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Dena

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PostSubject: Conversion Paperwork   Thu Sep 08, 2011 2:21 pm

When I completed my conversion I did not sign any paperwork or have anything drawn up to keep. Shouldn't there be some sort of paper documentation proving that I did in fact convert? Should I ask my Rabbi to get me something either the shul keeps or I keep (or both) in case I need it?
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Debbie B.

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PostSubject: Re: Conversion Paperwork   Thu Sep 08, 2011 3:45 pm

Yes, you should have some kind of document to certify your conversion. It could be useful if you should want to join a new congregation. Documentation might be requested for Jewish marriages officiated by Conservative rabbis. (Dena, I know that you are currently married, so you wouldn't expect to do that, but I'm noting it for general information.) The most likely reason that documentation would be needed is if you have children because their Jewish status will depend on yours. If they want to have a Jewish marriage, Conservative rabbis may ask for the ketubah of the couple's parents, which in your case does not pertain, but a conversion certificate would do the trick. The proof might also be needed if a descendant wants to make Aliyah. You should certainly ask your rabbi for some kind of documentation since you (or a descendant) may need such documentation at a time in the future when your rabbi and other members of the beit din aren't around any more. I think that the Reform and Conservative movements keep on file the information for converts so that they can verify their Jewish status for marriage or Aliyah.

An Orthodox friend advised me that we should be sure to keep track of my kids' conversion papers. (My kids were born before I converted, and we converted them when they were young, many years before my own conversion.) She told me that when her older brother was married by his Argentinian bride's Masorti rabbi, the rabbi asked for the groom's parent's ketubah. And his mom couldn't find it! Luckily, the rabbi who officiated the parent's wedding was still alive and could draw up a new document. Since my legal Jewish marriage wasn't until after my kids were born, my ketubah does not establish their Jewish identity, and my kids would need their conversion papers.

I have copies of three documents from my conversion. The first is a "Declaration of Faith" which I signed and then each of the three rabbis on the beit din signed (in both Hebrew and English). I don't think that document has any official significance other than being a reminder of that step in the conversion process. Then I have an English "Conversion Certificate of Acceptance into the Jewish Faith" and a Hebrew "תעודת גרות" both filled out and signed by the three rabbis in the appropriate language. I suspect that only the Hebrew certificate has Jewish legal significance.

All three forms were simply photocopies from a rabbi's manual with blanks to be filled in. The wording is somewhat old-fashioned (e.g. "righteous proselyte"), so it is probably from a manual that my sponsoring rabbi has had since his ordination in 1971. My rabbi wrote in the addition of "ושרה אמנו" to the form for my Hebrew name since it had only "בת אברהם אוינו". Some rabbis get more official-looking imprinted certificates for the purpose.


Last edited by Debbie B. on Thu Sep 08, 2011 4:52 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: Conversion Paperwork   Thu Sep 08, 2011 4:20 pm

Okay, I will talk to her about getting something for me. I had remembered you signed documents and I expected her to have something for me to sign but she didn't. I can keep a photocopy of it in my safety deposit box so as to make sure I always have a copy.
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rakhel



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PostSubject: Re: Conversion Paperwork   Sat Sep 10, 2011 9:06 pm

That's wild. and I think puts me in a sort of bind. All I have proving I'm Jewish is the Ketubah.


Not too sure what to make of that.
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: Conversion Paperwork   Sat Sep 10, 2011 10:30 pm

She did say she'd ordered something with my Hebrew name on it but had never received it. I don't think it was any sort of official document and I haven't heard about it since.

rakhel, could you get a document from someone in case you needed it?
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rakhel



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PostSubject: Re: Conversion Paperwork   Sat Sep 10, 2011 10:41 pm

No probably not. It was a reform conversion, if you could call it that, and our rabbi was highly unconventional. So if I wanted to prove my Jewishness, physically, I would probably have to convert, again. (Which you really don't want me to get into)

Rabbi Levy is a very unique individual. His sister married Chabad and he has a problem with Chabad. Not with the people but with the ideals. If he had not considered me Jewish, we wouldn't have had the Ketubah in the first place as he doesn't do intermarriages. So I am not entirely sure where that puts me, because the Conservative Rabbi near us is pretty much of the same mind as Levy is.
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PostSubject: Re: Conversion Paperwork   Sat Sep 10, 2011 11:12 pm

I'm not sure what mean you mean when you say the Conservative Rabbi is of the same mind? Do you and yosi attend a Chabad shul?
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rakhel



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PostSubject: Re: Conversion Paperwork   Sat Sep 10, 2011 11:35 pm

No. We attend a Conservative shul. We were, however, married by a reform rabbi who's sister married a Chabadnik.

When I say they are of the same mind, I mean that when we met the Conservative rabbi and he asked us if we were Jewish, we replied, "It depends on who you ask." (Which is true. Orthodox do not accept a reform conversion and may be hard pressed to accept a Conservative one).
When we said that,, he replied, "That could be said of a lot of Jews." The reform rabbi that married us has said that exact same thing.
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