L'Hayim Conversion Programme
The New London Synagogue welcomes new converts and provides a programme leading to conversion by the European Masorti Beit Din (Jewish Court). As a community we are proud of the welcome we offer those in the conversion programme and we are delighted to see so many graduates of the programme playing such an important role in the community.
Jewish law, as spelled out in the Talmud and codes of Jewish Law sets a number of requirements to be met by the potential convert before being accepted. These include:
- mastery of a body of knowledge;
- a familiarity with and observance of a range of Jewish ritual obligations including Shabbat, Kashrut and participation in the prayer-life of the Synagogue; and
- a spiritual connection and a theological commitment to Jewish peoplehood and Jewish belief.
The actual process of conversion entails ritual immersion in a Mikvah (ritual bath), Brit Milah (ritual circumcision) - in the case of men - and accepting the obligation to observe the commandments (Mitzvot).
The professional team at New London work together to support conversion candidates as effectively as we are able. Initially you will be supported by the Rabbi's secretary, Frances Goldberg. Candidates subsequently meet with and receive as a sponsor either Rabbi Jeremy Gordon or Cantor Jason Green. Cantor Green manages the Hebrew programme. The Jewish studies curriculum, as well as the largest part of teaching, is delivered by our exceptional lead educator, Angela Gluck.
Classes are held on a weekday evening and provide a thoughtful study programme specifically tailored to the needs of conversion candidates and (where there is a Jewish partner) Jewish partners also. Hebrew classes are held in the earlier part of the evening and Jewish Studies continue after a short break. Candidates are required to complete the Hebrew curriculum, which many candidates complete in a year, and candidates and (where there is a Jewish partner) Jewish partners are expected to commit equally to come to the Jewish Studies. The Jewish Studies curriculum is 18 months.
Potential candidates are urged to understand at the very earliest point the seriousness with which we insist on regular Synagogue and class attendance as well as observance of Kashrut and Shabbat. Even if you feel entirely committed to being part of the Jewish people or a Jewish family, if you are not willing to take on a commitment to these elements of Jewish study and practice, the conversion programme at New London is probably not for you.
We are unable to accept, in the conversion programme, anyone in a relationship with a non-Jewish partner but we warmly welcome the full participation of any Jewish partners. Candidates without partners are expected to commit to seek only Jews as partners in the future.
We ask candidates to contribute financially at a level which offsets some of the costs of running the programme. Aside from the classes, this tuition fee also includes affiliation to the Synagogue, tickets for High Holy Days services and the support of the clergy and office staff. This sum does not include the Beit Din (court) fees payable at a later point in the programme. That said it is a fundamental principle of New London Synagogue that no-one will be denied access to Judaism or Jewish learning because of financial hardship. Jewish partners of candidates in the programme are expected to join the Synagogue as full members. Please contact Executive Director Jo Velleman for specific financial details.
If you would like to take the next step in pursuing conversion at New London please contact Rabbi Jeremy Gordon.
In your communication please ensure you include -
- a couple of sentences about yourself;
- a couple of sentences about your interest in Judaism; and
- your mobile phone number and your home address.
You are also invited to attend a Shabbat morning Synagogue service to understand a little more about the community. Attending a service will also be an opportunity to meet Rabbi Gordon, Cantor Green and other members of the programme.
The next step after attending a Shabbat service will be a meeting with either Rabbi Gordon or Cantor Green. This will be an opportunity for us to hear more about your interest in the programme and explain precisely how the programme works.
We receive a large number of initial approaches from those interested in conversion, and your assistance in providing us with the information in the manner set out above makes it easier for us to respond promptly and appropriately to your expression of interest. Thank you for your understanding.
Rabbi Jeremy Gordon