Conversion Guidelines

Temple Beth Shalom of Puerto Rico
November 2016


Temple Beth Shalom of Puerto Rico is a Jewish congregation affiliated with the Union for Reform Judaism. It is, as our Hebrew name says, a house of peace, a house of prayer for all people. We welcome to our worship services and fellowship all who wish to be with us, all who come here in peace. Please click here to see the Ritual Committee’s codes.

  • Those who express an interest in conversion will be directed to meet with the visiting Rabbi/Cantor at that time; in the absence of a Rabbi or Cantor they will be directed to the Chair of the Ritual Committee to begin conversations.  Should the Chair of the Ritual Committee not feel that he or she can make a decision, the candidate will be asked to wait for the next visiting Clergy to arrive.
  • Once the conversation with the visiting Clergy and/or head of the Ritual Committee has occurred, the prospective convert should become an associate guest of TBS if he or she has not done so already, and demonstrate true sincerity and interest by regular attendance at services and adult education.
  • After a reasonable amount of time attending services, the next step in the conversion process will be to undertake private classes offered by the Rabbis and Cantors.
  • In our experience, the entire conversion process takes at least one year;  that period may be shortened or lengthened as determined by Clergy.
  • A core curriculum of study covering Jewish beliefs, practices and history, and a reading list of suggested books will be provided with guidance from the conversion bibliographies of the URJ.
  • Each candidate will be asked to actively participate in ritual observance and practice, including regular participation in Shabbat and festival services at TBS during the entire process.
  • Candidates will have one-on-one discussions with the Rabbi or Cantor on the candidate’s spiritual, emotional and intellectual progress as well as on the candidate’s family background; relations with family members, especially regarding the impact of the conversion on parents, spouse and/or children (as relevant); and on the implications of “solo” conversion on his/her family and on the congregation.
  • Each candidate will be asked to submit a written essay (in Spanish or English) describing biographical and personal factors leading to the decision to become a Jew.
  • In light of TBS”s spiritual coverage program, each Rabbi/Cantor will be asked to keep and/or update a progress file on each candidate to be passed on to the next arriving clergy member for purposes of continuity and security, both for the candidate and for the congregation.
  • Each candidate will have a mentor or mentors within the TBS congregation to provide a source of information with regard to services and rituals, and to provide moral support.

With regard to the actual conversion process:

  • Completion of the conversion process should include tevilah for both females and males; and may include the opportunity for hatafat dam brit  or brit milah for males.  Congregational officers as well as the officiating Rabbi/Cantor should properly witness both ceremonies.  The actual conversion ceremony should take place in the synagogue sanctuary, with at least two clergy witnesses (the non-officiants can particulate by phone or Skype if necessary) and a congregational officer (two if only one member of the clergy is physically present).
  • Papers documenting these ceremonies, signed and witnessed, should be presented to the candidate upon completion, with copies to the congregational archives and to the American Jewish Archives in Cincinnati.  The President of the congregation should also sign a Letter of Welcome to the new convert, to be given to that person at the conclusion of the conversion ceremony, with a copy stored in the congregational files.


As approved by the Board of Directors

November 29, 2016