject: Re: How long did you study one on one with your Rabbi before conversion?   Mon Jan 02, 2012 10:34 pm

Our synagogue doesn't have conversion classes, simply because it is so small and there aren't many people wanting to convert. So, I have had all of my studying one-on-one. We have been meeting for a little over a year, but I just recently decided to convert. I would have been done in Dec if I hadn't gone on a trip out of the country for that month. Maybe it is faster because I'm the only one right now.
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: How long did you study one on one with your Rabbi before conversion?   Mon Jan 02, 2012 10:55 pm

Have you told him you feel ready? It's very possible he waiting for you to tell him.
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esf

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PostSubject: Re: How long did you study one on one with your Rabbi before conversion?   Tue Jan 03, 2012 9:50 pm

Thanks for your replies.

I guess I've kind of hinted at it, by mentioning that it feels strange to 'feel' Jewish, and act in a Jewish way, but not be Jewish. He asked whether I felt uncomfortable, and I replied that I'm still very much enjoying all the learning I'm doing, it's just a weird feeling being in this in-between state. He acknowledged what I was saying, but nothing more.
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Samantha

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PostSubject: Re: How long did you study one on one with your Rabbi before conversion?   Tue Jan 03, 2012 10:00 pm

My course was initially meant to last at least fifteen months, however I got to the beit din and mikvah within thirteen. I was an unusual case; according to my rabbi I was the first of her converts to have been referred to the beit din before the allocated time.

If it helps, my own rabbi's advice to me about the limbo stage was that when I looked into the mirror and saw a Jew staring back, I was ready.

I was certainly the one who pushed the process on, even though my rabbi knew I had been ready well before the fifteen months were up. Sometimes you need to be the one to initiate the conclusion of the process - your rabbi will never try to rush you through.
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mikedoyleblogger

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PostSubject: Re: How long did you study one on one with your Rabbi before conversion?   Thu Jan 05, 2012 5:09 pm

I studied eight months, mostly on my own. I didn't attend an Introduction to Judaism class. Instead, I read voraciously several thousand pages out of more than two dozen books, attended Shabbat services regularly, and adopted and played around with ritual and styles of observance to find my comfort zone and what spoke to me.

I met with my rabbi only four times officially during those eight months. Two of these meetings included writing essays about Judaism and my Jewish learning and understanding. However, my case may be different than others because I never had a single doubt or fear regarding my conversion journey. There was always this powerful sense of coming home and enjoying engaging with Judaism as deeply as I could.

So after four months of that, my rabbi checked in with me and asked me what more I felt I needed to study, what directions I wanted to go in next. I told him I'd be studying Jewishly for the rest of my life, and given that, I'd rather that lifelong study continue as a Jew. He agreed, I spent the next three months writing a conversion essay, and in month seven after submitting my essay, we scheduled my beit din, hatafat dam b'rit, and mikvah. A month later, I was Jewish.
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: How long did you study one on one with your Rabbi before conversion?   Thu Jan 05, 2012 7:33 pm

I just realized I didn't actually answer the question. I started looking into Judaism a year before it crossed my mind that I could actually convert. I was a nominal Christian who had left church 7 years prior. Once it occurred to me that not only could I convert but it's what I wanted, I waited about 6 months to actually go to a shul and speak with a Rabbi (I had spoken with Rabbi from Chabad but that's before I really admitted to myself that I wanted to be a Jew).

I went to the mikveh 19 months after I first started attending shul and meeting with the Rabbis. In retrospect, I should have perhaps waited longer. So I studied all in all for 3 years but only seriously for 2 and it's amazing how much I still don't know. Normal things you would expect a convert to know, like all the words for Aleinu. I have never been an every Shabbat attender. I told the Rabbis up front that I had health issues and they would not see me every week. They understood and it wasn't an issue. But it has resulted in me being further behind when it comes to keep up with prayer, etc.

Yet, I know details about Jewish Laws I never intend to observes or would never be required to observe. Laughing

Anyway, every person is different. I really don't think conversions should be done in less than 18 months to 2 years unless the person has been involved in the Jewish community before their decision to convert (which seems to happen fairly often). That's my own personal opinion of course. Sounds like you've been at it quite a while. If you are really, really feeling ready and he's dragging his feet then I think you should ask him if there is a reason.

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Rocky_girl



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PostSubject: Re: How long did you study one on one with your Rabbi before conversion?   Thu Jan 05, 2012 7:42 pm

I wonder, as well, if my process was faster because I immersed myself totally into the congregation and became a part of the community almost immediately. I implemented Jewish customs into our home and brought my kids to services from the start. I have been fully integrated into the congregation for a year now and have been a member for six months and I am just now approaching the biet din and mikveh.

I actually just told my Rabbi in September that I was ready to convert and she pulled out her calendar and we looked at dates. Maybe you just need to say "I'm ready!" He may be waiting for that because only you could know when it is time.

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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: How long did you study one on one with your Rabbi before conversion?   Thu Jan 05, 2012 7:58 pm

Rocky_girl wrote:
I wonder, as well, if my process was faster because I immersed myself totally into the congregation and became a part of the community almost immediately. I implemented Jewish customs into our home and brought my kids to services from the start. I have been fully integrated into the congregation for a year now and have been a member for six months and I am just now approaching the biet din and mikveh.

I've known others who took 6 months to a year. It seems to be common for conversion to take a year within the Reform and Conservative movement. I took longer because I wanted to take longer. My Rabbi was ready 7 months before I actually went to the mikveh. If you've been around a year, that seems pretty much on target. I don't think it matters that you didn't officially know you wanted to convert yet when you joined. Very Happy

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esf

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PostSubject: Re: How long did you study one on one with your Rabbi before conversion?   Thu Jan 05, 2012 8:09 pm

Thanks for all your advice and support. To be fair, he did warn me that he likes to take longer with his converts than a typical reform rabbi (he is reform too). I wish I just had a better sense of how much longer!
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: How long did you study one on one with your Rabbi before conversion?   Thu Jan 05, 2012 8:17 pm

esf wrote:
Thanks for all your advice and support. To be fair, he did warn me that he likes to take longer with his converts than a typical reform rabbi (he is reform too). I wish I just had a better sense of how much longer!

I think that's a good thing. But yeah, it would be nice if he told you how much longer.
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mikedoyleblogger

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PostSubject: Re: How long did you study one on one with your Rabbi before conversion?   Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:04 am

esf wrote:
(snip)...it feels strange to 'feel' Jewish, and act in a Jewish way, but not be Jewish. He asked whether I felt uncomfortable, and I replied that I'm still very much enjoying all the learning I'm doing, it's just a weird feeling being in this in-between state. He acknowledged what I was saying, but nothing more.

He's probably waiting for that magic moment when you come out the other side of that strange in-between feeling and make a statement as if you already were Jewish, without realizing what you're saying. I've read that's one of the things that rabbis look for to know when conversion candidates are "ready." I've seen it happen, too. My partner, Ryan, has been studying for conversion for several months. Last month, he began a sentence with, "Even if I wasn't Jewish..."

The toaster oven arrived from Jerusalem two weeks later.
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tamar

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PostSubject: Re: How long did you study one on one with your Rabbi before conversion?   Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:14 am

mikedoyleblogger wrote:
esf wrote:
(snip)...it feels strange to 'feel' Jewish, and act in a Jewish way, but not be Jewish. He asked whether I felt uncomfortable, and I replied that I'm still very much enjoying all the learning I'm doing, it's just a weird feeling being in this in-between state. He acknowledged what I was saying, but nothing more.

He's probably waiting for that magic moment when you come out the other side of that strange in-between feeling and make a statement as if you already were Jewish, without realizing what you're saying. I've read that's one of the things that rabbis look for to know when conversion candidates are "ready." I've seen it happen, too. My partner, Ryan, has been studying for conversion for several months. Last month, he began a sentence with, "Even if I wasn't Jewish..."

The toaster oven arrived from Jerusalem two weeks later.


That was what my Rabbi said. I started speaking as a Jew and not as a person becoming Jewish. I often forgot I was not Jewish. Being Jewish was who I was before I became Jewish. The Rabbi I took my class from also said in class that often those working towards conversion start seeing themselves as Jewish before the mikveh and that is how they speak.
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: How long did you study one on one with your Rabbi before conversion?   Fri Jan 06, 2012 1:26 am

I refused to call myself a Jew before I went to the mikveh no matter how Jewish I felt. My Rabbi could not wait for that moment or it would have taken forever. Razz
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tamar

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PostSubject: Re: How long did you study one on one with your Rabbi before conversion?   Fri Jan 06, 2012 1:35 am

Dena wrote:
I refused to call myself a Jew before I went to the mikveh no matter how Jewish I felt. My Rabbi could not wait for that moment or it would have taken forever. Razz


I was not calling myself Jewish. What the Rabbis were looking for is that one had crossed over and felt Jewish. When anyone asked me if I was Jewish I would say no. But I became part of the Jewish people as I became part of my community and part of Judaism.

My Rabbi said it is not just joining a religion but becoming part of a people.
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: How long did you study one on one with your Rabbi before conversion?   Fri Jan 06, 2012 1:49 am

tamar wrote:
Dena wrote:
I refused to call myself a Jew before I went to the mikveh no matter how Jewish I felt. My Rabbi could not wait for that moment or it would have taken forever. Razz

I was not calling myself Jewish.

I wasn't referring to you in particular, more to Mike's comment. It's common for me to hear that people are ready when they refer to themself as a Jew. I was just mentioning that I didn't do that but it was a conscious decision not to do it.

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tamar

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PostSubject: Re: How long did you study one on one with your Rabbi before conversion?   Fri Jan 06, 2012 1:53 am

Dena wrote:
tamar wrote:
Dena wrote:
I refused to call myself a Jew before I went to the mikveh no matter how Jewish I felt. My Rabbi could not wait for that moment or it would have taken forever. Razz

I was not calling myself Jewish.

I wasn't referring to you in particular. Very Happy

ok Very Happy
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esf

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PostSubject: Re: How long did you study one on one with your Rabbi before conversion?   Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:01 am

A new, related question.. how often did you see your rabbi while converting? Was it a weekly/monthly arrangement or did you simply go to see them when you had questions?
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tamar

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PostSubject: Re: How long did you study one on one with your Rabbi before conversion?   Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:10 am

esf wrote:
A new, related question.. how often did you see your rabbi while converting? Was it a weekly/monthly arrangement or did you simply go to see them when you had questions?

I met with my Rabbi once every 3 weeks for tea and to talk about what I was doing.
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: How long did you study one on one with your Rabbi before conversion?   Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:13 am

esf wrote:
A new, related question.. how often did you see your rabbi while converting? Was it a weekly/monthly arrangement or did you simply go to see them when you had questions?

I met with her maybe once every other month? It wasn't often.
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esf

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PostSubject: Re: How long did you study one on one with your Rabbi before conversion?   Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:17 am

Thanks, good to know! (I've been meeting every 3-4 weeks, and was just wondering what the 'norm' is)
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: How long did you study one on one with your Rabbi before conversion?   Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:28 am

esf wrote:
Thanks, good to know! (I've been meeting every 3-4 weeks, and was just wondering what the 'norm' is)

If that works for you then it's fine. If you want to meet more often then ask if he/she has a little more time to spare.
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esf

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PostSubject: Re: How long did you study one on one with your Rabbi before conversion?   Thu Jan 26, 2012 8:56 am

I feel like it's working perfectly, but I was just curious - I don't know any converts IRL, so always interesting to see what others have done.
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PostSubject: Re: How long did you study one on one with your Rabbi before conversion?   Fri Jan 27, 2012 12:37 am

I studied about 18 months. I did a lot of waiting around for the Intro to Judaism course to start.
Moment I started to feel somewhat Jewish: when they tried to give me a free ham at the grocery store and I said "I can't eat ham, I am Jewish."
Do I feel 100% Jewish yet, I think I am 80-90% there, but it took me a while to learn how to balance all my cultural heritage with it. I maybe Jewish, but I am also 1/2 Italian, I love lasagna ( I make it meatless) and a glass of red wine. It just took me awhile to realize these things were not mutually exclusive.
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: How long did you study one on one with your Rabbi before conversion?   Fri Jan 27, 2012 1:00 am

esf wrote:
I feel like it's working perfectly, but I was just curious - I don't know any converts IRL, so always interesting to see what others have done.

Oh, I bet you do. You just don't know they're converts. Wink and Smile
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