What online resources did we use in our journey to conversion to Judaism?
Movies are a great way to learn about Judaism. You can learn both religious and cultural aspects of Jewish community. Take a look at a new blog that reviews Jewish films as learning vehicles. Reviews are written by Rabbi Ruth Adar, and she just added reviews of "Yentl" and "Defiance." You can find them here.
Websites we have used:
MyJewishLearning.com has been HUGE for me. I'm on that site all the time. It's fantastic for the holidays. The seder I used for Tu Bishevat came from My Jewish Learning.
The Jewish Heritage Online Magazine is a terrific site we just discovered.
Where to start... I'm kind of a junkie when it comes to collecting website lists. Here is a list of those that I have found interesting.
My favorite general website for my level of understanding is the Wikipedia entry on Judaism.
See the sidebar on the right below the photo -- it has a zillion links, very handy for a beginner.
For the calendar : www.HebCal.com. Includes a perpetual Jewish calendar. Look up the Jewish date for any day in history, or use it to figure out when Passover falls next year.
We also sign up to receive emails.
In addition to books and websites, I have found daily/weekly/monthly e-mails to be very, very helpful, in a sense moreso than books or the web because so many incoming emails are a constant reminder of Jewishness. I encourage newbies to sign up for a variety of emails, so that they get a cross-section of opinion and interests delivered daily or whenever. I currently get these:
10 Minutes of Torah from URJ
Daily news from Israel
Progessive Judaism Info
Orthodox point of view
Orthodox point of view
Berkeley Renewal point of view
Daily Hebrew word
Bay Area Planet Jewish sends out weekly reminders of events going on in the area and is quite informative about what different organizations are doing out there in the community. I’ve noticed that there are a lot of orthodox sites. The challenge as a beginner is sorting out the movements and their perspective on a particular Jewish concept. Some of the Orthodox sites I use are:Torah.orgAish.org For the Reform movement, the Union for Reform Judaism site is excellent – www.urj.org. They are useful in finding the weekly portion and a drash on it. The umbrella site for Conservative Judaism, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, is not as accessible as I’d like. But here it is: USCJ.org
It was easier for me to get a feel for Conservative Judaism at the sites of local Conservative synagogues like:
Netivot Shalom in Berkeley
Beth Sholom in San Francisco
Kol Emeth in Palo Alto
Remember that nothing beats going into a synagogue and experiencing it for yourself. If you want to visit a synagogue and would rather go with someone who is a member there, email us and one of us will be happy to host you at our shul.
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