Monday, February 20, 2012

How Do You Congratulate a New Convert?

This has been a surprisingly contentious issue. What do you say to someone upon finishing their conversion? 

Congratulations in English is a simple, easy way to do convey all the possible emotions.

Out of the 200+ congratulations I've received in person and online, almost all people said "mazal tov!" to me, and I think that's appropriate. However, a surprising number of people followed that with, "Is that what I'm supposed to say?" Do people say it because it's the default thing to say about something joyous?

Two very smart friends suggested that mazal tov is not the appropriate phrase. They argued, and I think rightfully so, that the "more correct" phrase would be "yasher koach."

What say you?


  1. Found your blog recently and I love it! I converted in the Reform Movement last year (I'm now Conservative) and when people find out that I'm a convert, they either say "mazel tov" or "welcome to the tribe."

  2. Yashar koach/shkoyach, or kol hakavod! :o)

  3. brucha habaa, welcome home, seems more appropriate to me

    1. I think it should be both yasher koach and mazal tov. They both apply in their own way.

  4. I got a bunch of "welcome to the Tribe" congrats from Jews. :)

  5. Well, I said "mazel tov," but I can see how "Yasher koach" is more appropriate. It really isn't about luck, but now that I think about it, most of the things we say "mazel tov" for aren't about luck, either.