Ike’s conversion

July 11, 2017 by J-Wire News Service
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On Saturday, July 15, ABC TV’s Compass will screen Ike’s Conversion a fascinating personal story about a young man’s journey to become an orthodox Jew.


Ike Curtis looks like a typical young Melburnian. He’s into music, studies arts at Uni and barracks for AFL team Richmond. But at 21 he’s about to fulfil a long-held desire to become an Orthodox Jew. Ike wasn’t born Jewish. His grandfather was, but on his father’s side, so it doesn’t count because Judaism is passed on exclusively through the female line. Ike’s path to Judaism was steered by a twist of fate. As a child, the school Ike went to was not working out so his parents were recommended a nearby progressive Jewish school. Although he was the only non-Jew there, he thrived.

Georgia, Ike’s mum said: ‘We didn’t really look at the whole Jewish thing too much, we just thought it’s a lovely learning environment, let’s give this a go.’

It was on a school trip to Jerusalem that something happened to made Ike decide to convert to orthodox Judaism. Here, for the first time, he experienced the daily prayer ritual for orthodox Jewish men that involves strapping on ‘tefillin’, the boxes that hold sacred text. It had a profound effect.

“It was like something that had always been there was unearthed or I kind of brushed the surface and suddenly something had appeared” Ike told ABC.


Compass began filming with Ike halfway through his conversion program.  The Rabbis really put converts through their paces to prove they are ready to become an orthodox Jew. The final stages were drawn out and nobody quite knew if – and when – Ike would be converted.

Compass was given rare access to the Melbourne Beth Din (Jewish court of law) and interviews with Rabbi Mordechai Gutnick and Rabbi Danny Rabin feature in the story.

The Melbourne Beth Din’s Rabbi Mordechai Gutnick added: “‘We can’t, we shouldn’t really covert someone who isn’t fully committed’

And then there was the small issue of circumcision!

Ike’s mother Georgie pipped in: ‘They’ve got to cut him.  I mean he’s not being circumcised.  He’s already circumcised! ”

Last word from Ike himself. “‘People joke to me and they will say, you know, ‘It’s not too late to back out’, you know”

Join Compass for the final stages of Ike’s ConversionSat 15th July, ABC TV and ABC iview at 6pm.



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