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August 30, 2015 | 15th Elul 5775

Twenty-Two New Conversion Fellows Return to Congregations Ready to Work

Another cohort of participants of the Schindler Fellows Program for Conversion Certification have gone back to their home congregations after four days of learning, workshops, presentations, role-playing and small group sessions. With 22 participants, this was one of the largest groups to come together to learn how to help create a culture of conversion in their congregations and how to assist non-Jews on their journey to Judaism.

Participants were treated to a variety of teachers, each bringing their expertise to a particular area of learning. Rabbis Victor Appell, Mark Washofsky, Rex Perlmeter and Jan Katzew taught about conversion in Jewish text; rabbinic attitudes towards conversion over the centuries; the power of ritual in the conversion process; and Israel and Jews-by-Choice, respectively. Participants also met with current Conversion Fellows and a panel of recent Jews-by-Choice and learned about faith development, family issues and facilitating small groups from URJ Lead Outreach Specialist Vicky Farhi, our constant guide and teacher. Marilyn Price, a gifted storyteller, taught about listening.

As part of the training, participants spent time developing plans for their own congregations. Upon returning home, fellows met with their clergy to share ideas and assist in their congregation's Intro to Judaism classes, lead small group discussions and serve as mentors to those in the conversion process.

Conversion Fellows was part of the URJ's Summer Learning Institute, held in conjunction with Kallah (for adult study) and Had'rachah, for those learning about religious leadership in their congregations. Fellows enjoyed meaningful worship, rousing song sessions and delicious food, all in a beautiful setting just outside of Princeton, New Jersey.

Join the URJ in 2013 for the next cohort of Conversion Fellows. Next year, in 2012, study with the URJ at the Schindler Fellows Program for Interfaith Family Certification. Learn how to create a culture that supports Outreach in your congregation. And, continue your Outreach education at this year's URJ Biennial, with a variety of learning sessions covering Outreach topics such as "Creating a Home for the Non-Jew in Your Community," "When Intermarriage Touches Your Life," "Different Faces at our Table: Welcoming the New Jewish Family" and many more!

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