The ‘Converts’ film – Another take
We recently reviewed the movie Converts: The Journey of Becoming Jewish, a Holyland Productions film, which follows several non-Jews from around the world as they go through the conversion process. Our review, however, is incomplete without a piece by Rabbi Reuven Tradburks, the director of our our Machon Milton, English Language Conversion Preparation Course:
The film Converts played at the recent Jerusalem Jewish Film Festival. The film covers a number of people in their conversion process. Though they are from Warsaw, Costa Rica and Toronto, and their personal stories are varied, some aspects of their process are shared.
And that is, that conversion to Judaism is a complex process. In some places, like here in Israel, the bureaucracy is frustrating. But for all people who convert, conversion is an internal upheaval. It often brings turmoil. Family relationships can be bruised. Parents can feel rejected. Certain commitments can be too much. Romantic relationships can present challenges. This is besides the feeling of being an outsider in the newly chosen Jewish world.
The film is very well done, both in allowing us to accompany these fine people and in its professional presentation. But what occurred to me was both the enormous regard for those who convert and the crucial need for warm support, advocates, friends. I was Director of the Conversion Beit Din in Toronto for ten years and now Director of Machon Milton, an English language course leading to conversion with the Israeli Rabbinate. The people who are successful in their conversion are most often those with mentors or rabbis who encourage, support and care for them along the way and after the conversion.
Undertaking this upheaval is daunting if done alone. An encouraging voice is critical. That is the role I try to play with our students. And after viewing this film, I feel even more strongly how crucial a role encouragement, caring and support is for the wonderful people who are joining our People.
For more information about Machon Milton, or to reach out to Rabbi Tradburks, email him at email@example.com.