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Jewish Lineage

Rabbi Jonathan Blass14 Iyyar 5763
322
Question
In order to be considered a Jew...must both of your parents be Jewish? Or just one or the other? I was trying to figure out if Abraham’s son Ishmael would be considered a Jew if his father was Jewish and his mother was Egyptian. Thank you for your time.
Answer
Someone born of a Jewish mother is Jewish even if his father was not Jewish. For many reasons (before the giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai the definition of who was Jewish was obviously different), Ishmael was not Jewish.
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