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I am a college student who is a Noahide and is strongly considering conversion to Judaism; I know I definitely want to convert into Reform. Given that the synagogue is a bit further away from campus, I'd like to do my conversion studies and be overseen by a rabbi at my school's Hillel. Does Hillel International do such things? Does it align itself with any of the modern sects?

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I wish you success on your new journey. –  JJLL Aug 4 at 0:09

2 Answers 2

Conversion is officiated by a beit din, or religious court. Hillel as an organization does not perform conversions; however, your school's Hillel rabbi might be able to assist you in conversion.

Different universities' Hillels have rabbis from different streams of Judaism. Some have Reform rabbis, others have Conservative rabbis, others have Orthodox rabbis, and still others have unaffiliated rabbis or rabbis affiliated with one of the many other smaller streams of Judaism. If your Hillel rabbi is willing to work with you, he or she will likely do it according to his or her own stream.

If you definitely want a reform conversion and the Hillel rabbi is not reform, he may or may not be able/willing to direct you to a reform rabbi who can do a reform conversion.

As you may know, many Jews do not consider reform conversions valid, and those people would not consider you to be Jewish after having such a conversion.

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The rabbanut in Israel would not consider you Jewish so that you would have to start from scratch if you wanted to make aliyah. I knew a woman who had a lot of trouble making aliyah and getting married because of that. –  sabbahillel Aug 3 at 2:25

Hillel as an organization does not, but an individual rabbi who works for Hillel may. Note that the Hillel rabbi at your school (assuming there is one - not all Hillel's have rabbis) may be Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, or something else. Also while most rabbis do not do conversions (it is a fairly rare and complicated process so most rabbis simply never encounter it), I can't imagine a Hillel rabbi not being willing to study and teach you even if s/he is not the person who actually performs the final conversion. Even if this rabbi doesn't do conversions, chances are they know who in town does and can work with you to find the right person to call. Pick up the phone and call.

Reform conversion practices vary from place to place. The Central Conference of American Rabbis (the largest Reform rabbinic group) has published guidelines you can read. However you'll also notice that many of the guidelines are phrased as guidelines and suggestions, and it's up to the individual rabbi to decide whether or how to implement them. Some rabbis may convene a beit din (panel of rabbis) to do the conversion, some may not. Some may ask you to immerse in a mikvah (ritual bath), some may not. If you're male some may want you to do a brit (circumcision), and some may not. And as others have pointed out, contemporary reform conversions are not currently accepted by the state of Israel. This may or may not matter to you.

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