Study Guide

When you examine the Recommended Reading list and the Sample Test, you may feel overwhelmed. This is understandable. The conversion program you are embarking on is analogous to doing a B.A. in Torah Living in 1-2 years. Often, prospective converts have been interested in Torah for some time and have had difficulty being accepted into a program or finding a program to be accepted into. Alternatively, they have had conversions from non-Orthodox sources and have decided to undergo an Orthodox conversion. When they are accepted into a conversion program, they are often eager to make the conversion program phase about a year or less. Generally, while prospective converts do often have some Torah knowledge, there is usually more learning required by a contemporary Bet Din

The question naturally arises- how does one structure one's Torah studies, so that one is ready to convert within 12 to 18 months? The short answer is focused Torah study. What we will do here is give an outline of how that could be structured. This model will be based on a 12-month model.

1. Hilkhot Shabbat

Study 45 Minutes of Hilkhot Shabbat on Shabbat and review what you learned twice a week for 45 Minutes. Take notes and discuss with a study partner what you are learning. We suggest using The 39 Melochos: an Elucidation of the 39 Melochos from Concept to Practical Application by Rabbi Dovid Ribiat. You will not be able to complete this 4-volume set in 12 months, so make sure you cover the following melochos: Ofeh/Bishul, Borer, Melabain, Hotzoah, Mavir, Kotev, and Boneh. Make sure to also study the rabbinic laws. In particular, focus on Muktzeh and Amirah La'akum. Your goal should be to learn at a minimum one Melocho or Rabbinic Decree a month and to know it extremely well. Ask your sponsoring rabbi regarding which Melochos/Rabbinic decrees you should additionally focus on besides those listed above. You should also study the work The 39 Avoth Melacha by Rabbi Baruch Chait. This book will provide you with a good broad and general knowledge of Shabbat law. Be aware that Rabbi Ribiat's work is at times stringent, so there may be more lenient rulings on a given matter. Check with your Rav and/or Shemirath Shabbath by Rabbi Yehoshua Neuwirth.

2. Torah Philosophy

Study a work on Torah thought or Self- Development for 30 Minutes a day 5 times a week. Make sure you cover Rambam's 13 Principles and Rabbi Kaplan's Handbook of Jewish Thought Volumes I and II.

3. Holidays

3 Months before Pesach study The Halachos of Pesach by Rabbi Shimon Eider twice a week for 45 minutes at least. For other holidays, study The Book of our Heritage by Rabbi Eliyahu Kitov 30 days before the holiday, for 45 Minutes, at least twice a week.

4. General Jewish Law

Study 20 minutes a day of Halakha from the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 6 days a week. Use the Sample Test to focus your study. Cover as much of this work as you can and underline the parts most relevant to you for your review.

5. Torah

Study the Torah portion of the week in English with the commentary of your choice twice a week for 45 Minutes.

6. Hebrew Reading and Comprehension

Practice your Hebrew reading for 30 Minutes a day 5x times a week. When you are fluent in reading, you should focus on comprehension of the Siddur and Chumash.

Model Week

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Shabbat
CJL CJL CJL CJL CJL TP TP
HS HS HS
TT TT TT TT TT
HH HH
HR HR HR HR HR

Class Code and Daily Time Commitment
CJL-Code of Jewish Law -20 Minutes 6x a week
HS- Hilkhot Shabbat- 45 Minutes 3x a week
TT- Torah Thought - 30 Minutes 5x a week
HH- Holiday Halakha 45 Minutes 2x a week
HR- Hebrew Reading- 25 Minutes 5x a week
TP- Torah Portion- 45 minutes 2x a week

Based on this system you would not be studying for more then 2hrs a day on any day, which is compatible with working full-time. This will be more challenging if one is a parent and working full-time, so make the necessary accommodations in terms of childcare where possible.

Where the non-Jewish spouse of an intermarried couple or the non-Jewish fiancée of an engaged couple are converting, both the Jew/Jewess and the non- Jewish spouse/fiancée are generally obligated to learn and participate fully in the conversion program. Ideally, both should study this regimen. Here it is possible for an exchange of learning where one person studies a subject and gives over to the other and vice versa.

If one does this program, you will be ready to face the Bet Din with confidence.