Take the 2-minute tour ×
Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Shalom!

Which city in Canada has classes for Judaism converts who wish to learn more about the religion and the way of life? I have found a little information about the Jewish Outreach Institute and community from Montreal only. How about similar institutions in English speaking Canada?

PS. (Long and personal) I have long 'suspected' my Jewish ancestry (on my father's side, I'm 'biologically' from Central - Eastern Europe) and my recent ancestry study confirms that. I am moving to Canada soon and I believe Judaism is probably the only religion which has passed the millenia of suppresion which means to me that the Jews do something extremely well, maybe it's the fact that Judaism is more the way of life normalizing or influencing more spheres of life than, say, Christian denominations?

share|improve this question
2  
micstas, welcome to Mi Yodeya! I hope one of our users has some information that you might find useful. You should be aware that in Judaism, converts are often guided through the conversion process individually so I don't know if group classes will be available. If you don't mind my asking, is your Jewish ancestry on your mother's or father's side? –  Double AA Jul 25 '12 at 23:08
    
Thank you for the warm welcome, DoubleAA. It is my fathers side and it's great-grandfather who was a Jew and practiced Judaism and my father has grown up as a Catholic, so I am Jewish 'only' by biological ancestry and on this (father's) side. –  MichaelS Jul 27 '12 at 9:00
    
Oftopic and spam:I am still becoming aware of my genealogy, but for now, I have found my distant Jewish cousins who live in the US and Canada based on just a shallow check of my genetic relatives, not including the most recent found - YDNA. I just got to know that on my paternal side I am a descendant of a person with the Y chromosome variant very uncommon in Poland - G2a*, but relatively common among the Ashkenazi and other Jews, meaning I'm a direct descendant on this, paternal, side from the Nowe Miasto nad Pilicą community which has perished during WW2, and some have forcibly assimilated. –  MichaelS Jul 28 '12 at 8:44
    
There was a Synagogue and there was a Jewish cementary created from the II half of the XVII century. There is no trace after the Synagogue and the cementary now (they were still standing in 1937). –  MichaelS Jul 28 '12 at 8:48

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

To start: For some excellent tips on someone starting conversion, see this question and its answers:

First steps for someone considering conversion


As DoubleAA noted in his comment, studying conversion is something that is usually, but not always, done at a personal level. That being said, there are many classes one can go to about Judaism that are given for Jew and Gentile alike.

I recommend that you get in touch with a Rabbi in the neighborhood you plan to move to. Ask him about what classes he offers, and whether you can join. Be up front about being non-Jewish, but really, that should not deter any rabbi from teaching you. Some may not offer classes on your level of learning, but they should be able to refer you to a rabbi that does. Certainly, before studying specifically for conversion, you should attend a few classes and speak to a rabbi face to face about it.


And now, on to the question!

As far as organizations go, Chabad is a world-wide organization that has rabbis everywhere. More importantly, they put great importance into outreach, and are accepting of anybody, Jew or non-Jew. For a list of all their Canadian centers, you can check the Chabad.org website. (Toronto, Calgary, Halifax, Kingston, Ottawa, Vancouver, Winnipeg, etc., etc., etc.)

Another organization that specializes in outreach is Aish. They are a world-wide organization as well, although they appear to only have one center in Canada: Toronto.

Both of these organizations offer classes for beginners to Judaism, so they should be exactly what you want. If you can't find a rabbi that is able to work with you, or you want to skip straight to those that work on this all the time, get in touch with one of these organizations.


(Incidentally, much of the outreach in Montreal is bilingual, in my experience. I don't know if that matters, since you didn't specify where in Canada you are going.)

share|improve this answer
2  
Great answer. While a prospective convert generally studies with one rabbi, that rabbi will, if possible, send you to community-wide courses for some of the basics -- it's more efficient, and many cities have a large-enough population to support this. But ultimately you'll need to be guided by a rabbi, so if you can make that connection early on, he can hook you up with whatever classes are available in the community. –  Monica Cellio Jul 26 '12 at 0:38

Probably Toronto, very likely Ottowa. For years Ottowa had Rabbi Bulka (recognized more or less as Canada's chief rabbi) performing conversions, he's since hung up his hat in that role, but I suspect others in the town still support the process.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.