Ask the Rabbi

  • Family and Society
  • Conversion
קטגוריה משנית
My dad fervently believed that he was Jewish, despite the fact that he had a mysterious lineage (due to adoption). Thus, I was raised kosher and Shabbat observant. My mother, however is not Jewish, although she is very strict with keeping Torah. So, here I am, in my adulthood, wanting to know if I need to have a formal mikvah due to my patchy Jewish lineage. I feel Jewish, obviously, as I embrace Torah tenaciously. I have two sons and am raising them Jewish. So, to be considered Jewish without a shadow of doubt by fellow Jewish people, do I need this official conversion? No one knows that I have this patchy Jewish lineage, as I am accepted as fully Jewish by my Jewish peers, but I worry at night when I lie awake of how Jewish I really am... What would you recommend?
I would certainly advise you to dicuss your situation with a Rabbi who has expertise in matters of yuchsim (lineage) and conversion. Generally, if there is a doubt, it is advisable to have "giyur l'chumra" which is a short conversion process, to dispell any doubt. It is not necessary to tell anyone about this process, since it is a stringency and does not ultimately affect your status. In our times there are more and more questions about "patchy lineage", possibly due to the diminishing scrupulousness with regards to marriage. The notion and process of giyur l'chumra provides an opportunity for rededication to the faith of our fathers and the Jewish way of life. I wish you much success in this endeavor, and pray that you find advisors who will be both expert in the halachic aspects and sympathetic in the personal dealings with your case.
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