A PERSONAL JOURNEY: A PERSONAL CHOICE excerpt from the statement by a woman at her conversion/adoption ceremony
...I often wished that I could do a cultural conversion to Judaism – to fully join and belong to the Jewish people just as much as someone doing a traditional religious conversion; but without making a religious commitment that I did not really mean...
...the best thing for me about finding the City Congregation was that finally, after all these years, I’d come upon what I’d been wanting for so long: a secular, humanistic Jewish community with its own tradition of conversion to Judaism in a way that I came to see would be very meaningful to me.....
...I am looking forward to now living life as a Jew, and experiencing how from today on, my new Jewish identity will shape who I am, what I do with this precious life, and who I become.
We welcome individuals who want to join the Jewish people by identifying with our history, heritage, and hopes for the future. We believe that identification as a Jew is a statement of self-affirmation. Some have chosen this path through their marriage to a Jewish partner, sometimes before the wedding but not infrequently, many years later. Others have made this statement on their own independent of any personal relationship. Whether one formally joins the Jewish people or not, the non-Jewish members of our families are fully welcome to participate as members of our communities.
For Humanistic Judaism, the term "conversion" is actually no longer considered appropriate to describe this transformation. "Conversion" describes a religious, even mystical act, brought on by the exchange of one set of beliefs for another and often accompanied by a transformative ritual. We prefer to characterize the event that welcomes the newcomer as an "adoption into the Jewish family."
Generally, the process begins with a course of study and immersion in Jewish culture that culminates in a ceremony of affirmation. When a person declares him or herself to be Jewish it is important for the individual to gain public confirmation of his or her private declaration. It is equally important for the community to have the opportunity to embrace a newcomer with joy and enthusiasm. We are all enriched by these experiences.
For more information, contact Rabbi Peter Schweitzer, New York City's only Humanistic rabbi. Call 212-213-1002 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.