Basic Requirements

There are 2 basic requirements for women and 3 basic requirements for men when converting to Judaism.

Circumcision – ברית מילה (men only)

A defining feature of becoming a Jewish man is circumcision. In Genesis Chapter 15, Gd commanded an elderly Abraham to circumcise himself and all other men in his household. Henceforth, all Jewish baby boys are circumcised on the 8th day, provided that is medically permitted. All male converts must also be circumcised. If a conversion candidate was previously circumcised, a ceremonial droplet of blood will be drawn to fulfill the obligation. This is called hatafat dam brit. A beit din (three rabbis who serve as the conversion judges) will observe the full circumcision or ceremonial one.

Accepting the Yoke of the Commandments – קבלת עול מצוות

Each candidate must accept and internalize the responsibility of the commandments, be they of Biblical or Rabbinic origin or halachically (legally) binding customs, as incumbent upon them to observe and follow. By making such a commitment, the candidate for conversion commits to keeping the commandments to the best of their ability, like other observant Jews. This acceptance comes with the belief that observance of these commandments is accompanied by rewards for their fulfillment and Divine punishments for their violations. While it is beyond the scope of this space to define such Divine reward and punishment, it is important to accept this basic framework. The commandments become a guiding life force; a pathway in which to walk through the world. While there is of course understanding that those who are new to observance have incomplete knowledge and will occasionally make mistakes, willful violation of the commandments is incompatible with a sincere acceptance of the yoke of the commandments. The candidate makes this acceptance upon themselves moments before they immerse in the mikveh to finalize the conversion. The acceptance is done in the presence of the beit din. ­­­­­­

Immersion in the Mivkeh – טבילה במקוה

Each candidate must immerse in a kosher mikveh as the final step of the conversion process. This immersion must take place in such a manner where one’s whole body is immersed in the mikveh waters simultaneously. Blessings (Brachot) are said after the first immersion and are followed by subsequent immersions.