|So, you have questions?
Who attends the JDI Pathways to Judaism Program?
People in interfaith relationships wanting to know more about Judaism, individual spiritual seekers considering conversion to Judaism, born Jews looking to learn more, and the ‘Jewishly curious’ are all people who have taken, and are welcome at the Pathways program.
Is the class appropriate for someone who was born and/or raised Jewish?
While we welcome all, most of our participants are contemplating conversion.
What if I’m not planning to convert or am not sure?
While most of our students are contemplating becoming Jewish, some are just interested in learning more about Judaism. Conversion to Judaism is not a requirement of the program. Some of our participants convert, while others ultimately decide that conversion is not for them. We welcome our students wherever they are on the spectrum, and are happy to maintain contact with them, whatever their personal decision on conversion.
Is the program friendly to LGBTQ individuals and couples?
Absolutely! The Pathways program has worked with a number of LGBTQ individuals and couples over the years, and are proud to have them as part of our community.
Do I have to learn Hebrew?
Our program includes some very basic Hebrew. Our goal is for you to gain enough Hebrew reading skills to feel more comfortable at a traditional synagogue service or Passover Seder. If you are Israeli or have strong Hebrew, we welcome your skills and talents and invite you to help our other students. We recommend that all of our students take an additional Hebrew class after completion of the Pathways program.
I live in ________. Can I convert through the Pathways Program? (We have been contacted by people in Idaho, Washington State, Norway, Bangkok and other locations!)
As wonderful as our course of study may be, one cannot simply take a course and graduate Jewish. Judaism has to be lived and experienced in community. Our class is but one part of the process. Connection to a local rabbi and community is crucial. Because of this and to maintain the integrity of our program, JDI only assists with the conversion of adults who reside in the Greater Boston area who have a local rabbi and Jewish community.
How does converting to Judaism work?
Each Pathways to Judaism section has a session at the Mayyim Hayyim Mikveh ritual bath and Education Center to learn in detail all the steps of the conversion process, from the meeting with the beit din to the immersion itself, as well as circumcision. A panel of former students is also present to share their experiences and answer questions. Completion of the Pathways Program (all classes, the support sessions with our social worker, and meetings with your sponsoring rabbi) fulfills the learning prerequisites for conversion via the standards of the Rabbinical Assembly. Once you finish the course and have the support of your sponsoring rabbi, you are eligible to seek entrance into the Jewish Community.
In that case, I’m looking for a rabbi to sponsor me for conversion. Can you help?
Consider us your concierge to the Jewish community! We will happily connect you to a local rabbi and Jewish community (synagogue, Hillel, Minyan). We work with rabbis and communities across Eastern Massachusetts and even New Hampshire.
What Happens During my Meetings with my Sponsoring Rabbi?
Every Sponsoring rabbi is different. Some will have a supplemental curriculum they will want you to complete. Others use their meeting times to explore a topic in more detail with you. All will use the time to check in with you and help guide you through the issues that arise when contemplating choosing Judaism. Consider your sponsoring rabbi your personal guide on your Jewish journey. All sponsoring rabbis will require that you be an active member of their Jewish community.
I’m not in the Pathways Program but am connected to a local rabbi and synagogue. Can you assist with my Conversion?
Each year, trusted local Conservative rabbis find themselves working with students who for logistical reasons can’t make a Pathways class, or who have significant Jewish learning already. After working with these students, these rabbis often call JDI to assist in organizing the conversion, which we are happy to do.
Is There a Requirement for Attending Services and Participating in Jewish Practice?
Each sponsoring rabbi has his or own requirements for attending services. It is important to regularly attend services, especially Saturday Morning Shabbat and Holiday services. You will also be asked to engage in Shabbat and Kashrut (Kosher) observances. Recognizing that it can be difficult to access the traditional prayer service, JDI runs at least two classes on Jewish prayer each year. Sometimes this happens as a weeknight class, and other times as a Saturday Morning “Learner’s Service.” Please also check with your sponsoring rabbi, as your local synagogue or Hillel may have similar programs available.
I’m in a relationship with/engaged to/married to/it’s complicated with someone who is Jewish already. Should they come to class with me?
YES! While only you are potentially converting, this is very much a journey you are taking with your partner. Many of our (born) Jewish students credit their experience with Pathways as strengthening both their Jewish identity and their connection to their partner. We feel this is so important that we require married and engaged couples to register as a couple and attend all part of program together.
Are you Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, what…?
Our Pathways to Judaism program follows the standards and practices of Conservative Judaism and the Rabbinical Assembly (RA), and are taught by Conservative (RA) affiliated rabbis in good standing. While most of our students work with Conservative rabbis or non-affiliated rabbis working in Conservative synagogues, we also have area Reform and Reconstructionist rabbis who send their students to us because of the quality and rigor of our program. We certainly have graduates who identify every way from Reform to Orthodox, and of course Conservative. Please note that while JDI assists in arranging conversions, we are not an authorizing body. All conversions are done under the authority of your sponsoring rabbi.
What happens if I miss a class?
Life happens, and occasionally everyone misses a class from time to time. We ask that you not miss more than three classes. If you do miss, we ask that you review the missed material with your sponsoring rabbi.
Will my conversion be recognized in Israel?
This is a good question, and the answer is a bit complicated. Our conversions are recognized by the Government of Israel for those making aliyah, or moving permanently to Israel under the Law of Return. That said, once in Israel you may experience bureaucratic issues with life cycle events, such as getting married in the country. Every case is different so please contact Rabbi David for more information. We can also connect you to Conservative (Masorti) rabbis in Israel who can assist you. Birthright Israel, a free 10-Day trip to Israel for those 26 and younger recognizes our conversions and a number of our graduates have taken this trip.
How do I register?
It's easy to register online!
How much does it cost?
Our highly subsidized tuition is $325 for an individual, $650 for a couple. Books, which can be purchased online, run about $50. Couples need only purchase one set of books. We never turn away students for financial reasons. Call us to discuss payment plans, scholarships and other options.
When is payment due?
We ask for a 50% deposit with registration, with the balance due the first class. We are also happy to make a payment plan with you. Class tuition is refundable up to the third class.
Do you offer financial aid for tuition?
Yes, we are able to offer scholarships and payment plans to ensure that this experience is open to all. Please call us at (617) 219-9775 for a confidential conversation. Please also discuss with your sponsoring rabbi as he or she might also have access to scholarship funds.
How much do the Conversion Rituals Costs?
JDI is all about welcoming. Getting a bill for $1,000 to pay the three rabbis and cover a large Mikveh fee, which is common in many parts of the country, is not what we call “Welcoming.” Mayyim Hayyim has a suggested $90 donation, but through our partnership with them we are able to cover this fee. One cost not covered is for men requiring full (as opposed to token) circumcision.