By Phyllis Steinberg
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
October 5, 2008
Every year, many women choose to convert to Judaism. They usually take an
Introduction to Judaism class, but the classes don't always cover the practical
aspects of living a Jewish life.
That's why the Jewish Outreach Institute has developed the Empowering Ruth program, a course that offers those who have recently converted to Judaism hands-on learning in Jewish living, home observance, new rituals, life-cycle events and more.
The program piloted in New York City and is set to premier in Broward County at Temple Beth Emet in Cooper City this month.
Liz Marcovitz, the institute's program officer and Empowering Ruth national coordinator, said the program gives converts practical advice on living a Jewish life.
"The program has 14 sessions and while it is educational in nature, it is much more than book learning," Marcovitz said. "An Introduction to Judaism course teaches converts to light candles on Shabbat, while Empowering Ruth teaches them how to actually prepare your home for Shabbat, how to rest on the Sabbath and advice on items such as where to buy candle holders for your Shabbat candles."
"This is a great way to embrace recent converts to Judaism in a learning community," said Cantor Jan Sherr of Temple Beth Emet, facilitator of the program.
The program will meet at Temple Beth Emet bi-weekly for seven to eight months.
The curriculum, which was funded by the Jim Joseph Foundation, provides instruction for several optional field trips and guest speakers relevant to the session topics.
"It's a much-needed program, and our goal is to offer it throughout the nation and in Canada," Marcovitz said. This fall it will be offered in Austin, Texas, and Montreal.
Katherine Campbell, 33, of Pembroke Pines, converted to Judaism a year ago and will be taking the class.
"It's a learning process," Campbell said. "I want to learn more about Judaism and also about myself and how I fit into the religion."
For more information, contact Marcovitz at 212- 760-1440 or LMarcovitz@ joi.org, or Zohar Casden at Temple Beth Emet at 954-680-1882 or zcasden@templebethemet. org.
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