Before converting, you need to have studied under the tutelage of a rabbi. Only when he thinks that you are ready may you proceed with a conversion ceremony.

All of the parts of the ceremony do not occur at the same time, or even necessarily in the same month. It depends on your time schedule, and what the rabbi wants. But all four steps are part of the official procedure of Jewish conversion.

  1. Facing a religious court. The first part of the conversion ceremony is to face the religious court (in Hebrew, it's called a Bet Din). The court consists of 3 people, of whom at least one must be a rabbi. (Often all three will be.) The court will ask you questions about Judaism, to make sure that you studied well.

  2. Immersion. Second, the candidate must be immersed into a mikveh, or the ritual bath. The mikveh is a special religious pool made specifically for converting to Judaism. You go into the pool, the rabbi says some prayers, and you come out Jewish.

  3. Circumcision. Men who were not circumcised at birth now must get circumcised. Furthermore, you can't get circumcised by just anyone, but only by a surgeon or doctor who has been deemed circumcision-worthy by a temple (this special kind of doctor is called a mohel, pronounced "MOY-yell"). Reform and Reconstructionist rabbis usually do not require a circumcision. If you were already circumcised and you want to convert to Orthodox or Conservative Judaism, then you still must give a drop of your blood as a symbolic circumcision.

  4. Picking a new name. After getting past the Bet Din, you will get the chance to pick a new Hebrew name. Talk to the rabbi about picking a name that you like, but you probably passed by some nice names during your days of study. Many choose a name based on a biblical figure that they admired in their Judaic studies.

SoYouWanna know more? Check out our full-length article SYW convert to Judaism?