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Orthodox conversion to Judaism

Last updated: 2003-09-08

Orthodox Judaism does not actively seek converts.  That is because Judaism teaches that the righteous of all nations and peoples have a share in the World To Come. 

It is therefore not necessary for anyone to convert to Judaism to save their souls.  G-d judges each person according to standards which only He, in His Infinite Knowledge and Mercy, can understand.
Jews have been referred to as the "chosen people."  Many people misunderstand this statement to mean that G-d loves Jews more than others, or that Jews will be "saved" and non-Jews will not be.  These ideas cannot be farther from the truth and do not come from the teachings of Judaism. They come from non-Jews.  The only way Jews are "chosen" is that we were given the Torah, the blueprint for all of creation. 

There had to be some group of people who would pass down in detail the information which G-d wanted people to have.  Jews are also supposed to keep all of the 613 commandments contained in that Torah in order to show that the Torah is workable and to show how beautiful the ways of G-d are.  Non-Jews do not have this responsibility.  They only have the responsibility to keep the seven laws of the children of Noah -- the Seven Mitzvot of Bnai Noach, though they can certainly do many of the other commandments by choice, not responsibility.
For a person to convert to Orthodox Judaism, a person must take upon himself for all eternity all of the 613 mitzvot or commandments of the Torah. This is a most serious undertaking. 

Generally speaking, Jews discourage people from converting to Judaism because we do not want them to become responsible to do commandments which they might not be able to keep. Promises made to G-d Himself must be kept. 

Only those people who have studied a long time, who understand the awesome nature of what conversion means, and who are fully prepared psychologically, intellectually, and spiritually should undergo such conversion in the presence of a legally constituted Beth Din (Jewish court consisting of 3 completely observant and knowledgeable Jewish men.)  Then, and only then, does a person have the right to call himself a Jew by Jewish Law.

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