A LETTER FROM RABBI BLANE
If you are considering converting to Judaism, consider Jewish Universalism (JU).
In our philosophy, G-d is the energy and source of all things and all faiths. JU’s have indeed been “chosen” to follow the traditions of our Jewish heritage, but G-d’s light and love for us is but one beautiful light among many. Jewish Universalism asserts that God equally chose all nations to be lights unto the world, and we have much to learn and share with each other. We can only accomplish “Tikkun Olam” by our unconditional acceptance of each other’s peaceful doctrines. We should never fear nor diminish in any way the paths of all peoples of the world.
As such, everyone is welcome to worship with us and participate in all of our rituals- including opening the Holy Ark, reading from the Torah and leading prayers. Still, to fully feel a part of the Jewish Community and to become Jewish Universalist, a course of study is required.
Our online program is designed to be thorough and convenient and may be completed at your own pace in as little as six months. In addition, monthly Online Study sessions are scheduled so you may learn, ask questions and participate in a group setting with your peers from anywhere in the world!
As part of the coursework you are asked to attend synagogues of different denominations. Rabbi Blane believes it is important to learn the differences and similarities and to decide where you fit. Sim Shalom and Rabbi Blane espouse Jewish Universalism but we honor all denominations and welcome is everyone.
Mikvah (ritual immersion) is highly significant, deeply spiritual and required. This can be accomplished in your own area at a local Mikvah, a lake or even the ocean. Circumcision or Hatafat Dam (drawing a drop of blood) is not required. More details will be available upon request.
Upon the satisfactory completion of study and after an interview with an Online Bet Din (comprised of three Rabbis), you will be issued a certificate of Jewish Conversion and welcomed into the Jewish Community during a live streamed Sim Shalom Service.
I hope you will consider converting to JU- a stream of Judaism that we believe is truly resonant, relevant and loving.
Rabbi Steven Blane
More Information About Our Program
Start your studies at ANY TIME and proceed at your own pace. All of our courses can be accessed online.
No travel is required! Study from wherever you are (in the United States only), all you need is Internet.
Our program is mostly self-directed and self paced. There are 8 online courses you will need to complete. Topics of discussion include but are not limited to:
- Holidays and Festivals
- Kashrut (Kosher Law)
- Jewish Symbols and their Meanings
- Jewish History
- Life Cycle Events
You will also attend a minimum of 4 online sessions (led by a facilitator) where you may ask questions you may have about the course. These are held monthly. At the end of your studies you will be mailed a certificate of conversion.
Fees for the course are:
- $118.00 per each unit – there are 8 in total (you will need to pay this fee before gaining access to each unit)
- $250.00 for the Bet Din (the Rabbis who oversee the final conversion process)
- Required books will need to be purchased (approximately $75)
If you would like to proceed please contact us by emailing at firstname.lastname@example.org
We will then send you a Letter of Understanding, set up a “navigation” session to show you how to access your online coursework….and your journey begins!
Denominations and the Sim Shalom Conversion Process
There is controversy within the Jewish Community over Conversion. You cannot count on an any particular Denomination’s Conversion to satisfy everyone. Our conversion, or a Reform or even Conservative conversion would typically not be acceptable in the Orthodox Jewish world.
Sim Shalom’s Jewish Conversion course of study is traditional in it’s process- study, Mikvah and Bet Din- but liberal in that we do not require men to undergo a circumcision or Hatfat HaDam Brit (exacting a drop of blood).
It is most important that you are comfortable within your Jewish Community. We are certain that G-d is pleased to welcome anyone to the Jewish faith regardless of their level of observance or denominational affiliation.
And please understand, if in the future you life’s journey leads you to a more traditional path of observance- additional study leading to a more traditional conversion would only be a blessing!