Are you interested in exploring Judaism? On behalf of the Reform movement, we welcome you and are delighted that you are interested in learning more about Judaism. We accept Jews by Choice and view them as a gift to our people and the Jewish community. While each person's path into Jewish life is unique, there are shared questions and experiences that are common to many. We are here to help you find resources as you begin your Jewish journey.
To assist you in your Jewish journey, the Union for Reform Judaism includes:
924 Reform congregations throughout North America
Outreach specialists available to guide you to a sponsoring rabbi and congregation, and answer basic questions on conversion
Books and resources, including a vocabulary list, available on this page
How do I get started?
The URJ brochure Becoming a Jew will answer many of your questions. Reading is another good way to begin learning about Judaism. We offer a page of suggested reading materials on conversion, and most books are available from internet booksellers.
An important part of the conversion process is working with a sponsoring rabbi. He or she will guide your process. Many Reform rabbis will require Introduction to Judaism, will want to meet with you on a regular basis and work with you for a period of time as you learn the rhythms of the Jewish year. There is no finite period for conversion. To find a sponsoring rabbi, check the congregations in your area.
Finding a congregation
The best way to decide if a Jewish life is right for you is to begin to live a Jewish life and the best way to live a Jewish life is to become connected to a congregation. The URJ has congregations of all sizes. Depending on what is available in your area, we suggest that you try two or three URJ congregations before you make a final choice. You can find a congregation here. Locate your state and you will get a listing of URJ congregations with corresponding links to their websites.
May I attend services at this point in my journey?
Shabbat Services, which occur on Friday evening and Saturday morning, are open to anyone who wants to attend. Most URJ congregations have websites that will tell you what time Shabbat services begin. Many URJ congregations have greeters or ushers who will help you find a seat. Each congregations services may begin at different times. To find out when services begin, call the congregation and ask what time Shabbat Services are for that week. Read An Introduction to Sanctuary Etiquette to answer some basic questions about what happens at a Shabbat Service.
Ive never called a synagogue, what do I say?
It may be easiest if you begin by telling the person who answers the phone that you are calling for the first time and that you are interested in learning more about Judaism. This will help them understand that your call is important.
Sometimes congregational rabbis are not able to return phone calls as quickly as they and we would prefer. We recommend that you attend a Shabbat Service and introduce yourself to the Rabbi at the oneg. The Rabbi will not be able to make an appointment on Shabbat, but your participation at Shabbat Service will tell the rabbi your level of seriousness about learning about Judaism.
I live in a small town that does not have a synagogue, what can I do?
The URJ has a team of professionals who work with small congregations: Rabbi David Fine, firstname.lastname@example.org; Marcia Grossfeld, email@example.com and Merry Lugasy, firstname.lastname@example.org.
They are familiar with the small URJ congregations throughout North
America. They may be able to help you find a congregation near you and
will be happy to reply to your email.
I have been a member of a Jewish family for several years and I am now thinking about conversion, can I do this?
Yes, many people are part of a Jewish family for a number of years before deciding to explore conversion. If you are currently a member of a URJ congregation, we recommend your speak with your congregational rabbi.
How did I know I was ready to convert to Judaism? What are the essential elements that help insure the sincerity and authenticity of such an important decision? Hear from a former Director about her conversion journey
What Judaism Offers For You: A Reform Perspective
For those who desire a brief glimpse into the wonders of Judaism--born Jews, Jews by choice, interfaith couples and their families, the wide diversity of seekersthis article gives a brief introduction to Judaism, its belief, its covenant and its traditions from a Reform perspective.
A free, 3-session class for beginners -- Jewish or not -- that explores the
topics of Jewish spirituality, ethics and community values. Find a class in your area.
Introduction to Judaism A course for anyone interested in exploring Judaisminterfaith couples, those
considering conversion and Jews looking for adult-level basicsto the
fundamentals of Jewish thought and practice. Find a class in your area.
Find a Congregation
Outside of North America
The World Union for Progressive Judaism is an affiliate of the Union and serves congregations and communities in nearly 40 countries, encompassing more than 1,200 Reform, Progressive, Liberal and Reconstructionist congregations and more than 1.5 million members across the world.