If a Jewish man and non-Jewish wife have a child, and the mother completes her Orthodox conversion to Judaism after the child is born, must the child also convert to be considered Jewish, if they were raised Jewish from their time of birth?

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    user185812, welcome to Mi Yodeya, and thanks for bringing your important question here. I hope you stick around and enjoy the site.
    – msh210
    Commented Mar 12, 2014 at 15:58
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    Counterpart questions: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/29721 and judaism.stackexchange.com/q/15102
    – msh210
    Commented Mar 12, 2014 at 16:01
  • I can only relate what I remember from HS classes many (many) years ago -- if the child is under bar/bat mitzvah age, the parents must put the child through a conversion process. If the child is older, he or she has to choose to go through it, but either way, the child, if already born, must convert. But no sources so I can;t make this a useful answer.
    – rosends
    Commented Mar 12, 2014 at 16:09

1 Answer 1


A child born to a Jewish mother is Jewish,1 and one born to a non-Jewish mother is not. This is determined at the time of birth, which is why infant conversions are sometimes done when a woman is in the process of conversion. Changes in the mother's status after the child is born are not relevant. One source for this is Kiddushin 66b (in the mishna at the bottom of the page).

(I'm sure there are more sources; this information is widely taught and, so far as I know, not disputed. Here's one unsourced opinion from an Orthodox rabbi.)

1 Shulchan Aruch EH 4:19 discusses some special cases: the child of a female mamzer is a mamzer and the child of a Jewish woman and a non-Jewish man is kosher but defective for kohanim. (h/t DoubleAA)

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    EH 4:19: A non-Jew or slave who had intercourse with a female Mamzer, their child is a Mamzer; and if they had intercourse with a Jewess, whether single or married, their child is Kosher but defective for Kohanim.
    – Double AA
    Commented Mar 13, 2014 at 2:36

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