If you seek to become part of the Jewish people through the process of conversion, the first step here in Oregon is to contact JoAnn Bezodis at the Oregon Board of Rabbis. Her email is joann@oregonboardofrabbis.org

JoAnn facilitates the “Introduction to Judaism” course for the Oregon Board of Rabbis. This course offers teachings on major aspects of Jewish culture, history and theology. It is taught by many of Portland’s Rabbis, offering students exposure to a wide variety of teachings.

Conversion is a serious decision and must be carefully and realistically explored. Further study takes place under the guidance of a particular Rabbi who agrees to take on the student. There is no guaranteed outcome of this exploratory process.

At its best, the conversion process is a long-growing awareness of identity. It is predicated upon knowledge, but not contained within the intellect. For those who do complete the conversion ritual, the ideal is that they do so as part of joining a community within which they will continue to learn about Jewish life and its meaning long after the ritual takes place. Many Jews by choice have found their community with Shir Tikvah and we welcome this.

Although there is a fee for the class and its related materials, it is an ethical mandate in Judaism that there is no charge for the conversion itself.