Test

Test your knowledge!

Beware: the following page is going to be intimidating and scary. Rather than posting a particular conversion "test," I've posted almost every question I've seen on any such questionnaire or study guide. This diagnostic test/study guide combines approximately a dozen such “tests.” YOU WILL NOT BE ASKED ALL THESE QUESTIONS OR EVEN A LOT OF THEM. This is to give you an idea of the topics that are fair game and to help you plan your conversion studies. Inevitably, I've left out something that someone will think is necessary. If you can answer most of these questions correctly (and I mean 75% at most), then you likely know that piece of information too. I don't even know the answers to all of these questions, and I'm still confident enough about my Jewish knowledge to write a blog about conversion. Either that makes me crazy or means we're all human and can only hold so much information in our brains. Part of being a good Jew is acknowledging when you don't know the answer, but knowing how to find out the answer. Sometimes, that means the answer is as simple as "I'd ask my rabbi."


How to use these questions: One day when you have some free time, take a first run on the questions: answer every question you know with certainty, leaving the others blank. Use this as a kind of diagnostic. Check those answers to make sure they're "right" (know that there may be several correct answers or that the answer is asking for your personal experiences). Then take time over several weeks to look up the remaining answers. If you have a guess, make a note of it before looking up the answer.

How to Get Answers: Ask your rabbi or someone in your community if you can go over any questions you didn't understand or couldn't find the answer to. I suggest a sit-down meeting to go over them together, face-to-face. I suggest asking your rabbi first because you'll begin to get used to speaking to a rabbi about these kinds of halachic questions so that you'll be less nervous for your beit din. You'll also impress him with all you already know!

Answer Guide: People always ask for an answer guide to these tests. In my opinion, that defeats the purpose of giving you this list! This is your grad school of Judaism. You're not preparing for a test; you're preparing for the rest of your life as an orthodox Jew. That means you need to really learn these issues, rather than memorize an answer that might not even be right in your life. You won't understand the factors and rationales that go into reaching these answers and how they apply to your own life. Nothing in life will be as cut-and-dry as these questions make it sound, so you need a real education in Judaism.

Halacha is so complex that just handing you an answer key may backfire:
a) the answer may not be correct for your family or community,
b) the answer may ignore the multitude of potential answers,
c) an answer fools people into thinking the issue is simpler than it is, thus they never learn what the relevant factors are that lead to the answer.
d) Also, many answers can vary significantly based on the family/roommate situation, life situation, home, and personality of the candidate.

If you're someone who is fear-motivated, here's another perspective: if you memorize an answer from a key, you may very well embarrass yourself in front of the beit din if they ask follow-up questions or ask for how you got to that answer. "Showing your work" isn't just for math class anymore!

And let's not forget that if you find an answer key, there's no guarantee that the answer is right for any community in the first place. I know several candidates have proposed making an answer key, but that's equivalent to the blind leading the blind. Only trust yourself to learn what is relevant to your life. You and your life are unique, and halacha recognizes that. Your answer may not be someone else's answer.

If you're a real overachiever (or really nervous): I suggest going back and re-taking the test as a diagnostic and repeating the process above after a few month or a year have passed. You'll be surprised what you've learned!

Tikkun Olam Note: This is really long. It is 22 pages single-spaced in Word, so please don't print it out unless you really mean to use the paper copy.

If you prefer, you can access a Word document version of this test at Google Docs.


TOPICS
Shabbat
Prayer
The Synagogue
The Jewish Calendar
Lifecycle Events
Keeping Kosher
Blessings
Other Mitzvot
Jewish Ethics and Worldview
Gender-Specific Mitzvot
Laws of Family Purity
Jewish History
Reading Hebrew
Miscellaneous Terminology


SHABBAT
1.          Why do we celebrate Shabbat?
2.          What is the source of Shabbat?
3.          Tell me about the term “shomer Shabbat.”
4.          How do we honor Shabbat?
5.          How do we greet each other on Shabbat?
6.          How is Shabbat different from holidays?
7.          What activities are prohibited on Shabbat? How many of them are there?
8.          When are Shabbat laws suspended?
9.          When does Shabbat begin? When does it end?
10.       What do you say if you need to do a prohibited Shabbat activity between the end of Shabbat and havdalah?
11.       How many periods of prayer are there on Shabbat?
12.       Tell me about the term “oneg Shabbat.”
13.       Tell me about the term “birkat hachodesh.” When is it?
14.       Tell me about the term “eruv.”
15.       What happens if the eruv is not kosher one week?
16.       If there is no eruv, how do you get into your locked house?
17.       Tell me about the term “erev Shabbat.”
18.       Describe the candle lighting process and timing.
19.       Recite the Hebrew blessing for lighting the Shabbat candles.
20.       Why do women traditionally light the Shabbat candles?
21.       Who lights candles if a Jewish woman is not present?
22.       Do girls light Shabbat candles?
23.       What happens if you have forgotten to light the Shabbat candles on time?
24.       What can you do if you, for some reason, don’t have candles or something to light them with?
25.       Why can’t you touch or move the candles after they’re lit?
26.       How many meals are on Shabbat?
27.       What is the third meal called?
28.       What is required at each meal?
29.       Tell me about the term “kiddush.”
30.       How do you make kiddush?
31.       Can you eat before making kiddush?
32.       What do you do for kiddush if, for health reasons, you are unable to drink wine?
33.       What can you use for kiddush at Shabbat lunch?
34.       Tell me about the term “lechem mishnah.”
35.       What is the source of lechem misnah?
36.       When does challah need to be separated?
37.       How much dough until bread becomes subject to the law of separating challah?
38.       What do you do with the separated challah?
39.       Why is challah salted before eating it on Shabbat?
40.       What is a Shabbat elevator? How would you use one?
41.       How do Shabbat timers work?
42.       How do you serve hot food on Shabbat?
43.       How do you keep the food warm?
44.       Which types of food can be kept warm?
45.       How do you return a pot to the heat on Shabbat?
46.       Why is it important to have hot food on Shabbat?
47.       How do you change a baby’s diaper on Shabbat? (Probably will not be asked unless you are a parent or may be soon.)
48.       How do you mash food on Shabbat, for example, for a baby?
49.       How do you transport a baby on Shabbat?
50.       Can you kill a bee on Shabbat?
51.       Can you kill a spider on Shabbat?
52.       Can you kill an ant on Shabbat?
53.       What are some other activities that constitute “cooking” on Shabbat other than cooking itself?
54.       What is the problem with knots on Shabbat? How can you make a permissible knot?
55.       Can you wipe mud off your shoes on Shabbat?
56.       Can you take vitamins on Shabbat?
57.       Can you take aspirin on Shabbat?
58.       Can you take prescription medicine on Shabbat?
59.       Can a woman wear make-up on Shabbat?
60.       Name some things that cannot be done to hair on Shabbat.
61.       Can you use a broom on Shabbat?
62.       Can you use a lint brush on clothing on Shabbat?
63.       Can you exercise on Shabbat?
64.       Name an example of the “final hammer blow.” What does that mean?
65.       Tell me about the term “zemirot.”
66.       Where do you find zemirot?
67.       Tell me about the term “muktzeh.”
68.       Name some muktzeh.
69.       When can you move muktzeh?
70.       Can you take a shower or bath on Shabbat?
71.       Tell me about the term “parsha hashavua.”
72.       Where do you find the pasha hashavua?
73.       Tell me about the term “haftorah.”
74.       Where do you find the haftorah?
75.       Why did we create the haftorah?
76.       Tell me about the term “havdalah.”
77.       How do you make havdalah?
78.       Tell me about the term “motzei Shabbat.”
79.       How do we greet each other on motzei Shabbat?
80.       Tell me about the term “melava malkah.”
81.       When can you ask for help from a non-Jew on Shabbat? How would you ask?
82.       When is the only time we can fast on Shabbat?
83.       Are you able to leave work early for Shabbat?
84.       Describe your normal erev Shabbat.
85.       Describe your normal Shabbat plans: meals, synagogue attendance, etc.
86.       How do you prepare your home for Shabbat?
87.       How do you prepare yourself for Shabbat?
88.       Where do you find the candle lighting time?
89.       How many candles do you light on Shabbat? Why?
90.       How do you make tea with lemon on Shabbat?
91.       How do you separate items/foods on Shabbat?
92.       What do you do with the dirty dishes on Shabbat? If you do anything with them, when do you do it?
93.       What would you do if your shirt tore on Shabbat?
94.       Do you brush your teeth on Shabbat? Why or why not?
95.       Do you use an eruv on Shabbat? Why or why not?
96.       What would you do if you accidentally found yourself carrying on Shabbat?
97.       How would you add water to cholent on Shabbat?
98.       How do you deal with medical issues on Shabbat?
99.       How would you deal with a medical emergency on Shabbat?
100.    How would you remove fat from a piece of meat on Shabbat?
101.    How would you remove orange seeds on Shabbat?
102.    How would you remove grapes from a fruit salad on Shabbat if you didn’t like them?
103.    If you own a business, is it open on Shabbat? If so, what arrangements have you made?
104.    If a vegetarian, will you eat meat on Shabbat and yom tov?


TEFILA
105.    Tell me about the term “siddur.”
106.    Be familiar with the priority of prayers.
107.    When is talking in synagogue prohibited?
108.    Tell me about the term “minyan.”
109.    Is it better to pray alone or with a minyan?
110.    What are the minimum prayer requirements for a man?
111.    What are the minimum prayer requirements for a woman?
112.    When must we wash our hands before prayer?
113.    Are you allowed to eat before praying?
114.    Are you allowed to drink before praying?
115.    Are you required to use the bathroom before prayer?
116.    What are the requirements for a minyan?
117.    What is a halachic hour? Why is it important?
118.    What is the Yiddish word for prayer?
119.    What is the Hebrew word for prayer?
120.    What are the names of the set prayer times?
121.    Name mitzvahs that require a minyan.
122.    Does a funeral require a minyan?
123.    Does a wedding require a minyan?
124.    Why is the Shema an important prayer?
125.    When is the Shema recited?
126.    Who is obligated in kriat Shema?
127.    What is the other name for the Amidah?
128.    When is the Amidah recited?
129.    When is the Amidah repeated by the cantor?
130.    How many blessings are in the Amidah during the week?
131.    What is different about the blessings in the Amidah on Shabbat?
132.    How many times a day do we usually say the Aleinu?
133.    What are the different kinds of kaddish?
134.    How are they different?
135.    When does the cantor recite kaddish?
136.    When does a mourner recite kaddish?
137.    When do we insert the “ya’aleh v’yavo” language into our davening?
138.    Tell me about the term “mussaf.”
139.    When do we pray mussaf?
140.    When is tachanun recited?
141.    Tell me about Avinu Malkeinu.
142.    When is Avinu Malkeinu recited?
143.    When is it not recited?
144.    Tell me about the tefila haderech.
145.    When/Where is the tefila haderech recited?
146.    Tell me about birkat hagomel.
147.    When is birkat hagomel recited?
148.    May a woman recite birkat hagomel?


SYNAGOGUE
149.    What is the word for synagogue in Yiddish?
150.    What is the word for synagogue in Hebrew?
151.    When is the Torah read in synagogue?
152.    Tell me about the term “aliyah” in the synagogue.
153.    How many aliyot are awarded on Shabbat?
154.    Name examples of when a person should be honored with an aliyah?
155.    Tell me about the term “mechitza.”
156.    Tell me about the term “ezrat nashim.”
157.    How does a man perform his aliyah?
158.    What blessing is said on the Torah reading?


JEWISH CALENDAR
159.    Is the Jewish calendar solar or lunar?
160.    How many months are in the Jewish calendar?
161.    What are the names of the months?
162.    When does the day begin and end?
163.    Tell me about the term “rosh chodesh.”
164.    For how many days is rosh chodesh celebrated?
165.    What are some of the customs of Rosh Chodesh?
166.    When does the Jewish year begin? Why?
167.    How many “new years” are celebrated in the Jewish calendar?
168.    What do those new years celebrate? Why?
169.    When does the Jewish year end?
170.    Tell me about kiddush levana.
171.    Until when can kiddush levana be recited?
172.    What is the current year on the Hebrew calendar?
173.    How does the Jewish leap year work?
174.    Tell me about the term “chag.”
175.    Tell me about the term “chol hamoed.”
176.    What is different about chol hamoed?
177.    What is not permitted on chol hamoed?
178.    Tell me about the term “seudat.”
179.    When does a holiday begin? When does it end?
180.    Where would you find the information above?
181.    Which activities are allowed on holidays, but not Shabbat?
182.    When is cooking permitted on yom tov?
183.    How does one cook on yom tov?
184.    Name each holiday and its Hebrew date.
185.    How long is each holiday?
186.    Which holidays are celebrated for either 1 or 2 days? Why?
187.    Which holiday is the same length for everyone?
188.    Which holidays were pilgrim festivals?
189.    What is the meaning behind each holiday?
190.    What is the Hebrew blessing for lighting candles for a holiday?
191.    What is the order of lighting and blessings when yom tov and Shabbat coincide?
192.    What is the order of lighting and blessings on Shabbat Chanukah?
193.    Tell me about the term “machzor.”
194.    Tell me about the term “hallel.”
195.    What is the source of hallel?
196.    When do we say hallel?
197.    On which holidays is shehecheyanu ommited?
198.    Tell me about the term “birkat kohanim.”
199.    When is birkat kohanim said?
200.    What is different about kiddush on holidays?
201.    What is not muktzeh on holidays, but is on Shabbat?
202.    What is forbidden at the end of the first day of Yom Tov from sunset until dark?
203.    What is different about candle lighting on the second day of a holiday?
204.    What is different about Chanukah and Purim from the other holidays?
205.    Tell me about the term “eruv tavshilin.”
206.    Name the fast days.
207.    Why do we celebrate each fast day?
208.    What is the difference between the major and minor fast days?
209.    Generally, who is not required to fast?
210.    Tell me about the term “yamim noraim.” What does it mean?
211.    How do we greet each other during the yamim noraim?
212.    When do we dip challah and apples in honey? Why?
213.    Why do we eat unusual foods like fish heads at the beginning of the year? What are some other foods we eat for the same reason?
214.    Tell me about the term “shofar.”
215.    Why do we use a shofar?
216.    How do we use a shofar?
217.    When do we use a shofar?
218.    Which holiday is “the season of our rejoicing”?
219.    Why are we rejoicing on it?
220.    What does the word “Chanukah” mean?
221.    What does the word “Purim” mean?
222.    Tell me about the term “Shushan Purim.”
223.    Tell me about the term “parsha zachor.”
224.    Tell me about the term “Shabbat Hagadol.”
225.    What does the phrase “Shabbat Hagadol” mean?
226.    Tell me about the term “kittel.”
227.    What does the kittel symbolize? What is it similar to?
228.    When is it used?
229.    What does the phrase “l’shanah habah b’yerushalayim” mean?
230.    When is it said?
231.    When do we invite Eliyahu haNavi to join us?
232.    Tell me about the term “omer.”
233.    When is the omer?
234.    What is the other name for the omer?
235.    Tell me about the term “Lag b’Omer.”
236.    When is it?
237.    What does the term “Shavuot” mean?
238.    How many days is it celebrated?
239.    What are the four “special” Shabbats?
240.    What do we do on them?
241.    How many Torah scrolls do we read from on those Shabbats?
242.    Tell me about the term “selichot.”
243.    When do we begin saying selichot?
244.    Which three things “avert the evil decree”?
245.    Tell me about the term “tashlich.”
246.    What is the name of the Shabbat between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur?
247.    Tell me about the “kaparot” ceremony.
248.    What is prohibited on Yom Kippur?
249.    Who is not required to fast on Yom Kippur?
250.    What is the special mitzvah on erev Yom Kippur?
251.    Name some erev Yom Kippur customs.
252.    Tell me about the term “kol nidre.”
253.    What are the names of the different periods of prayer on Yom Kippur?
254.    Tell me about the term “viduy.”
255.    During which of those prayer services do we recite viduy?
256.    Why was Jonah chosen as the haftorah for mincha on Yom Kippur?
257.    What are the requirements for a sukkah?
258.    What is the meaning of the sukkah?
259.    What is the Hebrew blessing said in the sukkah?
260.    When is it said?
261.    Which book do we read on Sukkot?
262.    Which four plants do we use during Sukkot?
263.    When is the last day we eat in the sukkah?
264.    What is muktzeh on the Shabbat of Sukkot?
265.    Tell me about the term “hashana rabba.”
266.    How is hashana rabba celebrated? What ceremony is performed?
267.    Which holidays are immediately after Sukkot?
268.    Why are they immediately after Sukkot?
269.    What is the prayer for “geshem”? When is it said?
270.    How do we celebrate Simchat Torah?
271.    How many Torah scrolls are opened on Simchat Torah? Why?
272.    How is the Torah reading conducted on Simchat Torah?
273.    Tell me about the terms “chatan Torah” and “chatan Bereshit.”
274.    What are the Hebrew blessings for candle lighting on Chanukah?
275.    How many candles are lit on Chanukah?
276.    What is the order of lighting them?
277.    When are the Chanukah candles lit?
278.    Where should the candles be placed?
279.    What can be done with the Chanukah candles after they are lit?
280.    What do we sing after lighting the Chanukah candles?
281.    What is the custom of women after lighting the Chanukah candles?
282.    What is the prayer “al hanissim”?
283.    Tell me about the term “sevivon.”
284.    What does the writing on the dreidel mean?
285.    Which foods are traditionally eaten on Chanukah?
286.    When do we read the Megillah Esther?
287.    Name the 5 mitzvot of Purim.
288.    Tell me about the term “mishloach manot.”
289.    How many mishloach manot do you need?
290.    Which mitzvah is performed on parsha zachor?
291.    Why is it important?
292.    Why are firstborns required to fast on erev Pesach?
293.    Which firstborns are required to fast?
294.    What is done the night before Pesach begins?
295.    What is done the morning before Pesach begins?
296.    Tell me about the term “seder.”
297.    How many seders are there?
298.    Tell me about the term “hagaddah.”
299.    What has to be done on the seder night?
300.    What is placed on the seder table? Why?
301.    How many matzot are placed on the table?
302.    What do we call them?
303.    Why can’t roasted meat be served at the seder?
304.    Are women obligated to participate in the seder? Why or why not?
305.    Tell me about the term “Hillel sandwich.”
306.    Why do we eat a Hillel sandwich?
307.    What is the difference between ordinary matzah and shmurah matzah?
308.    Tell me about the term “chametz.” Give some examples.
309.    Tell me about the term “kitniyot.” Give some examples.
310.    Tell me about the term “gebrokts.” Give some examples.
311.    What is the prohibition for chametz?
312.    When does the prohibition begin?
313.    When are we allowed to begin eating matzah on Pesach?
314.    What is different about our kitchen supplies on Pesach?
315.    Tell me about the term “bread of our affliction.” Why do we use this term?
316.    Who do we hope will appear at the seder?
317.    How many cups of wine do we drink at the seder?
318.    Tell me about the term “afikomen.”
319.    What are the two conditions for eating the afikomen?
320.    What are the four questions recited at the seder?
321.    Describe the four sons mentioned at the seder.
322.    Name the ten plagues.
323.    What do we do while naming the ten plagues? Why?
324.    Which 3 things must be mentioned on Pesach?
325.    What is prohibited after Pesach?
326.    What do we celebrate on the seventh day of Pesach?
327.    When do we read Shir HaShirim?
328.    Why do we count the omer?
329.    What if you forget to count a day during the omer?
330.    Why is the omer considered a time of mourning?
331.    What do we refrain from doing during the omer?
332.    What is the custom regarding the omer and Pirkei Avot?
333.    Which holiday is “the time of the giving of our law”?
334.    List the 10 Commandments.
335.    What are the 3 customs of Shavuot?
336.    What do we eat on Shavuot?
337.    Why do we decorate homes and synagogues with flowers and plants on Shavuot?
338.    Which megillah is read on Shavuot? Why?
339.    When do we recite Eichah?
340.    Who wrote Eichah?
341.    What is the Three Weeks?
342.    When do the Three Weeks begin?
343.    What is prohibited during the Three Weeks?
344.    What is the Nine Days?
345.    When is the Nine Days?
346.    What is prohibited during the Nine Days?
347.    What is the name of the Shabbat before and the Shabbat after Tisha B’Av?
348.    Why are they called that?
349.    How do we observe Tisha B’Av?
350.    Why do we observe Tisha B’Av?
351.    How do you schedule your employment around chagim?
352.    Do you work on chol hamoed? Why or why not?
353.    How do you make your sukkah? Or if you cannot have one, how do you fulfill the mitzvah?
354.    What would you do if it were raining on the first night of Sukkot?
355.    How do you clean for Pesach?
356.    How do you make your kitchen kosher for Pesach?
357.    If you have pets, what do you feed them on Pesach?
358.    How would you handle a “three day yom tov”? Why is this difficult?


LIFECYCLE EVENTS
359.    What is the Hebrew word for circumcision?
360.    Who is subject to the mitzvah of circumcision?
361.    What does circumcision mean?
362.    When are circumcisions performed?
363.    When is circumcision postponed?
364.    Who are the three major participants in the circumcision?
365.    When is a child given his or her Hebrew name?
366.    Tell me about the term “pidyon haben.”
367.    When is a pidyon haben required?
368.    When is the pidyon haben performed?
369.    Who participates in the ceremony?
370.    What is the ceremony?
371.    Tell me about the term “bar/bat mitzvah.”
372.    At what age does one reach this milestone?
373.    Tell me about the term “chuppah.”
374.    Why do a bride and groom fast on their wedding day?
375.    When does their fast begin and end?
376.    When are they not required to fast?
377.    What are the Hebrew words for bride and groom?
378.    How is the marriage ceremony performed?
379.    Tell me about the term “ketubah.”
380.    What is a ketubah and why is it used?
381.    When, specifically, does a bride and groom become “married”?
382.    What is the phrase used to marry the couple and who says it?
383.    What is the Jewish attitude towards divorce?
384.    What is the Jewish divorce process?
385.    Tell me about the term “chevra kadisha.”
386.    What does the chevra kadisha do?
387.    Why does the chevra kadisha observe the 7th of Adar as a special day?
388.    Tell me about the term “baruch dayan haemet.”
389.    Why is it customary to give an ill person an additional Hebrew name?
390.    What is the attitude one must have for the deceased?
391.    Why is cremation prohibited by Judaism?
392.    Are autopsies allowed? When and why?
393.    Is embalming allowed?
394.    What clothing is a Jew buried in?
395.    What does it look like and why?
396.    What kind of coffin is a Jew buried in?
397.    What are the stages of mourning and to whom do they apply?
398.    How long is each period of mourning?
399.    What is prohibited during each period?
400.    When is a garment torn upon the news of a death?
401.    Which garment is torn?
402.    What is the Hebrew name for the tear?
403.    For which relative(s) do we mourn the longest?
404.    Who is traditionally required to recite kaddish?
405.    Is a minyan required to recite kaddish? Why?
406.    Why is kaddish recited?
407.    What is kaddish about?
408.    What happens if a deceased person has no one “obligated” to say kaddish for him or her?
409.    How long and how often is kaddish said?
410.    What should a closely related mourner do after returning from the cemetery but before entering a house?
411.    Tell me about the term “shiva.”
412.    What interrupts shiva?
413.    How does one observe shiva on Shabbat?
414.    What is your obligation when someone else is sitting shiva?
415.    What do we say upon leaving a house of mourning?
416.    What does that mean in English?
417.    Why are mirrors covered in a house of mourning?
418.    Why don’t Jews send flowers to a funeral or house of mourning?
419.    What is special about the mitzvah to escort the dead?
420.    What is the Hebrew word for a Jewish funeral?
421.    Tell me about the term “yizkor.”
422.    When is yizkor?
423.    Are candles lit on these days?
424.    Who customarily leaves during yizkor? Why?
425.    Tell me about the term “yartzheit.”
426.    Why are yartzheit candles lit?
427.    How long do they burn?
428.    When are they lit?
429.    When is a tombstone erected?
430.    How often should we visit the graves of relatives?
431.    When is a graveside visit most appropriate?
432.    What should one do upon leaving a cemetery?
433.    Who is prohibited from entering a cemetery? When is he not?
434.    What is your relationship like with your non-Jewish relatives?
435.    Will those relationships change after your conversion?


KASHRUT
436.    Tell me about the term “kosher.”
437.    Tell me about the term “glatt kosher.”
438.    Tell me about the term “pasul.”
439.    What is the difference between cholov yisroel and cholov stam?
440.    What are the signs of a kosher mammal? Name some that have the signs and some that don’t.
441.    What are the signs of a kosher fish? Name some that have the signs and some that don’t.
442.    How do we know which birds are kosher? Name some which are kosher and some which aren’t.
443.    Are insects kosher? If yes, which ones?
444.    Which products from insects can we eat?
445.    How do you check for insects?
446.    How do you know that milk or eggs are kosher?
447.    If a bee isn’t kosher, why is honey kosher?
448.    Which food mixtures are prohibited?
449.    What do we call non-kosher food?
450.    How are kosher animals slaughtered? Are some not required to be ritually slaughtered?
451.    Can you buy kosher fish at a non-kosher store? If so, how?
452.    How do you kasher meat?
453.    What is the maximum amount of time that can pass between slaughtering and koshering?
454.    How do you kasher liver?
455.    Why is blood prohibited?
456.    How do you check whether eggs are kosher?
457.    What do you call the kosher symbol on foods?
458.    List some kosher symbols.
459.    Are there any kosher symbols you don’t “hold by”?
460.    What do the D and P stand for?
461.    What is dairy equipment?
462.    Name some products that don’t require a kosher symbol.
463.    Why does Israeli produce need a kosher symbol?
464.    Which alcoholic products don’t require kosher supervision?
465.    Tell me about the term “pareve.”
466.    Name some pareve foods.
467.    Can you use a microwave for both milk and meat?
468.    Can you use an oven for both meat and milk?
469.    Can you use a dishwasher for both meat and milk?
470.    What is the general rule about “sharp” foods, for example: lemons, vinegar, onions?
471.    How is a knife different from a spoon?
472.    What do you need to pay attention to when you buy processed foods, for example: canned beans?
473.    What can be done about utensils that become un-kosher?
474.    When are grain-based alcoholic beverages prohibited?
475.    Tell me about the term “shmitta.”
476.    When can you eat food cooked by a non-Jew?
477.    How is your kitchen set up to keep the laws of kashrut?
478.    Where do you buy your meat, fish, and cheese?
479.    What do you do when eating out?
480.    How much time do you wait between eating meat and dairy? Dairy and meat?
481.    What is the difference between hard and soft cheese in the waiting time between dairy and meat?
482.    What do you do if you accidentally use a meat spoon to mix the creamer in your coffee?
483.    What would you do if you had to join others in a non-kosher restaurant? (For example, for work.)
484.    What do you do when invited to the home of friends or family who don’t keep kosher?


BRACHOT
485.    Tell me about the terms “bracha rishona” and “bracha achrona.”
486.    Some tricky or debated brachot:
a.   Pineapple
b.  Rice
c.   Banana
d.  Nuts
e.   Pizza
f.   Grape
g.  Water
h.  Mango
i.    Celery
j.    Tuna fish salad
k.  French fries/potato chips
l.    Tortilla chips
m. Breaded meat
n.  Apple juice
o.  Soy milk
p.  Chewing gum
q.  Sushi
r.   Corn tortilla
s.   Avocado
t.    Strawberry
u.  Matzah
487.    Which fruits have a special after blessing? Why?
488.    What is the “catch-all” after blessing? (Expect to recite this from memory.)
489.    When are we required to wash our hands before eating?
490.    Tell me about the term “birkat hamazon.”
491.    What are the two pre-requisites for reciting birkat hamazon?
492.    How much bread do you need to eat to be obligated?
493.    What is different about birkat hamazon on Shabbat or holidays?
494.    When is Shir Hamalot sung?
495.    Tell me about the term “zimun.”
496.    When is the word elokaynu (written here differently than said) inserted into the zimun invitation?
497.    Why do we avoid speaking between washing our hands and the blessing over the bread?
498.    When can you speak again?
499.    What cannot be present when you make a blessing?
500.    Where can you not say a blessing?
501.    What are the minimum clothing requirements for saying a blessing? Is it different for men and women?
502.    Which blessing do you say on new dishes, utensils, and silverware?
503.    What do you do during this blessing?
504.    Where do you do this blessing?
505.    What blessing do you say upon putting on new clothes.
506.    What blessing do you recite that involves a new home?
507.    Tell me about “shehecheyanu.”
508.    When is shehecheyanu said about a holiday?
509.    When else is shehecheyanu said?
510.    What are some of the other “special” brachot?
511.    How do you ritually wash your hands before eating? Why did you choose that method?
512.    What would you do if you accidentally recited the wrong blessing?
513.    What would you do if you started eating and then realized that you forgot to say a blessing?


OTHER MITZVOT
514.    Tell me about the term “mitzvah.”
515.    What does it mean to do a mitzvah?
516.    Tell me about positive and negative mitzvot.
517.    How many of each?
518.    Give examples of positive and negative mitzvot.
519.    How many mitzvot are there?
520.    Tell me about one of the ways that the mitzvot have been categorized other than positive v. negative.
521.    When can the laws of the Torah be suspended?
522.    Which laws cannot be suspended in any case?
523.    What do you need to do before studying Torah?
524.    How do you understand the obligation to study Torah?
525.    Tell me about the term “tzedakah.”
526.    Do synagogue membership fees “count” as tzedakah?
527.    Do your children’s day school tuitions “count” as tzedakah?
528.    According to the Rambam, what is the highest level of tzedakah?
529.    What are the laws regarding charging interest?
530.    Is one allowed to deceive a non-Jew in business?
531.    Is one allowed to deceive a Jew in business?
532.    Can you borrow an item from your friend without permission if you know s/he doesn’t care?
533.    If you have a financial dispute with a fellow Jew, how should be it settled if you cannot agree?
534.    Is one allowed to tell a “white lie”?
535.    Tell me about the term “shatnez.”
536.    When is a garment required to be checked for shatnez?
537.    How does one check for shatnez?
538.    What are the tznius clothing standards for men and women in your community?
539.    What are other tznius guidelines for both genders?
540.    Tell me about the term “shomer negiah.”
541.    Tell me about the term “yichud.”
542.    What can create yichud?
543.    Why should yichud usually be avoided?
544.    What makes wine “kosher”?
545.    What are the rules regarding handling kosher wine?
546.    When is mevushal wine required?
547.    Tell me about the term “teshuvah.”
548.    What are the requirements for teshuvah?
549.    Which time is explicitly set aside for teshuvah?
550.    Tell me about the term “kavannah.”
551.    What is the minimum level of kavannah required for most mitzvot?
552.    Tell me about the term “mezuzah.”
553.    Why do we have mezuzahs?
554.    Where is a mezuzah not required?
555.    How soon must the mitzvah of the mezuzah be done? Is it different depending on whether you own or rent?
556.    If hanging multiple, how many times do you recite the blessing?
557.    Does a sukkah require a mezuzah? Why or why not?
558.    What is the blessing for a mezuzah?
559.    How often should a mezuzah be checked?
560.    What can invalidate a mezuzah?
561.    What is the first blessing you say in the morning? (Expect to recite this from memory.)
562.    What is the first thing you should do upon arising in the morning?
563.    What is the blessing for that?
564.    What blessing do you recite after using the bathroom? (Expect that you may be asked to recite it from memory.)
565.    Is a handwashing required after using the bathroom? If so, what kind of washing is required? (Your mileage may vary significantly here.)
566.    Tell me about the term “avodah zara.”
567.    Tell me about the term “kibbud av v’em.”
568.    Tell me about the term “gemilut chassadim.”
569.    Tell me about the term “lashon hara.”
570.    Tell me about the term “rechilut.”
571.    Why is it forbidden to embarrass someone in public?
572.    Is Torah study ever restricted or prohibited?
573.    At what age does one finish the obligation to study?
574.    Tell me about the seven Noachide laws.
575.    What were the tasks of the kohanim when the Temple stood?
576.    What were the tasks of the levites when the Temple stood?
577.    From which tasks are kohanim and levites exempt?
578.    Tell me about the word “yotzei.”
579.    Who can “be yotzei” another?
580.    What are the basic requirements of conversion?
581.    Tell me about the term “beit din.”
582.    What does a beit din do other than conversions?


JEWISH ETHICS AND HASHKAFA
583.    Is Judaism just a religion?
584.    What does it mean to be a "chosen people"?
585.    What do we know about Gd?
586.    Why do we call Gd Hashem? What about other names?
587.    When will the Torah be replaced?
588.    Do Jews believe in life after death?
589.    Do Jews believe there is Divine reward and punishment after death?
590.    Tell me about the term “Gan Eden.”
591.    Tell me about the term “Olam Haba.”
592.    Tell me about the term “Gehinnom.”
593.    Do people have free will?
594.    What is the Jewish attitude toward sin?
595.    Is there original sin?
596.    What is the difference between mitzvot d’oraita and mitzvot d’rabbanan?
597.    How does one show respect for Gd’s name?
598.    Tell me about the term “moshiach.”
599.    Will Moshiach be a divine being?
600.    What will Moshiach do?
601.    Who wrote the 13 Articles of Faith?
602.    Name them.
603.    Which poem is based on the 13 Articles of Faith?
604.    Why does Judaism reject Christianity and Islam?
605.    Tell me about the term “yiddishkeit.”
606.    Tell me about the term “mentsch.”
607.    Tell me about the term “yetzer hara.”
608.    Tell me about the term “yetzer hatov.”
609.    Tell me about the term “Pirkei Avot.”
610.    Tell me about the term “derech eretz.”
611.    Tell me about the term “chillul Hashem.”
612.    Tell me about the term “kiddush Hashem.”
613.    Tell me about the term “bitachon.”
614.    Tell me about the term “yirat shemayim.”
615.    What is the Jewish attitude toward abortion?
616.    What is the Jewish attitude toward organ donation?
617.    What is the Jewish attitude toward euthanasia?
618.    What is the Jewish attitude toward self-defense?
619.    What is the Jewish attitude toward the defense of others?
620.    What is the Jewish attitude toward homosexuality and lesbianism? Is there a difference?
621.    What is the Jewish attitude toward secular laws?
622.    What is the Jewish attitude toward animals?
623.    Tell me about the term “tikkun olam.”
624.    Why is a Jewish education important for a child?
625.    Tell me about the term “mussar.”
626.    Name some famous mussar works or authors.
627.    Why do you believe there is anti-semitism?
628.    Have you encountered anti-semitism?
629.    Do you believe that evolution has a halachic basis?
630.    Do you believe that halacha and science are compatible?


MEN
631.    Do you shave? If so, how do you shave?
632.    Do you have peyos? Why or why not?
633.    Do you wear a headcovering all the time at home?
634.    Do you wear a headcovering at work?
635.    Do you wear a headcovering on the street?
636.    Tell me about tzitzit and their significance.
637.    What requires tzitzit?
638.    Do you wear tzitzit?
639.    When don’t you wear tzitzit?
640.    Tell me about tefillin and their significance.
641.    When are tefillin worn?
642.    When are they not worn?
643.    How are tefillin worn?
644.    Do you own a pair of tefillin yet? (Usually not worn until very close to conversion, if at all before.)
645.    Which tefillin is put on first?
646.    Are you allowed to wear tefilin when not praying?
647.    Are you allowed to pass gas or sneeze while wearing tefillin?
648.    Tell me about the tallit.
649.    Do you wear a tallit?
650.    Can a tallit be worn into a bathroom?
651.    How often do you daven each day?
652.    How often do you daven with a minyan?
653.    Do you daven if you don’t go to synagogue?


WOMEN
654.    Why are women generally not obligated in time-bound mitzvot?
655.    Which time-bound mitzvahs ARE women obligated in?
656.    Why aren't women counted in a minyan?
657.    Why don’t women lead prayer services?
658.    Why don’t women receive aliyot?
659.    Can a woman make her own kiddush?
660.    Can a woman make kiddush for her husband or others?
661.    Can a woman be yotzei a man for havdalah? Why or why not?
662.    Can a woman be yotzei a man for the blessing in the sukkah? Why or why not?
663.    How do you feel about presenting niddah questions to a rabbi?
664.    How often do you daven?
665.    Do you regularly daven the full service?
666.    Do you wear pants? Why or why not?
667.    If skirts only, how long are your skirts?
668.    How long are your sleeves?
669.    Do you wear tights or leggings on a regular basis?
670.    How would you handle swimming or going to the beach?
671.    If married, do you cover your hair? If so, do you cover a particular amount?
672.    Is hair covering custom, halacha d’rabbanan, or halacha d’oraita?
673.    If you (plan to) cover your hair, do you have a preferred method to do so or a method you won’t use?
674.    Are women obligated to hear the shofar on Rosh Hashanah?
675.    Are women obligated in the sukkah?
676.    Are women obligated to hear the megillah on Purim?
677.    Are women obligated to count the omer?
678.    Are women obligated in kriat Shema?
679.    Are women obligated to daven maariv?
680.    Can women recite the mourner’s kaddish for a relative who requires it? Why or why not?
681.    Can women participate in a zimun?


TAHARAT HAMISHPACHA
682.    What does the term “taharat hamishpacha” mean?
683.    Tell me about the term “shalom bayit.”
684.    What is the Jewish attitude toward sex within marriage?
685.    What is the Jewish attitude toward sex before marriage?
686.    Tell me about the term “mikvah.”
687.    Tell me about the terms “niddah” and “tahor.”
688.    What is prohibited during the niddah period?
689.    How long is the niddah period?
690.    How does a woman purify herself?
691.    What is the Jewish attitude toward birth control?
692.    Which two days a year have niddah-like restrictions?
693.    What must be done before beginning the “clean” days?
694.    How does a woman observe the “clean” days?
695.    How does a woman with a regular cycle anticipate her next period?
696.    How does a woman with an irregular cycle anticipate her next period?
697.    What must be done on the anticipated day or days?
698.    Is a husband obligated to know that his wife went to the mikvah or can he just assume she went?
699.    How does a woman prepare for a mikvah visit on Friday night?
700.    How does a woman prepare for a mikvah visit on motzei Shabbat?
701.    How many times do you dunk at the mikvah? (Probably won’t ask, but you should decide this at a time before you’re standing in the mikvah.)
702.    What would you do if you happened to be traveling, niddah, and only had one bed in the hotel room?
703.    Tell me about the term “harchakot.”
704.    Would you hand a baby to your spouse while niddah? Why or why not?


JEWISH HISTORY
705.    How many Temples did the Jewish people have?
706.    Who built them?
707.    Who destroyed them?
708.    When were they destroyed?
709.    What happened after they were destroyed?
710.    Name the Patriarchs.
711.    Name the Matriarchs.
712.    Name some important Prophets.
713.    Which Biblical book did David write?
714.    Who gave us the Torah?
715.    Who wrote the Torah down?
716.    When and where did we get the Torah?
717.    Who was the first High Priest?
718.    From which tribe must a King of Israel come?
719.    Who led the Children of Israel out of Egypt?
720.    Which significant event happened before we received the Torah?
721.    Today, Jews are divided by tribe into three categories. Name them.
722.    Do those categories have any special duties or restrictions relevant today?
723.    Tell me about the terms “written law” and “oral law.”
724.    What are the major components of the written and oral laws?
725.    Tell me about the term “Torah.”
726.    Name the books of the Torah in Hebrew and English.
727.    What is the English name of the Torah?
728.    Tell me about the term “Tanach.”
729.    What are the three sections of the Tanach called?
730.    What are the four periods of the development of the Talmud?
731.    Tell me about Rashi.
732.    Tell me about Rambam.
733.    Tell me about Ramban.
734.    Tell me about Yehuda Halevi.
735.    Tell me about the Vilna Gaon.
736.    Tell me about Rabbi Akiva.
737.    Tell me about Hillel and Shammai.
738.    Tell me about the Chofetz Chaim.
739.    Tell me about Yosef Caro.
740.    Tell me about the Baal Shem Tov.
741.    Tell me about Rabbi Soloveitchik.
742.    Tell me about Rav Moshe Feinstein.
743.    Tell me about Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson.
744.    Tell me about Shabbtai Tzvi.
745.    Tell me about the 12 Tribes.
746.    What happened to the 10 lost tribes?
747.    Tell me about the shulchan aruch.
748.    Tell me about the Crusades.
749.    Tell me about the Pale of Settlement.
750.    Tell me about the Cossacks.
751.    Tell me about the haskalah.
752.    Tell me about the term “pogrom.”
753.    Tell me about the phrase “blood libel.”
754.    Tell me about the Holocaust.
755.    Have you visited a Holocaust museum?
756.    Have you read books about the Holocaust?
757.    Tell me about the creation of Chassidism.
758.    What are some of the major teachings of Chassidism?
759.    What are the other religious movements in Judaism?
760.    What are the basic differences between the religious movements?
761.    Tell me about the term “assimilation.”
762.    How can we prevent assimilation?
763.    What do you think are the greatest challenges facing orthodox Judaism today?
764.    What do you think are the greatest challenges facing Judaism today?
765.    What is Zionism?
766.    Tell me about the founding of the state of Israel.
767.    What is your relationship to Israel?
768.    Have you visited Israel?
769.    What is the religious basis for the Jewish people’s claim to the land of Israel?
770.    What is the difference between the terms “land or Israel” and “state of Israel”?
771.    What is the Chief Rabbinate?
772.    Tell me about the history of Jews in America.


READING HEBREW
I have seen requirements for Hebrew reading that require between 6-15 words per minute. That’s actually a very slow reading pace, so don’t be afraid if you think you’re not good at learning languages. It takes time and practice, but you can definitely make it to this speed. You do not need to learn script (cursive/written Hebrew) or Rashi script. Just regular siddur block letters. And you only have to pronounce them, not know what they say.


MISCELLANEOUS TERMINOLOGY
Baruch Hashem
B’li neder
Chas v’shalom
B’ezrat Hashem
What are the “nicknames” of the brachot?

10 comments:

  1. Ohhh I did a quick scan through and I am delighted at how many of these I am at least familiar with! I must be doing something right!

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  2. The awkward moment when you realize that living as an Orthodox Jew your entire life isn't enough to have all the information necessary needed to convert. Some of these questions...

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  3. Lost and found I'm with you. But I spent far to long discussing the blessing for pinnapple.

    I wish there was an answer sheet!

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  4. Thank you for the questions. I have a lot to learn.
    I am wishing like the poster above that there was an answer sheet!

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  5. Strange, i was not asked any of those question. Just one question after a kind of schmuessen, do you think that you are ready to become a Jew. That's it. It seems that for each person and beis din is different.

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  6. Dang dang dang I'm a failure as a potential convert.

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  7. Thank You very much, these questions are really useful also for me as reform (Continental Europe, I guess its like US conservative) convert, even though we would probably have different answers on some issues :-) Your blog is so helpful...

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  8. As a fellow conversion candidate - though not within the Orthodox Union - I could only say to D. Goodwin (while suspecting there is a lot of blowing off steam in the reply) you can never fail for ultimately you are listening to what HE wants from you and for you - not what you want or desire for yourself.

    If you come to recognize and sincerely believe that conversion isn't HIS plan for you - than you have succeeded in recognizing and following his will - and putting your desires as secondary. To that I say Mazel Tov!

    If you don't make it the first time (everyone's fear I suspect) and you are certain that he wants you, then pray on what deficiencies need to be corrected. It may be more technical knowledge - it might be greater depth and understanding. You do whatever it takes, struggle as long as you have to struggle. After all isn't that among the least things you can do for HIM?

    Best always

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  9. These questions are so useful! Thank you thank you thank you!

    ReplyDelete