Conversion

Adults

The decision to convert to Judaism is deeply personal and individual. We are all on a spiritual path and as a Jewish community we respect the individuality of that path. Some people are both 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 choose to convert.

For those who are interested in conversion, we invite you to join us at any of our services or classes. This is a great way to begin exploring Judaism. When you are ready, you can meet with one of our clergy in order to discuss what conversion will look like for you. Please contact our office to set-up an appointment with one of our clergy.

As a part of the conversion process at NVHC, we ask our candidates to participate in an Introduction to Judaism class. NVHC participates in a network of Reform synagogues in Northern Virginia that share such a class. Information about these classes can be found here.

In addition to the Intro to Judaism classes, conversion candidates usually attend services, classes, and programs at NVHC, become a part of our community, and continue ongoing meetings with one of our clergy. This process lasts for approximately one year. At the end of the process, when the clergy and candidate mutually agree that the time has come, the conversion itself begins. On an appointed date, the candidate will meet with a beit din (often comprised of our NVHC clergy and/or other Reform clergy from the area), and then immerse in the mikveh (ritual bath). We do not require circumcision or hatafat dam brit. Following your conversion, we then invite you to join the congregation on a Friday night for a public declaration of faith and presentation of a Hebrew name. This last ritual is optional.

A Special Note about Children

NVHC follows the Reform Movement’s 1983 decision on the children of interfaith families. That decision states that any child with one Jewish parent (mother or father), being raised as a Jew, is considered Jewish. NVHC does not question our families beyond their decision to raise their children Jewish.

In instances where one or both parents are converting to Judaism, or wherein a child of non-Jewish biological parents has been adopted into a Jewish home, some families choose to convert their children for the sake of clarifying their status in the eyes of more traditional Jewish communities. We are 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 conversion for their children should contact our office to set up an appointment with one of our clergy.

APPOINTMENTS

To make appointments with our clergy, please contact us.