Conversion to Judaism at Menorah

Initial enquiries
Menorah welcomes enquiries from people who wish to explore conversion to Judaism. We also welcome visitors and those who want to learn more about Reform Judaism, Jewish culture and the Menorah community.

For visitor enquiries please contact the Menorah Office  0161 428 7746.

For enquiries regarding conversion the first step is to contact Rabbi Fabian Sborovsky and arrange a visit to explore whether it feels right for you. The rabbi will discuss your personal circumstances and agree the next steps with you. Whilst we have an agreed programme and a process, we recognise that each person’s journey is unique.

The process of conversion is in accordance with the procedure of the Beit Din (Rabbinic Court) of the Movement for Reform Judaism. We suggest you look at their web pages prior to contacting Rabbi Fabian.

Our Rabbi and community offer guidance and support to those who embark on a course of conversion to Judaism.

The conversion process has three main elements: Jewish learning, Jewish living and developing a personal Jewish identity.

Jewish learning is addressed in part by attending our three-term Access Course, by preparatory reading about the subjects we will discuss, and learning to read and understand some Siddur (prayerbook) Hebrew.

Jewish living means participating in the life of the Menorah community. You will be expected to attend Sabbath Services on a weekly basis and a full annual cycle of Jewish festivals. Menorah offers a wide range of religious, cultural, educational and social and outreach activities. We will work with you to ensure that you have the opportunity to engage with a range of these activities and to understand and experience Jewish community in its wider sense.

Developing Jewish identity is a very personal journey. The Rabbi and community will be available to discuss your experience and guide and support you.

The Reform Beit Din
Once you have completed formal requirements and at the discretion of the Rabbi the candidate will be invited to attend an interview with the Movement for Reform Judaism Beit Din. The Beit Din, a Rabbinical Court, will interview you and will decide on the formal outcome of the conversion process.

Thanks for your time in reading the above. We are happy to answer your questions.

How long does the process take?
The process is likely to take a minimum of 15 months, but probably 16-24. We ask that you attend the community and ensure it is comfortable for you for a period prior to enrolling on the Access Course, which has three entry points in September, January and May.

Becoming Jewish usually entails changes in your daily, weekly and annual routines and these take time to explore and absorb. It is a decision for life. It is a process that we hope you will find enjoyable and fulfilling and in which members of the Menorah community will support you.

When will I go to the Beit Din?
The Rabbi can recommend you to the Reform Beit Din and schedule an appointment provided the following requirements have been met: you will need to complete the Access course, achieve a comfortable level of Hebrew reading, and have regularly attended Shabbat, festivals and services throughout the year. Rabbi Fabian will have discussed your evolving commitment to and experience of the community and your personal Jewish identity. This is to ensure that you feel ready and comfortable, and that conversion is the right path for you. The decision to present a candidate to the Beit Din is at the rabbi’s discretion.

What will happen at the Beit Din?
You will travel to London to the Sternberg Centre, the headquarters of the Movement for Judaism. There you will meet with four Rabbis, members of the Assembly of Reform Rabbis, who will discuss your journey with you and decide if they feel the time is right for you to be accepted into the community of Israel. A member of Menorah and some of your own family and friends will accompany you. (In some instances, due to disability or illness, the Beit Din can see you in Manchester).

Do I need a circumcision?
Adult males need to provide written proof of circumcision, prior to recommendation to the Beit Din. Rabbi Fabian can provide advice on this process.  In certain circumstances where the procedure would pose a serious risk to health this may not be a requirement. If this were the case a report from a registered medical practitioner would be required.

Is immersion in a Ritual Bath a requirement?
Immersion, Tevillah, in the Ritual Bath, Mikveh is a requirement that usually takes place at the Sternberg Centre following acceptance by the Beit Din.

Is there any ceremony at Menorah?
Following authorisation by the Bet Din and immersion in a Mikveh you will have a private welcoming ceremony at Menorah at which you will be given your Conversion certificate.

Will my Conversion be recognised by other Jewish communities?
A conversion performed under the auspices of the MRJ Beit Din will be recognised by progressive synagogues worldwide, but unfortunately not by Orthodox streams of Judaism. If the convert is male and no brit milah (circumcision) is carried out then the conversion may not be recognised by Masorti Judaism in the UK.

How much will all this cost?
There is a modest charge for people who aren’t Menorah members to attend the Access Course and Siddur Hebrew classes.

The cost of Brit Milah (circumcision) is met by the candidate. The cost for this procedure can vary significantly. We may be able to recommend details of mohels who would discuss the procedure and any costs with you.

In addition the Beit Din charges a fee, available at time of enquiry. You would need to pay for your fares to London and any accommodation if you decide to stay overnight.

Menorah never wishes to exclude people from membership of the community or from learning due to cost, so if these fees are problematic we are happy to discuss them.

I want to plan a Jewish wedding. When can I arrange this?
Couples should not plan a wedding expecting the conversion to be completed by a particular date. We encourage anyone planning a wedding to discuss this at the earliest opportunity with the Rabbi prior to setting a date.