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Conversion to Judaism

Conversion to Judaism

What of the non-Jew who wishes to convert to Judaism?


Any non-Jew can become a Jew by converting. Once he converts, he then becomes a Jew in every regard and his relationship with God is the same level as that of every other Jew.

Unlike many other religions, Judaism does not demand that all people convert to the religion. Maimonides explains that any human being who faithfully observes the "7 Laws of Noah" earns a proper place in heaven. The Torah of Moses is a truth for all humanity, whether Jewish or not.

As well, the Holy Temple did not just benefit Jews. When King Solomon built the Temple, he specifically asked God to heed the prayer of the non-Jew who comes to the Temple (1-Kings 8:41-43). The Jewish prophet refers to the Temple as a "House for all nations" (Isaiah 56:7). The Temple was the universal center of spirituality, a concentrated point where God-consciousness filtered down into the world.

In ancient times, the service in the Holy Temple during the week of Sukkos featured a total of 70 bull offerings. This, the Talmud explains, corresponds to each of the 70 nations of the world. In fact, the Talmud says that if the Romans (who destroyed the Temple) would have realized how much benefit they themselves were benefiting from the Temple, they never would have destroyed it!

But what about the non-Jew who does wish to convert to Judaism? According to the Code of Jewish Law (the "Shulchan Aruch"), there are three requirements for a valid conversion. The requirements are:

1) Mitzvahs ― He must believe in God and the divinity of the Torah, as well as accept upon himself to observe all 613 mitzvahs (commandments) of the Torah.

2) Milah ― Male converts must undergo circumcision by a qualified "Mohel." If he was previously circumcised by a doctor, he then undergoes a ritual called "hatafas dam".

3) Mikveh ― All converts must immerse in the Mikveh ― a ritual bath linked to a reservoir of rain water.

All of the above must be done before a court of three Jewish men who themselves believe in God, accept the divinity of the Torah, and observe the mitzvahs.

The conversion must be motivated for the sole purpose of getting close to God and His Torah, and not for ulterior motives such as money or marriage.

It is inadvisable for anyone to convert until he is able to accept the responsibilities a true conversion would entail.

There are two excellent books on the topic of conversion:

There are two excellent books which are helpful for conversion:

November 3, 2002

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Visitor Comments: 29

(27) Deborah, December 14, 2016 4:11 PM

Great Article

For sure, conversion is not to be taken lightly. But I honestly feel Judaism is the one religion that speaks to me on a very personal level, with a sound theology and meaningful Scriptures. I would not dream of converting for selfish benefits like marriage, money or freebies.

(26) Nicole, April 6, 2015 1:41 AM

Wanting to Convert

I'm 20 and have wanted to convert for the last 5 years. We recently moved to a town that actually has a synagogue (previously, the closest one was an hour away). I don't drive, so I haven't had a chance to visit it, and I'm a little concerned about how I might be perceived there. I'm learning as much as I can, but I still know I'd really stick out, and I don't know how I'd be accepted. In my heart I feel like a Jew - I was lead on this path through years of intensive prayer, and I know it's right for me, but I've never known a Jewish person in real life, and I'm really afraid of how I might be perceived. Any tips? Thanks!

(25) james, May 14, 2013 11:43 PM

learning torah

to become a jew !
there is so much to read and learn -that's why your article suggest's thinking deep before you enter to become a jew ! but saying that -as a non jew im very interested in judaism--torah !

(24) Judith, June 22, 2011 8:54 AM

My question -

In Israel many FSU immigrants convert to judaism with yes, the wrong drive, they are already civil-married to a jew, or the younger ones who serve in the army want to fit into Israeli society. I personally know N americans, europeans ect, who converted Ordothox and with time became lax with commandments to the point of ignoring shabbat and other basics. Are they still Jewish?

Mordechai, March 4, 2012 6:51 PM

Answer to the Question

Yes, those converts or still Jews. They, by not following all the commandments like they pledge to in front of a Beis Din, have become apostates, but they remain with the status of a Jew.

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