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Conversion to Judaism

Conversion to Judaism (Hebrew: גיור‎, giyur) is a formal act undertaken by a non-Jewish person who wishes to be recognized as a full member of a Jewish community. A Jewish conversion is normally a religious act and usually an expression of association with the Jewish people and, sometimes, the Land of Israel.[1][2][3] A formal conversion is also sometimes undertaken to remove any doubt as to the Jewishness of a person who wishes to be considered a Jew.

File:1795-William-Blake-Naomi-entreating-Ruth-Orpah.jpg
Naomi entreating Ruth and Orpah to return to the land of Moab by William Blake, 1795

The procedure for conversion depends on the sponsoring denomination, and depends on meeting the requirements for a conversion to that religious or non-religious branch or denomination. A conversion in accordance with the process of a denomination is not a guarantee of recognition by another denomination.[4]

File:Penteteuch2.jpg
A portion of the Pentateuch in Hebrew, British Library Oriental MS. 1,497 containing Numbers 6:3-10, dated 12th century. Lines of the Pentateuch alternate with the Targum ascribed to Onkelos (a convert to Judaism)

In some cases, a person may forgo a formal conversion to Judaism and adopt some or all beliefs and practices of Judaism. However, without a formal conversion, many highly observant Jews will reject a convert's Jewish status.[5] There are some groups that have adopted Jewish customs and practices. For example, in Russia the Subbotniks have adopted most aspects of Judaism without formal conversion to Judaism.[6] However, if Subbotniks, or anyone without a formal conversion, wish to marry into a traditional Jewish community or emigrate to Israel, they must have a formal conversion.[7]

Terminology