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RabbiAbrams



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Join date : 2012-02-06
Age : 55
Location : Woodland Hills(Greater Los Angeles), California

PostSubject: Ask a Rabbi~   Wed Feb 08, 2012 4:23 am

First topic message reminder :

Hello, all.

I am a Rabbi who works primarily in Chaplaincy, and even more accurately, mostly with elderly and Hospice patients.

I have a great deal of experience in Conversion matters as well, and am a Mashgiach to a Kosher restaurant in the Los Angeles area.

My personal website may be found at www.rabbiabrams.org, and my Chaplaincy site is at www.mrcsonline.org.

I look forward to your questions!

--Rabbi Alan Abrams
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lzbthcldwll



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Join date : 2012-11-11

PostSubject: Re: Ask a Rabbi~   Mon Nov 19, 2012 3:10 pm

I think that makes sense.. and I know that even when I do start the conversion process there will be charges for classes etc. I get that completely. People's time and education is worth $$.

I responded because an invitation was put out there... not because I was begging.

I am quite content for now to learn about different mitzvah and to try and observe and practice to the best of my ability. Like I said I don't know when I will be able to get closer to a synagogue so I will leave that up to Gd
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Debbie B.

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PostSubject: Re: Ask a Rabbi~   Mon Nov 19, 2012 3:51 pm

I wasn't trying to discourage you from seeking help from a remote rabbi; I just wanted you to know to expect costs. Working with an online rabbi isn't ideal, but it might serve your needs now and help you to learn more so that you can even just make a more informed decision about whether it makes sense for you to move to continue the process of conversion.

There is a lot that you can learn from reading though. Note that part of any conversion process even if you work in-person with a rabbi requires lots of reading anyway, so you can think of it as getting started on the process. My favorite general overview of Judaism (recommended to me by my own sponsoring rabbi) is:
Jewish Literacy by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin.
A really good internet resource is: My Jewish Learning It has material about Judaism for all different levels of learning.

Both of the above sources are especially good because they give information for the full range of Jewish denominations and observance.
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lzbthcldwll



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PostSubject: Re: Ask a Rabbi~   Mon Nov 19, 2012 4:28 pm

Yep - and that was what I was looking for. Reading assignments. That was what I asked each of the Rabbis that I emailed for ... suggested readings. But I guess they dont want to open a pandora's box of questions and I get that.

I will check out the books you suggested. Thanks
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Debbie B.

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PostSubject: Re: Ask a Rabbi~   Mon Nov 19, 2012 4:56 pm

This weblink is a good place to start: Interfaith Family's Guide to Conversion
It has great basic information and includes reading lists for the three major denominations of Judaism.

More specific reading lists:

Here is a list of books to read from a website for for conversion to Judaism through a traditional Conservative program. It is not an online program, but the book list might be helpful for you: Center for Conversion to Judaism

This webpage from another Conservative conversion program has a reading list:
Anshet Emet Jews by Choice program Also check out that programs "action steps" to give you an idea of the learning and lifestyle changes expected of converts by Conservative rabbis: Conversion Action Steps

Here is a reading list for Orthodox Conversion: Orthodox Conversion to Judaism reading list But I think that only the books in the first "general" category of this list will be accessible for beginners reading on their own.

And here is the webpage for conversion information from the Union for Reform Judaism: URJ Conversion
The URJ reading list concentrates more on the conversion choice itself than on Jewish observance.
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Mychal

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PostSubject: Re: Ask a Rabbi~   Mon Nov 19, 2012 5:57 pm

Here is the reading list that I'm doing right now for my (Conservative) conversion class. Note: some of the weekly reading texts are not listed in the required books list, because they are supposed to be handouts. Also, the "Sabbath" book is listed in the required book section, but not in the weekly class; all of it is supposed to be read by the Sabbath study week.

Required Books:

JPS Hebrew-English TaNaKH
Siddur Sim Shalom (Conservative prayer book; use whatever is in line with your preferred denomination)
Jewish Dietary Laws (published by the Rabbinical Assembly and United Synagogue)
Diamant, Anita and Howard Cooper, Living A Jewish Life
Geffen, Rela, ed. Celebration and Renewal: Rites of Passage in Judaism
Heschel, Abraham Joshua, The Sabbath
Kushner, Harold, To Life! A Celebration of Jewish Being and Thinking
Scheindlin, Raymond, A Short History of the Jewish People
Telushkin, Joseph, Jewish Literacy

INTRODUCTORY SESSION:
Our Journeys, Our Goals
Our God and God of our Ancestors
Tzelem Elokim: Central Principle of Judaism

THE WRITTEN TORAH:

TaNaKH (Torah, Prophets, Writings)
Kushner, To Life! pp. 17-48
Telushkin, Jewish Literacy #1, 338, #2-13

THE ORAL TORAH:

Mishnah, Talmud, Midrash
Reading Troubling Biblical Texts
Telushkin, #82-84, #246
Optional reading: Steinsalz, Adin The Essential Talmud pp. 3-9, 266-271

BRIT: Covenant Between God and Humanity

Dorff, Elliot, Mitzvah Means Commandment, pp. 1-12, 59-63, 81-96
Heschel, Abraham Joshua, Between Man and God, pp. 155-161
Hartman, David, A Living Covenant, pp. 24-25
Prager, Dennis and Joseph Telushkin,Nine Questions People Ask About Judaism, Question #2

MITZVOT BEN ADAM L’HAVEIRO: Mitzvot Between People

Diament pp. 68-78
Telushkin #285, 255-260, 262, 265-6, 269-280
Prager, Dennis and Joseph Telushkin,Nine Questions People Ask About Judaism, Question #3
Heschel, Abraham Joshua, "No Time for Neutrality"

SHABBAT Laws and Practices

Telushkin #314-317
Diament and Cooper, pp. 33-65
Greenberg, Yitz, The Jewish Way, pp. 127-181
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Debbie B.

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PostSubject: Re: Ask a Rabbi~   Mon Nov 19, 2012 6:57 pm

That's a great list Mychal. How many total class sessions are in your conversion class?

Much of the "Jewish Dietary Laws" book can viewed online:
Google Books: The Jewish Dietary Laws
I really like the first chapter "The Problem of Understanding" which can all be read online through the Google Books link. I read it after I had already made the commitment to keep strictly kosher, but I felt that if anyone who has ever asked me truly wanted to understand why I keep kosher, I guess this chapter would come close to explaining my feelings about it. However, most people who ask are usually either challenging me because they think it is foolish or are satisfied with the simpler explanation: "because when I converted to Judaism, I accepted that requirement as part of a 'package deal' and I have found it to be personally meaningful"

It seems that you can check out a number of the above books through Google Books. You can't see all the pages, but you can get a good idea of what the book is like to help you decide if it would be worth buying. Here are some links and you can do your own search of other books from any Google Books link.

Mitzvah Means Commandment
Jewish LIteracy
Living a Jewish LIfe
The Sabbath
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: Ask a Rabbi~   Tue Nov 20, 2012 12:42 am

How far from a congregation do you currently live?
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maculated

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PostSubject: Re: Ask a Rabbi~   Tue Nov 20, 2012 12:50 am

Wow, seeing that list makes me wish I still had the Orthodox list the RCC gave me when I applied there.
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Mychal

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PostSubject: Re: Ask a Rabbi~   Tue Nov 20, 2012 7:25 pm

We're going to do between 6 and 8. I think the rabbi is going to be adding a class just on kosher, because he realized he left it off the list, and I think we need a class just on the prayers, because that's pretty much the totality of our questions: When do you step forward? Why bow to the sides? Why is part of the Amidah silent, but the other parts not? Why is it silent at all? What can we do without a minyan? What/how do we pray three times a day?

I think we all grasp the big concepts, because all of us decided to become a Jew a year or more ago and have studied the theological aspects; it's the technical stuff we're interested in, especially since we're going Conservative/Orthodox and it's harder to find info on the nuts and bolts than on the broad concepts of Judaism.
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maculated

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PostSubject: Re: Ask a Rabbi~   Tue Nov 20, 2012 8:03 pm

Mychal, I suggest you pick up any and all of the books out there by Reuven Hammer. He is a conservative Rabbi who write great stuff on "nuts and bolts."
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