The Union for Reform Judaism sponsors this Introduction to Judaism course in the greater Seattle region. The Intro course offers a basic foundation in Judaism in 18 sessions. The course is designed for persons considering conversion to Judaism, but it is very helpful to Jews-by-birth who seek a refresher course in the principles and practices of Judaism, as well as interfaith couples.
Tuition for the 18-week course is $280. A non-refundable $50 registration fee is included. The tuition fee allows for either one or two people to attend, and we encourage couples to attend together or singles to invite an interested friend. If you are yourself a member of a URJ-affiliated Reform congregation, the tuition is $200. You will also have to purchase the required textbooks for the class (appr. $110). View the textbook list.
If the URJ Introduction to Judaism locations are inaccessible to you, please check with your local synagogue which might offer its own Introduction course. Visit the listing of Reform synagogues to find one near you.
What You Can Do Until Your Course Begins - Read these useful tips on how to prepare.
Why take the course?
For some things in life, it is never too late. Somehow, when you were younger, maybe you didn't learn what you'd like to know about the culture and religion of the Jewish people. Perhaps, you weren't quite ready to appreciate the Jewish education you were offered. Perhaps your parents didn't think you needed a Jewish education. Perhaps you now seek a way to live a fuller and richer Jewish family life. Perhaps you now want to narrow the cultural gaps between you and your children. Perhaps you are seeking conversion to Judaism. Whatever the reason, URJ Introduction to Judaism offers you a time and place to broaden your Jewish awareness.
Intro is designed to be a meaningful, educational experience for any person interested in knowing and understanding Judaism and Jewish life. The course is organized around the major themes of Judaism, and around the holidays and events in the Jewish life cycle.
Included in the URJ Introduction to Judaism course are the following concepts:
- Conversion to Judaism
- Death and Mourning
- Israel and Zionism
- Jewish Culture
- Jewish Concepts of God
- Jewish History
- Jewish Holidays
- Marriage and Family
- Personal Responsibility
- Repentance and the Path of Righteousness
- Worship and Spirituality
Sponsoring Rabbi or Cantor
If you are considering conversion, we strongly encourage you to meet with a rabbi or cantor while attending the course. If you know a rabbi or cantor, make an appointment with him or her to discuss why URJ Introduction to Judaism could be right for you. Or contact our office and we'll help you find a clergy person.
Instructors are usually rabbis ordained by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, the seminary for Reform Judaism. These liberal rabbis encourage students to raise questions and enter into spirited discussions on all topics. URJ Introduction to Judaism reflects the approach of Reform Judaism. This two-hundred-year-old Jewish movement includes the largest number of religious Jews in America. It has forged a dynamic synthesis of tradition and modernity that allows for an encompassing yet flexible Jewish consciousness.
Students who complete all the requirements of the URJ Introduction to Judaism will receive a Certificate of Completion. To earn a Certificate of Completion for the course, you must fulfill the following requirements:
Attend all eighteen class sessions. To make up an absence, you can attend a class on the same topic in the following semester or year. Sometimes your instructor will offer an alternative make-up assignment.
Attend a Shabbaton
Attend at least three Shabbat services and submit a report to your instructor about your experiences, reactions and impressions about each of these.
Complete all homework assignments and journal entries the instructor assigns.
Complete the take-home Summary Review. This is an open-book Final Exam and you are encouraged to use all the materials you receive in class to write this paper. You will obtain the Summary Review Questions from your instructor at the 14th class session. When you complete the Summary Review, you should submit it directly to your instructor who will review it and may ask you to revise some sections.
About the Coordinator
Rabbi Sabine Meyer is the director of the URJ West District Introduction to Judaism program. Ordained by the Hebrew Union College - Institute of Jewish Religion in Los Angeles, Rabbi Meyer has served congregations in the greater Los Angeles area, Palm Springs, and the Imperial Valley and was the first rabbi/educator at the International Peace School in Cologne, Germany. She has lectured widely in congregational and academic settings on topics ranging from Torah to Reading Hebrew and early biblical history to the Holocaust.