Could you tell me what your general process is?
The process is on average 1 to 2 years, although to be fair, it is all dependent on the individual person. Some take longer, some less time. I try to customize it based on each person’s needs and goals.
Does it generally take a year for a person to learn all they need to convert?
The reason for one year at minimum is that I like for all of my students to see/experience/live a full holiday-cycle in the Jewish tradition. The second year focuses more on Jewish thought/philosophy, theology, the Holocaust/Zionism, and lifecycles. Learning and living Judaism is a life-long journey and through that lens, conversion is about beginning the journey. While it’s absolutely possible to learn the basics in the first year, including writing your spiritual autobiography and personal theology, it’s also important that we create a process that works for you. The first year will get you going on your journey, and hopefully inspire you to keep on learning.
Do your students take a basic Judaism class? If yes, with you or elsewhere?
All students are encouraged to take an intro to Judaism class, either with me or somewhere else locally. If one isn’t being offered, then I work with the student one on one.
In your one-on-one study how frequently do you meet with a student?
One-on-ones are either weekly or every other week depending on scheduling. I am also available to meet by phone and over Skype/FaceTime/Google Hangout etc.
Are there particular books you have your students read?
I ask everyone to start by reading Rabbi Wayne Dosick’s, Living Judaism as well as Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove’s, Jewish Theology in our Time. Students are also asked to read the weekly Torah portion. As time progresses, I have them read a book in each of the following categories: Jewish history, philosophy, Israel, and spirituality. Some book are a great fit and others are not. As our relationship develops, I’ll help you find additional reading material that will speak to where you are on your journey.
Where do you take your students for immersion and beit din?
I do batei din at the mikvaot in San Francisco, Oakland and Los Gatos. Just depends on scheduling and logistics.
When someone contacts you and says they want to convert do you turn them away 3 times?
Absolutely not. I follow Hillel and welcome them in. The rest is commentary and then we start learning.