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Foundations of Conversion

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Rabbi Maury Kelman




Foundations of Conversion


Sunday 10:00PM
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Course Description

This 8-part series will examine the fundamentals of giyur (conversion).  We will first look at the historical foundations of conversion, tracing perceptions and laws of conversion from the Talmud to the great medieval commentators, and through modern times.  We will discuss what an Orthodox giyur entails in modern times, while reviewing both the philosophical and Halakhic (legal) foundations of Judaism that ensure a successful conversion.  We will also briefly discuss some of the sociological issues inherent within conversion, and hear from a convert about her experiences both before and after becoming Jewish.  This course is designed for people contemplating conversion who would like a better understanding of the process and expectations, but is open to anyone who would like to learn more about the intricacies and experiences of giyur.

 

The cost of this course is $50.


 

Disclaimer: This course is a wonderful opportunity for those considering and preparing for Jewish conversion to study Torah under Orthodox auspices with WebYehsiva.org and Route613. This is NOT online conversion, nor are we a Beit Din (rabbinical court) which conducts conversion. Students who complete the entire series can receive a letter attesting to their participation.

 

Route 613 – Your Route to GeRut, provides a comprehensive conversion program for approximately 60 conversion candidates each year. The program is comprised of three weekly classes, and a variety of extra-curricular activities, including Shabbatonim, chesed activities and trips to places of Jewish interest. We hold shabbatonim for the students two to three times per year to get them to experience Shabbat and community first-hand. By offering an intensive Orthodox conversion curriculum in a group study format, Route 613, directed by Rabbi Maury Kelman, allows students to learn at their own pace in a supportive environment. Approximately 25 candidates successfully complete their Orthodox conversion process annually. Over the past 13 years, approximately 300 students have converted under Rabbi Kelman’s direction, with many of them now raising families, strengthening the Jewish community throughout North America, Israel and beyond.

 


About Rabbi Maury Kelman
Besides directing Route 613, Maury Kelman is the rabbi of Congregation Agudath Achim in Bradley Beach, NJ, and chairman of Kedma, a student organization. He is also a lawyer who advises investment funds.


Class Resources & Information

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PREVIOUS CLASSESCLASS DESCRIPTIONHANDOUTSARCHIVES
January 7, 2018 10:00PM - 11:00PM
History of Conversion
Dear All,
 
I hope you are well.  I'm looking forward to the beginning of our course on the foundations of conversion this Sunday.  As it seems that we have a rather diverse crowd which has registered, I would love to hear a little about you and what you hope to learn from this course.  While the course is meant as a practical introduction to the topic, please let me know if there are specific areas that you would like to explore, and I will do my best to incorporate them into the course, or at least point you in the right direction to learn more.  I look forward to hearing from you.
 
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January 14, 2018 10:00PM - 11:00PM
Spiritual and Conceptual Aspects of Conversion

Dear All,

After exploring some of the historical antecedents of conversion last week, we now turn to the conception of conversion in Judaism.  Some of the issues we will explore in our second class include: How is it possible to join the Jewish people from a spiritual perspective?  What are the spiritual obstacles to conversion?  Can a convert acquire or share the Jewish past?  How does individual faith coalesce with communal responsibilities?

I look forward to learning with you.  And, again, please contact me if you have any questions or requests regarding the course.

 

-Maury Kelman

 

 
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January 21, 2018 11:30PM - 12:30AM
Jewish Views on Conversion - Pro, Con or ?

Dear All,

We will look at Talmudic viewpoints on conversion, aided by some of the great medieval commentators.  We will also try to understand the psychology, influenced by the historical experiences of Jews, behind Jewish views of conversion.  Among other texts, we will look at Yevamot 47a and Rambam's (Maimonides) letter to Ovadiah.

Just a reminder that we will begin class, just this week, at 4:30 PM EST (11:30 PM in Israel).  I look forward to seeing you.  And, again, if you have any questions or requests, please let me know at mk@route613.org.  Thank you.

 

-Maury Kelman

 

 
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January 28, 2018 10:00PM - 11:00PM
Halakhic (Legal) Requirements of Conversion

Dear Class,

Today, we will get into some of the weighty aspects of conversion, namely what is required to convert, and discuss the range of views in this most crucial area.  By looking closely at these requirements, we will better understand the process of conversion, and what a beit din (Jewish court) expects of converts.

Please continue to send me your questions and requests for issues that you would like to discuss in our course, as we reach the midway point today.  All the best.

 

-Maury Kelman

mk@route613.org

 

 
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February 4, 2018 10:00PM - 11:00PM
HALAKHIC (LEGAL) REQUIREMENTS OF CONVERSION, Part II

We will continue our discussion of the technical requirements of conversion, and also discuss whether there are any exceptions to these general rules.  We also plan to discuss what contemporary batei din (Jewish courts) expect of converts, examining various views to better understand the contemporary issues within conversion.  Time permitting, we will also look at the converts who may have played for the Eagles and Patriots, and give you advance knowledge of the score of today's Super Bowl based on such history and secret mystical teachings.

 
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February 11, 2018 10:00PM - 11:00PM
Contemporary Conversions

We will conclude our discussion of the contemporary beit din process and expectations of prospective converts, while reviewing some of the foundations of Judaism that converts are expected to know.  We will also discuss some of the controversies related to conversion in order to give you a better understanding of some of the issues recently in the news.

 
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February 18, 2018 10:00PM - 11:00PM
Converts, Up Close and Personal

Dear Class,

While I hope that you don't miss any class, whether live or archived, please make a special effort to join us today for our penultimate class when we welcome two former students who are converts, one male and one female, both now living in Israel.  They will discuss their process of conversion, including the very real ups and downs, their experience with the beit din and their integation into the Jewish world in the US and Israel.  You will have the opportunity to ask questions as we learn about conversion up close and live.  I look forward to seeing you later today.

 

-Maury Kelman

 

 
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February 25, 2018 10:00PM - 11:00PM
Unique Issues that Converts Face

First, I hope that you all enjoyed hearing the inspiring stories of our guests last week.  As mentioned, and as some of you have already contacted us, if you would like to speak directly to either guest, please let us know and we'll put you in touch.  

Sadly, we will be having our last class this afternoon/evening.  We will try to tie up any loose ends, while also exploring some of the unique issues, in Jewish law and beyond, that converts face, such as maintaining a kosher kitchen before and after conversion, marriage, and family issues post-conversion.  Even if you can't make the live class tonight, please let me know if you have any last questions, or if there are any issues that you'd like us to discuss.  I look forward to seeing you later today.

-Maury Kelman

 
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