If someone has verifiably non-observant or non-Jewish ancestry(their mother and her mother etc for several generations were practicing Christians) but a DNA test shows matrilineal jewish DNA, are they halachically Jewish?

  • This is really two separate questions: Is someone Jewish if descended from non-observant ancestry? And does a DNA test count for halacha? – Ypnypn Apr 9 '14 at 13:11
  • @DoubleAA When you mark a question as a duplicate, please show the link to the duplicate question so that it can be looked up. This would help the OP more. – sabbahillel Apr 9 '14 at 13:47
  • @sabbahillel The link is automatically inserted in the question body whenever any question is closed as a duplicate. I don't have to do anything. – Double AA Apr 9 '14 at 13:50
  • @DoubleAA thanks. I had not seen that before, now I do. In this case, I think that the case is somewhat different as the OP is asking if given verified nonobservant Jewish ancestry, does the DNA test have an effect, while the duplicate question is about someone who is nonJewish, can a DNA test show he is Jewish. – sabbahillel Apr 9 '14 at 13:57
  • Further clarification edited. – EternityForest Apr 9 '14 at 13:59

Given the long non-observant ancestry, I think serious questions could be raised as to the authenticity of that person's Jewish lineage. In short, I think a Rav would need to be consulted.


The question was modified after I first answered to add the case of verified nonJewish ancestry. Given that, the duplicate question applies. If there is no nonJewish ancestry, then the answer below applies.

DNA testing is not treated as aidus for a particular matter. However, the problem with nonobservant ancestry might be if a male within the line married a nonJewish woman (who did not convert halachically) or a woman in the line was divorced and remarried (without a valid get) in which case all the descendants would be mamzerim. Even if one nonJewish woman was in the line, the DNA test would probably not detect that. Similarly in the case of an invalid divorce, the DNA test would definitely not detect that. I did know of someone who had a question as to his ancestry so he was megayer misafek, because the question was far enough back that it could not be proven absolutely. In any case, if there were no divorces (which does not affect the halachic Jewish status) or intermarriages, the person would be halachically Jewish and not a mamzer.

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    Note that a safek mamzer is not a mamzer. – Ypnypn Apr 9 '14 at 13:29
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    @Ypnypn I was showing what the questions could be. I gave a case in which there is a definite mamzer because there was not a valid get. I was not bringing up the safek mamzer case. – sabbahillel Apr 9 '14 at 13:44

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