On May 30th, several Sim Shalom Jews by Choice will celebrate Shavuot as the “newest” members of the tribe. Their conversion takes on special meaning for the Shavuot holiday which commemorates the giving of the Torah at Mt Sinai and rebirth. Drawn to Judaism for a variety of reasons the new faithful worked with Sim Shalom virtual Synagogue online conversion to fulfill their spiritual quest. Like Ruth, the Book of Ruth is read on Shavuot, they too chose to become a Jew, albeit their journey was simplified with cutting edge technology over the internet.
These Sim Shalom students did not know each other before meeting online through the monthly video conference gatherings or “Ask the Rabbi” sessions. They hail from different corners of the United States and Europe. Their independent study included immersion in Jewish prayer, holidays, rituals, and celebratory ceremony before an online Bet Din, all guided virtually by Sim Shalom’s Founder Rabbi Steven Blane.
The required Mikvah or ritual immersion is one step of the process that cannot be done through cyber space. Conversion students are asked to visit synagogues of varying denominations in order to explore Jewish worship to its fullest and reflect on how they see themselves as future Jews. Sim Shalom’s program does not require circumcision.