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It is my understanding that when a person converts to Judaism, certain halachic relationships are severed.

So I have a couple questions about this.

  • Which relationships are severed?
  • Is a convert related to their Jewish (from birth) father?
  • If a person and their close relative convert together, are they still related? If so, what does "converting together" mean?
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I suggest watching the videos found in this blog. moriyasplace.blogspot.com/2011/04/… really interesting take on conversion and relationships, and how it feels to the dedicated convert. –  avi Dec 28 '11 at 19:50
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2 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

1 All relationships are severed when a person converts.

2 The convert was never related to their Jewish (from birth) father and does not become so when they convert.

3 No, they are not related. The phrase "converting together" is generally used when a husband and wife convert together. When they convert their non-Jewish marriage is dissolved and they marry again as Jews.

Note that even though they are not related, nevertheless D'Rabbanan laws of incest to their former non-Jewish relatives still apply.

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I should also note that the laws between parents and children who convert can be complex. Even though Yichus is severed, a convert who has had children before converting may still be considered to have fulfilled the Mitzva of Pru U'Revu, and a child still may have obligations to their pre-conversion parents even if the parents don't convert. –  follick Dec 28 '11 at 2:16
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Of course, in practice, conversion is a very complex area of Halachah and one needs to consult not just their local Rabbi, but an expert in these laws. –  follick Dec 28 '11 at 2:18
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Sources for any or all of the above would be nice. –  Seth J Dec 28 '11 at 2:22
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Could be this is derived from Yevamos 48b: A ger who is nisgayer is like a newborn child (ke-katan she-nolad dami) –  yitznewton Dec 28 '11 at 14:36
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@MarthaF., by "related," here, people mean in the technical-Halachic sense, with implications for various purposes, some of which are discussed in come comments above. For at least some of these purposes, a non-Jew and a Jew cannot be "related," so the Jewish father and his non-Jewish child, for those purposes, aren't. –  Isaac Moses Dec 28 '11 at 19:46
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Converting relatives are complete strangers but for the fact that they are not allowed to have any sexual relationship that they couldn't have had before conversion. If a brother and sister convert, they cannot marry as Jews.

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This is not true. Many rules of incest do apply by rabbinic law after conversion, but not all of them. –  Double AA Jul 29 '12 at 22:11
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This answer needs some sources. –  Seth J Jul 29 '12 at 22:32
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