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Our Approach

At the Center for Conversion to Judaism, our approach embraces the "3 H’s":

 

Judaism of the Head — Intellectual connection through the study of Torah and Jewish texts, Jewish philosophy, theology, history and ethics

Judaism of the Heart — Spiritual & emotional connection through prayer, engagement with Jewish traditions and Jewish culture

Judaism of the Hand — Physical connection through active participation in Jewish life— whether in the synagogue, the home, or through tikun olam (social action/social justice)

 

Every Jew has their own access point to Judaism, and often it is a version of one or more of the    "3 H’s". Our program provides opportunities for learning and growth in all three, with plenty of room for every participant to come to their own unique sense of Jewish identity.

Accordingly, our program has three components:

Education— a 9-month Introduction to Judaism course taught by Rabbi Bronwen Mullin

Spiritual Mentorship— bi-monthly meetings with your sponsoring Rabbi, Rabbi Larry Sebert

Community— becoming full members of the Town & Village community and taking advantage of its diverse offerings

 

In Pirkei Avot (Chapters of the Fathers), a classical work of rabbinic literature, we are told:

“The world stands upon three things- upon Torah, upon worship, and upon acts of goodness.”

These are the head, heart, and hand of the world. When the world is at its best, the three are an integrated whole.

It is our hope and prayer that if the world stands on these three thing, then you too will feel more supported and grounded in your Jewish journey because of them. We take great pride in welcoming and guiding you along the way.

To learn more about the different components, see below:

 

Judaism of the Head/Education

Our 9-month course covers six essential subject areas:

  • Jewish Sacred Texts (Torah, Talmud, Kabbalah, and more!)
  • Holidays (the how-to’s and the why-we-do’s)
  • Lifecycle (traditions and customs of making life transitions into sacred and communal moments)
  • Introduction to Jewish Prayer (including Jewish theologies and Hebrew decoding for learning key components of the siddur- prayerbook)
  • Mitzvot- Commandments (An exploration of Jewish spirituality and ethics through core practices related to Jewish life at home and social justice in the world at large)
  • Jewish History (a survey of the different periods and historic moments in the life of the Jewish people)

Every cohort of the CCJ is unique, and each class is designed around the personalities in the room. This is because Judaism is a living tradition, and as much as we study the inherited tradition of Judaism, we must be equally if not more so committed to bringing our own insights, opinions, and experiences into the space. That’s why the learning is centered on questioning and discussion. The hevruta model (partnered learning), an ancient model of study, is core to our classroom. Not only are we building our knowledge base but we’re building relationships.

Judaism of the Heart/Spiritual Mentorship

Every participant in the program is entitled to bi-monthly meetings with Rabbi Larry Sebert, who is the sponsoring rabbi. A sponsoring rabbi serves as the head of the beit din, the religious court, which will oversee the actual conversion itself. The purpose of these meetings is to be able to discuss the process of engaging with Judaism in more depth. While the course will cover content, it is in the meetings with Rabbi Sebert where we come to the substance of the work—taking concrete actions toward living a Jewish life, to having one’s eating and praying, the shape of one’s week and year, increasingly informed and permeated with Torah, God, and Jewish tradition.

Judaism of the Hand/Community

Synagogue membership is a key component to becoming part of a Jewish community, and Town & Village prides itself in being a truly heimish (familial and welcoming) community. Memberships are available on a sliding scale and are not included in the tuition for the course, but are highly encouraged as an act of demonstrating commitment to being a part of Jewish communal life. Among T&V’s offering are:

  • Daily morning prayer services (the only fully egalitarian minyan below 50th street)
  • Lively Friday and Saturday Shabbat services with Kiddush and meet-and-greets
  • Extensive courses in Adult Education with guest faculty from many of New York’s esteemed academies and institutions
  •  a celebrated community choir led by Cantor Postman
  •  an Artists’ Beit Midrash (artist collective making art from Jewish texts) led by Rabbi Bronwen Mullin
  • T&V 20s/30s Shabbat Dinners, holiday parties, and cultural events
  • Ge’im b’Village: LGBTQ Shabbat and Holiday get-togethers and activism
  • a thriving Hebrew school with lots of family programming
  •  numerous committees dedicated to social justice including: T&V Together, Metro IAF, The Green Committee , and more!

And there’s plenty of room for new ideas, projects, groups, and opportunities for leadership!

Tue, March 19 2019 12 Adar II 5779