If a Jew has a non-Jewish father and a Jewish mother, how is he or she:

  1. Called up to the Torah,
  2. Mentioned in legal documents, such as ketubot, and
  3. Mentioned for healing in mi shebeirach?

Does any of this vary by gender or community?

1 Answer 1


'3. Is easy, mi shebeirachs are done with the mother's name.

'1. If he goes by a particular name you can often stick with it, but if he didn't have one, or if you're dealing with legal documents ...

'2. The Rabbinical Council of America handbook for rabbis says to use "so-and-so the son of [mother's name]." I spoke with one seasoned rabbi who said he's also seen people do "so-and-so the son of [maternal grandfather's] name", which doesn't call attention to the difference as much.

There's a larger-than-life character in the Talmud by the name of "Rabba the son of the son of Chana." The commentaries try to understand why he has such a name, with some suggesting that Chana was his grandfather (yes it may have been a man's name) who raised him, and others that there may have been a non-Jew in the family tree there someplace.

Regardless, I can't see why this would be different for a woman, except that a woman with a non-Jewish father may not marry a Cohen, but that's addressed elsewhere in formal documentation.

  • 1
    Thanks very much! I was wondering: does the RCA Handbook give any sources? Oct 8, 2013 at 22:19
  • @ShivaramLingamneni, the current RCA Handbook is intended as something for quick reference and does not give sources. The previous handbook was more extensive, but to really do this right you'd probably consult a text all about documents, such as Nachalat Shiva.
    – Shalom
    Oct 8, 2013 at 22:36
  • This may be a source for a part of the explanation of #2: Rama 139:3
    – user3113
    Jun 7, 2015 at 14:39

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