Post # 1
My Fiance and I aren’t involved in the Jewish community right now. I want to convert also – my father was born Jewish but I wasn’t raised with a Jewish identity.
We’re going to start going to services soon – we’re going to go to both Reform and Conservative synagogues.
My question is – how do you approach the Rabbi? I guess you stay for Oneg/Kiddush and maybe they mention it because they see the ring?
Post # 3
if you’re leaning toward reform and conservative, you probably won’t need to convert.
go to services and intoduce yourself to the rabbi. there’s always a receiving line after the service, so that’s where you should first introduce yourself as new members. at every new synagogue i’ve been to, the rabbi has noticed me as a new person during the services and come over and said hello before i even had a chance to introduce myself.
then during kiddush, you can talk to him/her more in depth.
Post # 4
I think it’s a good idea to just go to the oneg like you said and talk to the rabbi. I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t notice the ring, but it couldn’t hurt for you to say that you really enjoyed the services, you’re getting married soon, and you’re looking for an officiant.
Post # 5
Hi Greta: I’m a rabbinical student … saying hi to the rabbi at the oneg is fine but he / she can’t possibly give you a meaningful response without meeting with you privately and having a longer conversation about your background, hopes and aspirations, etc. There is never a charge for this or anything, so you should call the shul and ask for a private appointment with the rabbi. If the secretary asks what it is about, just say you are interested in discussing conversion.
It isn’t true that most Reform and Conservative rabbis wouldn’t require you to convert if you want to formally join the congregation. The Conservative movement does not recognize patrilineal descent. The Reform movement does, but they generally believe that if a person has a Jewish father but has not had any meaningful Jewish education or background, a formal conversion process will be tremendously beneficial toward you really connecting with your identity and the community you are joining.
Judaism today isn’t about bloodlines. It’s about belonging, and becoming a part of a group bigger than yourself. That’s what quality conversation programs and classes try to impart.
For the short term, if what you immediately need is a rabbi to officiate your wedding (and the formal conversion can come later), a Conservative rabbi will not be willing — they are barred from doing so by their rabbinical association. You need to look for Reform or Reconstructionist rabbis.
Good luck and blessings to you!