In the tradition of ancient Israel through the Age on Antiquity in Greek and Roman eras, Judaism has always welcomed sincere converts. One does not only convert to the faith. One also is joining the Jewish People, as part of the extended Jewish Family!
These days an unbelievable phenomenon is occuring all over the world, where we find thousands of people whose ancestors were forcibly converted in Spain and Portugal in the 14th and 15th centuries are now actively seeking their spiritual roots, and seek to reconnect with the faith of their fathers and mothers.
We welcome all those who are sincere in joining the faith and the people of Israel.
Once Rome officially became Christian in the 4th century, CE, it became a capital offense to seek conversion, or to aid and assist in offering conversions. Any town in which a conversion would be performed would risk the lives of all who lived in that town. It was not long after that we began to actively discourage people from becoming Jewish. It was, quite frankly, dangerous to one's health.
Today the Spanish Inquisition, where tens of thousands of Jews were burned at the stake, is now officially over, and Jews who hear the call of their inner voice are now free to return.
After meeting with the Rabbi and assessing one's commitment level and sincerity, there usually follows a study and observance period of one to two years, in order to attain a basic knowledge of Jewish literacy and familiarity with Jewish living and observance of the mitzwoth and minhagim (commandments and customs). The candidate for giyyur (conversion) is encouraged to take as many of the rabbi's classes as possible. In addition, we have a terrific Jewish library and we encourage the candidate to read as many books as possible. We even provide a resource list of many worthwhile books on a broad array of topics in Judaism with which to gain knowledge and Jewish literacy.
By the way, many of our most devoted and energetic members of our congregation are also converts to Judaism, and would be delighted to mentor you and help guide you through the process. You are not alone!
When the candidate feels ready, he or she meets with our Beit Din in Scranton, to be interviewed by our Rabbinic Tribunal, to discuss the candidates motivations and sincerity and depth of preparation.
Upon acceptance, he or she is given a new Hebrew name, as well as a difficult mitzvah and an easy mitzvah.
Females undergo a ritual immersion in the mikvah.
Males first undergo brit milah (circumcision), followed by immersion in the mikvah.
Males who are already medically circumcised would then undergo what is called hatafat dam brit,
whereby a drop of blood is drawn to signify ENTERING THE COVENANT.
Please schedule a meeting with the Rabbi to discuss your interest in conversion.
We wish you mazal tov and success as you begin this exciting journey.