I'm a "patrilinear" Jew, only my grandfather was really jewish for halakhà. I'm proud of my jewish heritage and I follow many jewish traditions (like Kasheruth, Pesach, Yom Kippur...) From 2007 I attend a orthodox congregation in my city. I don't think one day I will make the ghiur, 'cause I have a non-jewish wife and a son, and I think that is not possible in these circumstances to convert, to "return" to judaism. So, in these day I have found my grandpa's tallit, and I don't know what do with it, I would find a significance for it. I know that is not possible to wear this in synagogue, but is possible to use it in my home for the tefillah?

Thanks, shalom, Pesach Sameach

  • 1
    Close as Too Psak Oriented?
    – Double AA
    Apr 13, 2014 at 15:20
  • Why is it not possible to wear it in synagogue? Apr 13, 2014 at 15:36
  • Compare judaism.stackexchange.com/q/23024
    – msh210
    Apr 13, 2014 at 16:07
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    There's a rule that a gentile may not take on the laws called "signs": Shabbat, tefillin, etc. I don't remember ever seeing the tallit gadol included in that list, and in fact I've seen it recommended several times that a person who is doubt about his Jewishness wear a tallit katan, since by doing so he will not break the Sabbath if he is Jewish, and break it if he is not. It is certainly permissible to wear your tallit at home.
    – Tatpurusha
    Apr 13, 2014 at 16:47

1 Answer 1


Since you are not halachically Jewish, you have no commandment in tzitzit. (The tallit is just the vehicle for tzitzit, which you probably already know.) To you, therefore, your grandfather's tallit is just a garment. It isn't restricted to him or to Jews; if you were to don it privately you wouldn't be doing damage. (I don't have a source for this; it's just my own reasoning.)

Wearing any tallit publicly (like at the synagogue) may be different, because by wearing it you give the appearance that you are Jewish. Please consult the rabbi of that synagogue (or your rabbi, if you have one) to ask what it is proper for you to do; the community here at Mi Yodeya can't address personal p'sak halacha.

By the way, it would be possible for your entire family to convert together if they are willing to take on that obligation. You'll need to consult a rabbi about that, but don't rule it out just because you currently have a non-Jewish wife if she's open to changing that along with you. (As for your son, the advice you get there will probably depend on his age.)

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