Q: I'm part of an interfaith couple. Does my Jewish partner have to take the class with me?
A: We encourage both members of an interfaith couple to attend Intro as many couples find it helpful if both partners take the course. Jewish partners frequently tell us that they enjoyed the class and had the opportunity to learn many things about Judaism that they had not learned growing up. This also gives the Jewish partner the opportunity to share the Jewish learning experience with their partner. We do realize that work and childcare commitments do not always make this possible. If your partner cannot attend the class, they can join you for any particular session.
Q: Is Introduction to Judaism the right course for me/us? Will there be other people like me/us attending?
A: There is no "typical" Intro participant. Both couples and individuals take the course. Some of our participants are Jewish individuals who want to reconnect and/or learn more about Judaism. Some are individuals from other faith backgrounds exploring Judaism. Every class includes interfaith couples. Many classes include couples where both partners are Jewish. Many classes include same-sex couples. Our participants come from a variety of religious and cultural backgrounds.
Q: Is Introduction to Judaism a conversion class?
A: No. Although many people take Intro as part of the conversion process, there is no expectation that class participants are pursuing conversion to Judaism. The course is designed for those who would like to learn more; no strings attached. Intro is designed to provide knowledge and encourage experiences that will inform life-journeys. Intro classes regularly include a mix of participants: those who are exploring conversion to Judaism, those who are studying towards conversion, those who have no thought of converting, and those who are from a Jewish religious and/or cultural background.
Q: How far in advance do I need to register?
A: Introduction to Judaism registration varies. In some classes there is room until the day the class begins, others fill up weeks before the course is due to start. Please contact us about availability.
Q: What is a sponsoring clergy and do I need one?
A: Please note that we ask each participant/couple enrolling in Introduction to Judaism to have a sponsoring clergy relationship with a rabbi or cantor to guide and support you as you learn about Judaism. Our Reform clergy look forward to working with our Introduction to Judaism students to personalize the classroom experience and to meet with you to respond to questions you may have about Jewish life, belief and practice. You can expect to meet with your sponsoring clergy several times during the course. All of our clergy anticipate receiving calls from our students asking them to be clergy sponsors. We are happy to provide recommendations if you do not already have a relationship with a rabbi or cantor; call us at 781-449-0404 x12 to facilitate your connection with a referring rabbi.
Q: Is there a lot of "homework" for this course?
A: While there are weekly reading assignments, there are no papers or exams for this course. There are short exercises to help you become familiar with the Hebrew alphabet that should take no more than 10-15 minutes per chapter. Lastly, we recommend that participants keep a "journal" - a record of one's exploration of Judaism. The class binder includes several journal assignments on specific topics that can be answered in a couple of short paragraphs.
Q: Will I receive some sort of certificate at the end of this course?
A: Participants who miss no more than 3 sessions will receive certificates of completion for the course.
Q: My Jewish partner is not Reform. Is this still the right place for me/us to explore Judaism? Will what we are taught in the class hold true for other Jewish denominations?
A: Absolutely! Our Jewish participants come from a variety of Jewish backgrounds. While our programs are presented in collaboration with Boston area Reform congregations and reflect Reform Judaism’s inclusive approach, we embrace a style of teaching that presents many options and interpretations.