Ask the Rabbi

  • Family and Society
  • Conversion
קטגוריה משנית
  • Family and Society
  • Who is A Jew?
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Question
Jewish internet chat rooms have a majority of ’converts’ claiming to have studied for 3 months and are official jews and if they say the are jewish then that’s all that’s needed - not my judgements, I have no right to judge their jewishness. The reform and conservative back them up. One even sent me a letter from an ’orthodox’ rabbi in the Shalom Hartman institute that is teaching this. So there are 2 questions. 1 - Who is a jew? 2 – What is my right to judge who is a jew?
Answer
1. A Jew must have a Jewish mother or undergo a proper halachic conversion. 2. It is often impossible, and usually unnecessary to judge who is a Jew. It is also not productive to be constanly telling people who do not have proper conversions that they are not Jewish. I suggest that in your dealings with people you deal first and formost with the topic of conversation, the issues, and not the person (I am not talking about personal relationships, but about dicussions).
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