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I am interested to know how giyur le’chumra is different from a standard conversion in practice? Does anyone have any personal experiences?

My understanding of the meaning of giyur le’chumra (from an article I found on Torah Lab) is as follows:

Giyur le’chumra is a term which refers to conversions performed as precautionary measures. They are undertaken when a doubt exists about one’s Jewishness or about the validity of his conversion. Such conversions involve accepting the commandments before a rabbinical court, and immersing in a mikvah.

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Is your question how the process of geirut is different, or what the difference is between the two stati? I had assumed the former but the one answer assumes the latter. Can you clarify? Thanks. – Monica Cellio Dec 18 '14 at 19:31
up vote 7 down vote accepted

This answer is based off of experience of being present at a giyur l'chumra conducted by R' Yosef Berger. The Beis Din does not remind the convert, as is normally done, that this is his last chance to change his mind and not become a Jew, as we are already assuming that he is a Jew, and the conversion is "just in case." In the conversion which I witnessed, they did not inform him about mitzvos kalos v'chamuros (some "light" and some "serious" mitzvos), for what I assume was the same reason - because we don't want to and aren't trying to scare him/her off.

Normally, a convert makes a blessing on going to mikvah, and a shehecheyanu. The giyur l'chumra convert makes neither of these blessings, although I suppose it couldn't hurt for him to bring a new fruit with him and just have it in mind.

The convert was not asked to choose a name for himself, as normally converts do take a name upon conversion. I do not know if this was because it is assumed he wouldn't want to change the name he had been going by as a Jew, or because we aren't interested in changing his name since we are assuming he already was a Jew.

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Although it depends on how names work....one big rabbi I know ( I don't know if he wants this shitah on the internet ) holds that a name (for everything: aliyah, tefillah, kesuva et al) is merely what the person is called by their friends. Based on that, I know that he ruled that one lady's halachic/Hebrew name was "Belle" ( although now that she and her friends refer to her as "Bayla," that confusion is gone ) – Shokhet Dec 19 '14 at 4:27

In a giyur lechumra you are considered Jewish to yourself but not to others. So you have to keep everything, but other people regard you as a non-Jew, whereas when you are non-Jew before a conversion, you are indeed a non-Jew and don't have to keep anything like a Jew.

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How do you know this? ....editing in a source would be a good idea, whether you know this from experience or from some sefer. See meta.judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/1444/… and meta.judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/712/… for more information. – Shokhet Dec 18 '14 at 18:17
what else could be difference? – havarka Dec 18 '14 at 18:23
A person in the conversion process doesn't have to keep anything like a Jew???? So he could go from driving around on shabbos and eating pork one day to being completely shomer mitzvot the next day? I don't think any beis din would allow that. – Daniel Dec 18 '14 at 20:37
I was speaking about a case, where person only thinks about converting, not actually already being in process, then the difference would be really very little, but in question it's specified what he is really asking about. – havarka Dec 18 '14 at 20:55
I think you are misunderstanding what a giyur l'chumra is. The person involved is assumed to be Jewish and the conversion is "just in case" – Y ez Dec 18 '14 at 20:57

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