We had our first conversion class last night. I think it went very well. The Rabbi is a welcoming and thoughtful person. The breakdown of the class was as I expected – nine people six of whom were couples who were either married, engaged or considering getting married and three who were there by themselves. Everyone seemed excited, reasonably knowledgeable and friendly.
The class itself was very introductory, going over terminology, discussing the idea of peoplehood, etc. I found that while I had done the assigned reading, I hadn’t spent enough time thinking about some of the concepts and was at a loss to define ideas as simple as “holy”. We wrestled for a long time in the class with the idea of a people “set apart” or “chosen”. It’s a loaded subject, especially in a class full of people converting, and the Rabbi tried to walk a fine line with regards to it, emphasizing that translation isn’t meaning, and that “chosen” does not have to lead to a chauvinistic view of Judaism. He’s a smart and thoughtful guy; its going to be an interesting class.