Say one has reasons to suspect that their mother is Jewish and thus, they too would be Jewish but they lack hard proof, should they celebrate Jewish holidays just in case?

  1. Are they halachically permitted to celebrate Jewish holidays or are they forbidden? Can they partially observe them?

  2. Do they gain any spiritual reward from (even partially) doing them (e.g. more specifically its almost Yom Kippur now, so this is the specific one that I'm talking about in this context)?

  • 4
    A person in that situation would really need to speak to a rabbi and clarify their status, if one is Jewish they really need to know. Sep 24, 2023 at 10:46
  • In the meantime, The Book of Jonah, which we "happen" to read on Yom Kippur, tells of how the (entirely non-Jewish) city of Nineveh was saved from destruction by fasting, so it would appear that someone who didn't know whether or not he was Jewish would have nothing to lose by fasting from food, drink, and bathing for 24 hours. Sep 24, 2023 at 10:59
  • 1
    This sort of thing can't be answered in this kind of forum. One would have to get in touch with a rabbi with experience in these matters.
    – N.T.
    Sep 24, 2023 at 15:14
  • 1
    If you’re Jewish, you keep Jewish traditions. If you know you are Jewish and just lack proof, why would you not fast?
    – ezra
    Sep 24, 2023 at 16:08
  • 2
    @setszu If your mother tells you that you’re Jewish and you have a chazaka to believe so, such as traditions, then that’s how you could know.
    – ezra
    Sep 24, 2023 at 21:34


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