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11 Elul 5765

Is Converting for Marriage Valid?


Rabbi Jonathan Blass

Question:
If a person converts in order to marry a secular, non-observant Jew is this conversion valid?
I know that in theory the whole point of converting in the first place is to accept the authority of the Torah and live as a Jew. However in practice, as Iím sure youíre aware, most conversions are pre-cursors to weddings that would otherwise be intermarriages and have little bearing on the post-conversion habits of the convert.
On one hand, it seems that this would not really be a valid conversion (and I know in Israel conversions can be denied in situations where the convert isnít actually living a Jewish life). OTOH, we arenít allowed to judge "born" Jews on what mitzvot they do or donít do, are converts subject to a different standard?

Answer:
Conversion requires acceptance of the Torah's truth and authority. A child born to a Jewish mother remains Jewish whatever his beliefs. A valid conversion requires a recognized Orthodox Beit Din. If such a Beit Din converted someone you should assume that all the relevant questions were asked and that the person converted to Judaism by that Beit Din passed the requirements.


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