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Reconstructionist Conversion

Return to A Resource Guide to Jewish Conversion.

In general, Reconstructionists follow Jewish laws and customs, but they do not believe they are obligated to do so. The famous quote from Reconstructionism's founder Mordecai Kaplan is "The past has a vote, not a veto." Conversion with a Reconstructionist rabbi is shaped by this attitude. Rituals like the convening of a rabbinical court or beit din, hatafat dam brit (the taking of covanental blood) and ritual immersion are expected. For more information, consult the Reconstructionist's new Guidelines on Giyyur, which were created in March 2009.

Like other rabbis, Reconstructionist rabbis have latitude in interpretation of Jewish law in relation to conversion. Because the Reconstructionist movement is small, the standard Reconstructionist introduction to Judaism class for potential converts, called "Jewish Alive and American," isn't available in every city. A local Reconstructionist rabbi may send you to take a Reform, Conservative, Orthodox or academic introduction to Judaism class instead, as part of your process of study.

Hebrew for "drop of blood covenant," it is a ritual circumcision for those already circumcised. (Usually men who are converting to Judaism.) Rabbinic court involved in matters of Jewish law, including conversion and traditional divorce procedures. Hebrew for "my master," the term refers to a spiritual leader and teacher of Torah. Often, but not always, a rabbi is the leader of a synagogue congregation.
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