These are the things that no one has probably thought to tell you about conversion in the Reform movement. You’ll be glad to know them. Believe me.
- In conversion class, when you get to the page with the Thirteen Articles of Maimonides, do not get excited. Do not highlight them and think you have found the answer to what you need to know about Judaism. This is just one opinion of one man at one time in his life. Judaism does not lay things out in a neat list like this.
- Do not panic. No one really expects you to chant from the Torah with the limited amount of Hebrew you will learn in your conversion class. My advice – don’t worry about the script form of the letters. Focus on the print that will appear in the prayer books.
- At the very least, learn the Shehecheyanu. It will make a big difference when you are in the Mikvah.
- The temperature of the water in the mikvah truly is body temperature. When you enter the water, it is absolutely comfortable. When you bob in the water, with your feet not touching the bottom and your head beneath the water, it is unlike anything else you’ve experienced.
- Don’t plan to rush off to work or some other structured activity after your time at the Mikvah. Take the rest of the day to be in the experience. It is truly life-altering. Take the time to savor what’s just happened. Share it with someone special who gets it, if you’d like. If not, make it special for yourself by doing something with meaning to you.