The handout for our class can be found here.
We spoke about how the tradition of conversion dates all the way back to the beginning of Jewish history....to the time of Abraham and Sarah. This is one reason why a Jew by Choice takes on the Hebrew name ____ ben/bat Avraham v'Sarah (____ spiritual descendant of Abraham and Sarah). For more on Hebrew names, click here.
Ruth is the biblical paradigm of a convert. For more on her story, I suggest that you check out David Plotz's blog post on The Book of Ruth, part of his extraordinary Blogging the Bible project for Slate.
We spoke about the centrality of mikveh to the conversion ritual. Find out everything you ever wanted to know about the mikveh by visiting the website of Mayyim Hayyim - the community mikveh of Boston.
I also made a point of mentioning the controversial 2005 remarks by Rabbi Eric Yoffie, head of the Reform movement. At that time, he openly encouraged Reform Jews who were close to non-Jews who were living nominally Jewish lives to consider conversion. For more on this, click here.
Of course, the decision to convert isn't right for many non-Jews, even if they are raising Jewish children and building a Jewish home. As I have mentioned before, interfaith families of all stripes can benefit from the resources of http://www.interfaithfamily.com/.
An important question to consider: Conversion is really just a fancy label that Jews have for the more general process of identity-formation.
What is the nature of your identity right now? Who are you? What are the values and traditions that are central to who you are? Does that identity adequately represent you...does it speak to who you are fully as a person? Or are you hungering for something more...an aspect of identity that will better encompass the whole of who you are? If that's the case...what are some concrete steps that you can take to construct a new (or revised) identity or sense of self?