Story of Our Class

Rabbi Appelbaum served as the rabbi of the Greenpoint Shul in Greenpoint, Brooklyn in New York from 2009 through 2019. In 2010 one of the regular attendees met with Rabbi Appelbaum to share that though she understands herself to be Jewish and regularly attends services at our Orthodox synagogue, her father is Jewish, but her mother is not. She desired to be recognized by the larger Jewish community around the identity that she understood herself to be. She wished to walk the path of conversion, and asked what could be done to help. Shortly after that meeting, Rabbi Appelbaum met a wonderful couple of a Jewish Ashkenazi man who was in relationship with a non-Jewish Asian woman. They had been keeping Kosher and Shabbat for a few months but had not known how to begin the conversion process in a structured way. Seeing this growing need, Rabbi Appelbaum went about researching an educational structure to comprehensively teach these and other sincere individuals about Judaism and guide them through the process.

Soon after, Rabbi Appelbaum attended a wedding of members of his congregation, one of whom had recently converted. Being seated at the rabbis’ table at the reception, he inquired about how this process might work. At that wedding, Rabbi Elie Weinstock offered to share a curriculum that he received, often called the “Montreal questions”. Rabbi Appelbaum took these questions and adapted and expanded them to build out the curriculum that forms the backbone of the Judaism class today.

Since its inception, Rabbi Appelbaum has personally guided over 40 individuals through the conversion process. Twenty children and counting, thank Gd, have been born to members of the class.