The decision to convert to Judaism is a personal one. We are all on a spiritual path and as a Jewish community we respect the individuality of that path. Some people are born Jewish and remain strongly connected to Jewish community and practice. Others drift away from Judaism and may or may not return. While others begin life in another faith community or with no faith and then encounter Judaism later and decide to convert.
For those who are interested, all of our services and classes are open to guests and non-members and a great way to explore Judaism is by simply showing up. When ready, an individual should meet with one of our clergy. Contact our office to set up an apptointment.
The process usually also includes attendance at an Introduction to Judaism class. NVHC participates in a network of Reform synagogues that share such a class. The instructor Rabbi Stephanie Bernstein is a long time friend of our community and her reviews are stellar. Information about the classes can be found here.
In addition to the classes, conversion candidates usually attend services, classes and programs at NVHC, become a part of our community, and continue ongoing meetings with the clergy. This process lasts for about 1 year. At the end of the process, when the clergy and the candidate mutually agree that the time has come, the conversion itself begins. On an appointed date, the candidate will meet with a beit din of three rabbis or cantors (often our NVHC clergy and Rabbi Bernstein), and then immerse in the mikveh (ritual bath). We do not require circumcision or hatafat dam brit. We invite converts to join the congregation on a Friday following the conversion for a public declaration of faith and presentation of a Hebrew name. This last ritual is optional.
Conversion is an amazing experience and a once in a lifetime spiritual experience. Please contact us with any questions.
A Special Note about Children
NVHC follows the Reform Movement’s 1983 decision on the children of interfaith couples. That decision states that any child with 1 Jewish parent (father or mother), being raised as a Jew, is considered Jewish. While Judaism traditionally recognizes as Jewish only the children of a Jewish mother, NVHC does not question our families beyond their decision to raise their children Jewish.
Some families chose to convert children for the sake of clarifying their status in the eyes of traditional Jews or if the child is adopted. We happily facilitate such conversions and join them with a baby naming or name presentation ceremony. This is done with a trip to the mikveh. Parents interested in converting children should contact our office to set up an appointment with the clergy.