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A non-Jewish woman converts to Judaism, marries a Jewish man, and has children. She has told her children that she was converted by an Orthodox beit din, to be sure that her children are all recognized as Jewish, even in the state of Israel. The woman has died, and her widower is old and has cognitive problems and can't remember details about the conversion. How can the children find out - where/by whom she was converted - whether her conversion is valid, recognized, and binding - whether the State of Israel will recognize the children as Jewish.

  • detective work is needed – ray Dec 6 '15 at 22:17
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    Welcome aboard @Rebeccah. It's a good question and one that many people are confronted with particularly when approaching marriage. Regarding the where and by whom part of your question, if you can't get your hands on their ketubah, the best bet would be to look at what community they got married in. In America, if you are going back more than 30 years, records are going to be hard to find. Regarding 'recognition', you should be consulting with whatever Beit Din you are dealing with. They will be best able to advise you about what is acceptable in their jurisdiction. – Yaacov Deane Dec 6 '15 at 23:52
  • We're going back about 60 years. I'm not dealing with any beit din at this point, but the father's confused memory and what I was able to dig up at the time this came up suggested that it might have been a conservative rabbi that oversaw her conversion, not an orthodox one. And now I can't remember the name of the rabbi any more. – Rebeccah Feb 26 '18 at 6:04
  • You really shouldn't look into it unless you have to. Rav Moshe was very against even for baalei teshuva to not look into genealogy. Don't create problems – Shoel U'Meishiv Feb 26 '18 at 14:07
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There should be documentation as to which bais din did it and when along with the kesuvah since the rav who married them would have verified the situation. Check the location where the kesuvah is stored.

Also check with the rav (if he is still alive) or whoever now has his records. Many rabbis have sent copies of their records to the Rabbinical Council of America. If the rabbi is no longer available, the records of the wedding would be kept with the synagogue of that rabbi or turned over to his successor.

The kesuvah will ordinarily have been kept by the married couple and may be with the documents such as the wills.

I had encountered a similar situation many years back in Israel and the woman did a gerut (conversion) misafek (from doubt) to make sure everything was valid. While it would be a hassle it enabled her to marry in Israel. The RCA could help with that if no documents were found

  • The ketubah, if one exists, is unfortunately nowhere to be found, and definitely not with the wills. The couple was initially married in a civil ceremony. I think the conversion took place after they were married. Supposedly they had a religious ceremony later, but I've never seen any documentation from it. If one of the children were to make aliyah and want to get married in Israel, would there be a problem? – Rebeccah Feb 26 '18 at 6:09
  • Anyway, thanks for the suggestion to check with the rabbi's successor (I tried Rabbinical Council of America a few years ago and they were of no help). Googling the synagogue's history, I was able to recall the name of the rabbi, and I've sent off an e-mail to the current rabbi. We'll see if anything turns up. – Rebeccah Feb 26 '18 at 6:32
  • @Rebeccah I had encountered a similar situation many years back in Israel and the woman did a gerut (conversion) misafek (from doubt) to make sure everything was valid. While it would be a hassle it enabled her to marry in Israel. The RCA could help with that if no documents were found – sabbahillel Feb 26 '18 at 12:03

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