The process of Giyur

The process of converting to judaism might not be easy as it is to other religions, in fact, it requires a long and tiring procedure which includes a yearly course of studying judaism , to fully deny your previous belief, to meet with Beit-Din (Rabbinical Court), Mikveh (ritual bath / Immersion), and Hatafat Dam Brit (ritual circumcision or, if already circumcised, a ritual removal of a single drop of blood).

Converting to Judaism in 4 steps

Step 1

Finding a Jewish community and a Rabbi

As a first step you'll need to contact a nearby Jewish community, talk to Jews about their religion and research Jewish laws, history and customs. You'll need to figure out what you are getting into, and determine why you want to do it.
Be aware that Judaism is a major commitment which will affect every part of your life, will last as long as you live, and will even transfer to your children. Judaism is based on the commandments (of which there are 613 in total, though many are not applicable today) and the Thirteen principles. They should be your first step and the foundation of your Jewish faith.
If you are converting because of marriage, speak with your future husband/wife to determine the best course of action, including what denomination you will join. Not many Rabbis will convert people just because of marriage, the potential convert MUST be sincere and want to convert because of spiritual feelings and not just because of marriage.

Once you feel that you have sufficient reason to convert, make an appointment with a Rabbi to discuss the process. Each Rabbi belongs to different groupings or movements. The four major movements are Conservative, Orthodox, Reconstructionist, and Reform Judaism. It is important for potential candidates to understand the differences among these movement and choose which movement is right for them.

Be prepared for the Rabbi to try to dissuade you, or turn you away. Many Rabbis consider this part of their job. The goal is not to prevent honest seekers from converting, it is to test the individual's commitment, and make sure that becoming a Jew is truly what he or she wants.

If you are persistent, show that you know what you're getting into and are still committed to doing it, the Rabbi may eventually decide to start you on the path to conversion.

In general, though, Rabbis are extremely dedicated people who are both intelligent and religiously sensitive. They are Judaism's gatekeepers. They decide who can enter into Judaism. Given their central importance to a potential convert, it makes sense to visit several Rabbis and several synagogues to look for a compatible match.

Few possible questions that the Rabbi might ask you:


Step 2

Learning Judaism and The Religious court

Once you find a Rabbi, he will oversee your Judaism studying. Each Converts study Judaism in a variety of ways. Some work directly with a Rabbi, meeting regularly and fulfilling specific study assignments. Others attend formal Introduction to Judaism or conversion classes, often with their Jewish romantic partner. A typical course of study will include basic Jewish beliefs and religious practices, such as prayer services, the history of the Jewish people, the Jewish home, the Jewish holidays and life cycle, the Holocaust, and Israel, as well as other topics. The study of Hebrew is also included.

The period of study varies greatly. In general, the range is from six months to a year, although there are variations. Many Gentiles preparing to marry someone Jewish go through this process early so as to get married in a Jewish ceremony. A marriage between someone born Jewish and someone who becomes Jewish is a Jewish marriage, not an intermarriage. If this is a crucial issue, plan to begin study well before a wedding.

Usually during this study period, a Rabbi will ask that the person begin practicing Judaism according to the understanding of the movement. This can be a worthwhile time to explore Judaism. For example, even if a person does not ultimately plan to keep kosher (observe Jewish ritual rules about food), it is valuable to explore the rules for keeping kosher during this period of study.

The Religious court
Meeting at The Religious Court (Bet Din), which is officially oversees the formal conversion, will take place after learning, one part of the appearance will be to determine the Jewish knowledge of the conversion candidate. There might, for example be a question about the meaning of the Jewish Sabbath or about the Jewish belief in one God. These questions are not meant to trap candidates.

Individual Rabbis will provide guidance about how the Bet Din works because candidates are usually nervous during such questioning. In almost all cases the questions are simply meant to assess the sincerity of the candidate and to make sure the conversion was entered into freely. Often an oath of allegiance to the Jewish people is made.


Step 3

Circumcision and Immersion


The specific requirements for conversion and their order need to be discussed with a Rabbi. One requirement for males who wish to be converted by an Orthodox or Conservative Rabbi is circumcision, or Brit Milah. If a circumcision has already been performed, the Orthodox and Conservative movements require that a drop of blood be drawn as a symbolic circumcision. This ceremony is called Hatafat Dam Brit. The Reform and Reconstructionist movements generally do not require a circumcision as part of the conversion process.


Orthodox and Conservative Rabbis require both male and female conversion candidates to immerse themselves in a ritual bath called a Mikveh. This ceremony is called Tevillah. Reform and Reconstructionist Rabbis do not require the use of a Mikveh, but some highly recommend it. The Mikveh can be any body of natural water, though the term usually refers to a specific pool that is built for the purposes of ritual purification.
The equipment used varies according to the Mikveh. The immersion ceremony usually starts with cleaning the body as by a shower. The person is covered and the covering removed as the person enters the warm Mikveh waters, which are usually about four feet deep. (When the ceremony is done in a public place such as a lake the candidate wears a loose-fitting garment). Blessings are recited and the person goes bends into the water.
According to traditional Jewish law, three male witnesses must be present, although this rule has been reinterpreted so that, in some movements, Jewish females can be witnesses. When there are male witnesses and the candidate is female, the witnesses wait outside the Mikveh room and are told by a female attendant that the immersion has been completed and the blessings recited.

The Offering

In ancient times, conversion candidates brought sacrifices or offerings to the Temple in Jerusalem. After the Temple was destroyed, this ceremony disappeared. Jewish law therefore does not require such an offering. However, some Rabbis, especially among the Orthodox, mention it as an opportunity to engage in an act of donating money to the poor or another act of charity to make a symbolic offering. This step can voluntarily be added to the conversion process.


Step 4

Choosing a Name and The public Ceremony

Choosing a Hebrew name

Frequently, after a Bet Din and the signing of an oath, a Hebrew name is chosen. This is then followed by a visit to a Mikveh. At any rate, at some point, you will be asked to pick a Hebrew name. Some male converts choose the Hebrew name Avraham as their new Hebrew first name and some female candidates choose Sarah or Ruth.
Since the use of Hebrew names includes mention of the parents' Hebrew names, and the convert has no Jewish parents, it is common to add "ben Avraham Avinu," or son of Abraham, our Father. Therefore if a male chooses the Hebrew name Avraham, that male's full Hebrew name would be Avraham ben Avraham Avinu.
For women, the addition is "bat Sarah Imenu," daughter of Sarah, our Mother. The naming ceremony includes a blessing.

The public ceremony

A public ceremony announcing the conversion is not mandatory, but it's becoming more and more popular, especially among Reform Jews. This ceremony usually involves the convert standing in front of the congregation and giving a speech, most typically about the reasons for converting or the lessons learned through the conversion experience.


The process of Giyur in Israel

The State of Israel adopted the Orthodox conversion process as the official conversion, and this is acceptable to all different streams of Judaism. This Guide is designed to help familiarize you with the various stages that you or your family must undergo during the conversion process.


3 steps of converting to Judaism in Israel


Step 1

Opening a file in the conversion court

In order to register for the conversion procedure you must first open a file at one of the conversion courts close to your place of residence, unless:

If, for any reason, you wish to open a conversion file in a court far from your place of residence, you must submit an application with an explanation as to why, to the conversion courts administration.

List of Conversion courts

The special conversion Courts are located in four different locations around the country: Haifa, Tel Aviv, Kiryat Gat and Jerusalem.

Tel Aviv and Central District – for classes in Bat Yam, Tel Aviv Hebrew, Tel Aviv English, Herzliya, Ra’anana, Netanya classes, and the students of personal conversion of the Central District.

Beit Kalka, 116 Menachem Begin Road, 4th Floor, Tel Aviv (near the Azrieli Towers).

Fax: 03-7406126. Email:

Central District Coordinator: Rivka Bondi

Southern District – for classes: Eilat, Dimona, Arad, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Rishon LeZion, and the students of Personal Conversion of the Southern District.

Shderot HaAtzmaut 64, Kiryat Gat.

Fax: 08-6620910, Email:

District Rabbi: Rabbi Yitzchak Yakabovitch: 050-6229138

Jerusalem District – for the class of Petach Tikva

Kanfei Nesharim 24, First floor, Givat Shaul, Jerusalem.

Fax: 02-5099114/3. Email:

Haifa and Northern District – for classes: Carmiel, Kryot, Haifa, Chadera and the students of Personal Conversion of the Northern District.

Rabbinical Courts Buildings, Yalag 28, Second floor, room 210, Haifa

Fax: 04-8664996. Email:

District Coordinator: HaRav Shmaryahu Shore: 050-6229127

For further advice on the stages of the conversion process contact the Conversion department information center at the Prime Minister's Office by phone 02-5450100 or by email:

As part of the file opening procedure applicants will be asked to fill out a conversion application form which includes personal details: name, parents’ names, age, current religion, family status, profession and place of residence.


All applicants for conversion must show up in person to register at the conversion court. If it is impossible for you to arrive, you may appoint a representative by power of attorney, and provide your representative with all the necessary documents. However, you must arrive for a personal interview at the court on subsequent sessions.
If you are married or about to be married to a Jewish partner , that partner must accompany you to court.

Applicants must provide all of the following documentation in order to open a file in the conversion court:

After opening a file

Once the file is opened at the court, an initial interview will be conducted at the court secretariat with a representative of the District Court. It is recommended to make an appointment for file opening in advance, according to when the District Court representative is on the premises. At the end of the interview, the representative will explain the conversion process and refer the applicant to an Ulpan for instruction in Judaism.

NOTE! When leaving the court secretariat you must have a referral from the District Court representative to an Ulpan for instruction in Judaism. Without such referral, you will not be accepted for instruction.


Step 2

Studying in a conversion Ulpan and The accompanying family

The learning quota in a Conversion Ulpan is between 400 to 500 hours of theoretical studies. Alongside academic instruction, the Ulpans also offer practical experiences, tours and visits to sites having a traditional value. Conversion Ulpans open when required and are not always operative. There are number of bodies which operate the Conversion Ulpans and offer various instruction programs in the following languages: Hebrew, English, Russian, Amharic, Spanish and French.

The Ministry of Education Conversion Ulpanim is the most established conversion program – over 15 years of activity. The conversion Ulpanim, are located throughout the country and open on demand. The instruction programs in the conversion Ulpanim comprise 500 hours of academic tuition spread over one to one and a half academic years. The programs are taught by rabbis, teachers approved by the Ministry of Education and the religious courts specializing in conversion. The instruction subjects ranges from Jewish thought, Halacha (Jewish law) and Bible to Jewish history.

Alongside academic instruction, the Ulpanim also offer practical experience such as spending Shabbat and Jewish holidays with Jewish families, participation in prayers and synagogue services, tours and visits to sites such as the wailing Wall, Yad Vashem and other relevant destinations around the country. To enroll at a conversion Ulpan, contact your regional conversion supervisor:

The different Ulpanim vary in terms of their instruction styles, teachers, instruction programs and the religious characteristics of the Ulpan. In addition, converts are required to adopt a religious lifestyle during the conversion process which includes: prays, fulfilling a mitzvah, visiting the synagogue, Niddah, etc.
This is why it is so important to assess the instruction program and to make sure that it is compatible with your religious aspirations, with your lifestyle and your family’s lifestyle, as the process will influence your family as well.
In some cases, the Rabanut may authorize private tuition by an authorized Rabi.
Soldiers may contact their Army Rabi and civilians may contact their local synagogues for further details.

NOTE: It is important to validate that the selected Ulpan is recognized by the Rabanut and is supervised by a rabbinical court representative. For more information contact the Conversion department call center at the Prime Minister's Office by phone 1-800-210-558.

Conversion programs

In addition, Jusaism studies may take place under various (non-profit) organizations.

The rabbinical court emissary is responsible for the personal relationship between the rabbinical court and the converts. This person conducts periodic conversations with the converts:  first when opening the conversion file, and last in the end of the conversion course. In addition, the emissary keeps in constant touch with the conversion teachers and supervises the instruction program. The emissary will observe your lifestyle and will assist you in case you have a question or face some difficulties. At the end of the conversion process, the emissary provides his recommendations to the rabbinical court.
If, for some reason, the emissary has decided to reject your conversion, you will be able to appeal by a letter to the management of the conversion court at:

7 Kanfey Nesharim St. Jerusalem.

The accompanying family

The accompanying family also accompanies the potential convert from the start of his instruction at the conversion Ulpan. The role of this family is to teach the potential convert the meaning of a Jewish lifestyle and how to put everything he learns into practice. The family will host the convert for Friday dinners, will introduce the synagogue, will help turn convert's home Kosher and will provide moral support until the end of the conversion process. Since some converts are alone in Israel without family or friends. In this manner, the accompanying family helps the convert in his absorption into Israeli society on both a social and a spiritual level.

At the end of the conversion in the rabbinical court sitting, converts will be required to present a recommendation letter made by the accompanying family. Alternatively, family representative may join the sitting of the rabbinical court. This letter of recommendation must be presented to the court by the family, or handed in a sealed envelope to the potential convert or to the court emissary for delivery to the court.

How to locate an accompanying family

In most cases, the teacher in the Ulpan is responsible for finding an appropriate family for each convert. In case of religious relatives or acquaintances (not parents), converts may submit their details to the Ulpan and request that they’ll act as accompanying family.

The organizations below may assist you in finding an accompanying family:


Step 3

Ceremony in the Rabbinical Court, Circumcision and Immersion

After completion of one year’s instruction at a conversion Ulpan, the Ulpan’s staff and the accompanying family escort the candidate to the conversion court. The main role of the courts is to declare the principle acceptance of the applicant to the body of the Jewish people.
Applicants are requested to dress modestly for a court appearance. It is also recommended to bring family members or close friends, as well as the accompanying family's members.

During the discussion, which takes about an hour, converts will be asked about the course materials and about the conversion process. It is recommended to prepare for the discussion which deals also with non-religious aspects of the conversion. Converts will be asked, for example, to state the motivation for conversion and to describe views and lifestyle.

Following the discussion, the court may conduct a private conversation with accompanying relatives and may even ask to speak with the ulapn course teacher.

In the end of the discussion, the dayanim decide whether to accept the conversion application or to reject it. If your application has been rejected, you will receive a list items that you need to improved. You may be scheduled an additional discussion in a few weeks time, asking you to fulfill certain tasks during the interim.

If your application has been accepted, you will undergo conversion ceremony, the Dayanim will ask you to state your Hebrew name for which they will issue the reference to the immersion in the Mikveh and the Brit Mila.

Please make sure to choose a Hebrew name in advance and to arrive bearing the following documents:

If you have acquired Jewish and Halachic knowledge without attending a conversion Ulpan and you already lead a traditional Jewish lifestyle, you may apply to the court to undergo conversion without any preconditions, other than an interview with court representatives and recommendations. This procedure is conditional on written consent from the director of the conversion court.


Upon conclusion of the discussion in the conversion court, converts will receive a letter referring to a Brit Milah (Circumcision) process. The Brit Milah procedure will be conducted in one of the medical centers authorized by the Rabanut by a professional doctor and a Mohel. The ceremony is required also if your foreskin was removed in a ritual that was not Jewish or according to Halacha, or for converts who were born with no foreskin. In this case a "shedding of blood" ritual will be performed. This is a simpler procedure which involves a small pin prick to the man’s penis. 3 weeks after this procedure, immersion in Mikveh may be scheduled.

Immersion ritual

The final stage in your conversion process is the immersion in the MIkveh. In most cases, the conversion courts open dedicated MIkvehs in specific dates for concentrated immersion throughout the country. However, you may ask the court representative to accompany you in your local MIkveh.

In the case of women’s immersion, Women may be asked to perform a pregnancy test to make sure that a pregnancy has not started before the completion of the conversion process.

Before the immersion, the court representative may ask you questions about issues studied in the Ulpan, and it is highly recommended to go through the theoretical materials of the course.

Court decision and potential convert’s declaration

if the court decides to accept the candidate’s application, a brief ceremony is conducted, in which the candidate expresses his desire to affiliate himself with the Jewish people throughout the generations by means of the following declaration:

“I undertake to be a loyal member of the Jewish people and uphold and fulfill all the mitzvot of the Torah and all the mitzvot of the sages and all of the customs of kashrut of the Jewish people and I believe in one God.”

The convert then recites aloud the most famous Jewish declaration of faith:

Sh'ma Yisrael Adonai Eloheynu Adonai Echad (“Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One”).

The dayanim bless the new convert with the pronouncement: Baruch ha’ba, b’sha’a tova u’b’mazal tov (“Welcome, best wishes and congratulations”).

After conversion

At the end of the conversion process converts receive a conversion certificate from the Israeli rabbinical courts. This takes about two months after which, you may submit the certificate to the Ministry of the Interior and change your name officially in the Israel’s Population Administration.

Now you are recognized as “Jewish for all intents and purposes” and may marry other Jewish persons in the Rabanut. The certificates issued by the conversion courts on completion of the conversion process are recognized by various Rabbinates in Israel and by Jewish communities in other countries.


Conversion programs in Israel



List of Conversion programs

Three main bodies operate conversion in Israel:

For questions and additional information about Giyur please call the Division of conversion in the Prime Minister's office. Phone. 02-5450100, Fax: 02-5605076. Or Email:

You can also call the Jewish Agency (Hebrew/Russian): 1-800-210-558

In addition, Jusaism studies may take place under various organizations:

The Institute for Jewish Studies aims to provide appropriate training and preparation for immigrants seeking to convert. It offers academic instruction in various languages in three main programs:



List of Conversion Ulpanim (Ulpan Giyur)

Region Ulpan Name Address ​ Phone Details
Efrat Emuna ​ Or Torah Ston, P.O.Box 1037 ​ 02-5488444 ​ Giyur Ulpan - Spanish
Jerusalem Emuna ​ Eichal Shlomo, King George 58 ​ Ulpan Giyur - Spanish
Emuna Man 9 ​ 02-6792385 ​ Ulpan Giyur - Spanish
Emuna ​ Yasmin 198, 40229 ​ 02-5338780 Giyur
Netanya Beit Guy​ 09-8341223 or 052-7710508Ulpan Giyur​
Tel Aviv Giyur ​ Hashlosha 2, Tel Aviv Giyur
Yavne ​ Yavne Group ​ Yavne Group 79233 08-8548311

NOTE: There might me more Ulpanim which provide Giyur programs, to see a complete list of Ulpanim click here

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