In Halachah (Jewish Law), the Jewish status of a newly born baby depends entirely on the status of their mother. The child of a Jewish mother is Jewish, even if his or her father is not Jewish. The child of a non-Jewish mother is not Jewish, even if his or her father is Jewish. There is no such thing as a person who is "half Jewish", and the status with which one is born continues throughout their lifetime. However, there is a process by which someone not born Jewish can become Jewish. It is known as Conversion.
Conversion (known in Hebrew as "geirut" or "giur") is the process by which a person who is not born Jewish becomes Jewish. Once a person is admitted to the Jewish religion in accordance with Torah Law s/he immediately enjoys the full benefits of Jewish status and, equally, is immediately obligated in the observance of all pertinent laws.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE JEWISH
Judaism claims no monopoly as the only path to G-d. Indeed, the Talmud teaches that "the Righteous of all nations have a share in the World to Come," i.e. one need not be (or become) Jewish to be considered worthy in the eyes of G-d. It follows, then, that a person from any background or ethnic group is, in principle, able to fulfil G-d’s will without the need to become Jewish. This is to be achieved through adhering to the 7 Noachide Laws (as described in The Path of the Righteous Gentile, by Chaim Clorefene [Feldheim Books]).
Judaism is not a proselytising faith. Consequently, any person who wishes to become Jewish will not only have to learn about Judaism but will have to satisfy the Dayanim (judges) of this (or another) Beth Din of his or her sincere desire to join the Jewish People and be bound by its laws. Effectively, this means satisfying the Beth Din that s/he wishes to embrace Judaism because s/he believes in and loves G-d and that s/he unreservedly accepts Halachah and the self-discipline of the Jewish way of life.
Since no two applicants are alike, no two conversion procedures are identical. We endeavour to treat each application according to its particular merits. However, as a general rule, the period for conversion, once the candidate has been accepted by the Beth Din, is at least two years, and usually more. During this time, not only will applicants’ growing knowledge of Jewish law be assessed, but also the implementation of these laws in their daily lives will be ascertained. Each applicant will progress at his or her own pace - a process monitored by the Dayanim of the Melbourne Beth Din.
To begin the process, click here to download an application form and the list of documentation that should accompany it.
Our Guide to the Conversion Process is available here.