Wednesday, February 21, 2007


I spoke to the Rabbi yesterday, and he sent me the following today. I am already reading On Judaism, but I need to read the others.

Required Reading

If you have not read all three of these books, please do not call to schedule an appointment with the Rabbinic Panel.

· Understanding Judaism (Katz) date of completion

· To Be a Jew (Donin) date of completion

· On Judaism (Feldman) date of completion

► Suggested Reading

We highly recommend you read the following books as an important step in your conversion application.

· The Shabbos (Kaplan) please check if read

· The Sabbath (Gruenfeld) please check if read

· A Hedge of Roses (Lamm) please check if read

Syllabus Textbooks

The following books are required textbooks for all candidates who are accepted for study with an RCC tutor.

· The Laws of Berachos (Artscroll)

· The Laws of Kashrus (Artscroll)

· Artscroll Siddur (or another approved English prayerbook)

· Artscroll Chumash

· Book of Our Heritage (Feldheim)

· Illustrated Guide to Jewish Law Shabbos, or The 39 Melachos (Chait)

Syllabus for Candidates for Conversion

NOTE: Unless otherwise stated, the convert is required to master all of the following areas. The tutor should sign and date the appropriate sections when the study of that unit has been completed.


Required text

· The Laws of Berachos (Artscroll)

  1. Various blessings on foods

  2. Beracha Acharona

  3. Varietal blessings, such as thunder, oceans, gomel, etc.


Date Signed

II.Taharat Hamishpacha

Preferred text

· Tutor will choose

  1. Taharat Hamishpacha – in depth.

  2. Yichud

  3. Laws of Haircovering


Date Signed

III.Shabbat and Yom Tov

Required texts:

· The Shabbos Kitchen, and

· The 39 Melachos (Chait), or Illustrated Guide to Halacha

  1. Concepts and examples of 39 Melcahot

  2. D’Oraissa and D’Rabbanan

  3. Categories of Muktza

  4. Cooking and warming foods

  5. Candle lighting

  6. When cooking is permitted on Yom Tov

  7. Kiddush, Havdalah, Lechem Mishnah, etc.


Required text

· Artscroll Siddur (or an equivalent English language siddur)

Recommended text

· The World of Prayer

  1. Requirements

  2. Priorities

  3. When and in what manner talking is prohibited

  4. Knowing way around siddur

  5. Additions and omissions on special occasions

  6. Understanding and ability to read basic Tefillos including:

  1. All of the Amidos

  2. Shma Yisroel (all paragraphs)

  3. Birkat Hamazon

  4. Al Hamichya

  5. Borei Nefashot

  6. Hallel

  7. Shabbat Services (particularly the structure of the services, and the meaning of major prayers)

V.For men only

How to do . . .

  1. Blessings on the Torah

  2. Kiddush and Havdalah

  3. Leading Birkat Hamazon

Laws of . . .

  1. Tzitzit and Tefillin

VI.The Jewish Calendar

Required text

· Book of Our Heritage (Feldheim)

  1. Knowledge of all the Yomin Tovim and fast days including:

  1. Meaning of the day

  2. All pertinent practical halachos


Required text

· The Laws of Kashrus (Artscroll)

  1. Understanding of kosher and glatt kosher meats

  2. Understanding of kosher cheese and cholov yisrael

  3. Separation of meat and milk, and waiting in between

  4. Common kitchen “shailot”

  5. Kashering

  6. Tevillat Keilim

  7. Taking Challah

  8. Bugs

  9. Meat and fish

  10. Kosher fish

  11. Stam Yinum

  12. Bishul Akum


  1. Study of the 13 Ikarim of the Rambam

  2. Mishneh Torah

  1. Yesodei HaTorah, perek 1 and part of 2

  2. Hilchos Teshuva 2, 3 5

  3. Hilchos Avodah Zarah, perek

We also recommend that you consider teaching select portions from works such as the Kuzari and Mesilas Yesharim, or other hashkafa/chasidus works of your choice.

IX.Torah Knowledge

Suggested text

· Artscroll Chumash

  1. The student is encouraged to attend classes as often as possible.

  2. The tutor should make a point of briefly mentioning the Parshat Hashavua on a weekly basis, and assigning reading of the Parsha as homework.

The above list is intended to focus on the halachot which the convert must master in detail. As far as other areas are concerned, the RCC’s (change to Beth Din?) standard is that the candidate for conversion must be knowledgeable in all matters of daily life, and sufficiently aware of when and how to ask a competent Rav when unusual circumstances arise.


Christian said...

Inspiring stuff. May G-d make it easy for both of us.

ybill said...

Second try... I would like to ask a couple questions about the conversion process. i received essentially the same syllabus as I am in the midst of conversion with the RCC.