39 votes
Accepted

"Am I Jewish​?"

According to traditional Judaism, you are Jewish if and only if you yourself have validly converted to Judaism OR your birth mother was Jewish at the time of your birth (Shulchan Arukh Even HaEzer 7:...
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  • 95.1k
16 votes

Should a half Jewish man be discouraged from marrying a Jewess?

The man isn't Jewish in this case, so he has no obligation whatsoever in marrying a Jewish woman. It is forbidden for the Jewish woman to marry this man because he is not a Jew. If the man truly feels ...
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  • 17.5k
15 votes

Joining a synagogue after two generations non-practising

Yashar koach on becoming more involved in Jewish life. We can't say what they will do (only they can answer that), but I'll address how you can approach it. You are Jewish because your mother is (...
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13 votes

Can a convert to Judaism have a Jewish mother?

According to the Kahati comment on that Mishnah, it should be read A ger brings but does not read ... If [he is not a ger but only] his mother is Jewish he brings and says ... Kahati explains that ...
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  • 41.8k
13 votes
Accepted

Theological Justification for Discrimination against Sephardim?

Rabbi Berel Wein has suggested that long ago, there were a certain amount of anti-Sephardic animosity related to the fact that when during the Crusades, the Ashkenazic Jews forced to choose between ...
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  • 126k
13 votes
Accepted

Does a Jewish grandmother (mother's side) really get one accepted as a Jew?

Among those Rabbis that I know, if/when they are approached by someone who wasn't raised as a Jew but has a Jewish maternal grandparent, they welcome them with open arms as Jews, albeit Jews who have ...
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12 votes

Was Uriah Jewish?

Kli Yakar - Shmuel 2 says he was called Hachiti, either because he was a convert from Chais or he lived amongst the Bnei Chais. Either way he was a Jew.
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10 votes

Was Uriah Jewish?

The Gemara in Kiddushin says that he was Jewish - Kiddush 76b: אמר רב יהודה אמר רב כדי שתהא זכותן וזכות אבותם מסייעתן והאיכא (שמואל ב כג, לז) צלק העמוני מאי לאו דאתי מעמון לא דיתיב בעמון והאיכא (...
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10 votes
Accepted

May a halachically 'Jewish' Atheist work as a 'Shabbat goy'?

The atheist is still a Jew; his (non-)belief does not exempt him from the obligation not to violate Shabbat. This answer elsewhere by DoubleAA discusses benefitting from melacha done by a Jew. It ...
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10 votes

Does a Jewish grandmother (mother's side) really get one accepted as a Jew?

No, the rabbi wouldn't find it strange. & Yes, he would accepted you at the spot as 100% jewish. And I can tell you from my own personal experience they would be even very happy!
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  • 1,137
9 votes

Israel Am v.s. Goy

Malbim from ספר הכרמל entry for גוי: Goy is a gathering of individual entities, without any higher purpose. It is derived from גוה, a body or unit. It is also used as a reference to a large group, ...
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9 votes
Accepted

Why are we called 'Jews'?

The earliest reference to the term Jew (יהודי in Hebrew is found in Esther 2:5 where it has Mordechai האִ֣ישׁ יְהוּדִ֔י הָיָ֖ה בְּשׁוּשַׁ֣ן הַבִּירָ֑ה וּשְׁמ֣וֹ מָרְדֳּכַ֗י בֶּ֣ן יָאִ֧יר בֶּן־...
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  • 41.8k
7 votes

How did Moshe know he was Jewish?

Presumably his family told him. In other words, what makes us think it was a secret? The Torah gives us this (paraphrased) timeline: Par'o's daughter finds Moshe, saying "this baby is a Hebrew!" So ...
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  • 23.3k
7 votes
Accepted

How did Moshe know he was Jewish?

Four possible ways for Moshe to have known he was Jewish: His mother/family told him. The daughter of Pharaoh told him. He found out by supernatural means. It was just known, generally. (@WAF's ...
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  • 900
7 votes

Are the Conservatives and all who practice it considered non-Jews in the eyes of Orthodoxy

This is totally incorrect. Even if a Jew sins sufficiently to merit being punished with karet, he is still a Jew. An example would be those who succumbed to the Spanish in 1492 and converted to ...
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  • 41.8k
7 votes

Did Israelites who stayed in Egypt become halachically Jewish?

Rashi on Shemot 10:22 writes regarding the plague of darkness And why did He bring darkness upon them? Because there were wicked people amongst the Israelites of that generation who had no desire ...
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  • 43.3k
7 votes
Accepted

Other species in deep space and the Uniqueness of Klal Yisrael

R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik addressed this point when asked about alien life by R. David Holzer. The Rav Thinking Aloud p. 93 [DH:] Would the discovery of alien life be an issue in terms of the Torah ...
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  • 47.8k
6 votes
Accepted

Ezra claimed that Samaritans are not Jews. Is genetic data in conflict with this?

Samaritans, much like Jews, are an isolated and endogamous community who remained in a single region for much of their existence. So while empires came and went and conquered the region, intermixed ...
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6 votes

What nationality was Bilam?

According to Rabbi Munk, Beor, the father of Bil'am, was the son of Lavan. There are meforshim who say that the wall that his leg was squeezed against was the rock that Lavan and Yaakov put up as "Gal ...
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  • 41.8k
6 votes

My great great grandmother was Jewish - am I?

I have met people that this occurred to and the problem is often the proof of the family status. That is, unless there is absolute proof (on a halachik - legal - basis), many people in this ...
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  • 41.8k
6 votes

Theological Justification for Discrimination against Sephardim?

I can't attest to the truth of this, but I once heard R' Orlofsky say that some Ashkenazi Yeshivos do not accept Sefardim (or limit their acceptance) for the sake of the Sefardim - they feel that the ...
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6 votes

Does a Jewish grandmother (mother's side) really get one accepted as a Jew?

I was in a similar situation a decade ago. The Rabbi of the orthodox shul looked into my background and accepted me and made me feel welcome. You never know where such things lead and I'm now on the ...
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  • 1,263
6 votes
Accepted

Why didn't Esther reveal her origin earlier?

The following is culled from Oz V'hadar's Mesivta on Megillas Esther, page 37, note 89; pages 230-232; and pages 251-252. Unless otherwise specified, the mefarshim are on Esther 2:10. Mordechai ...
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  • 33.4k
6 votes

Rabbis and Politics

Shortly before the year 70, Jerusalem was surrounded by Roman troops. Raban Yochanan ben Zakai attempted to negotiate a surrender with the Romans. He recognized there was no realistic outcome in which ...
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  • 126k
6 votes

Where in Nach Are The Jewish People Referred To As Zion?

The Palestinian Talmud (Taanis 21a) states that there is only verse in which the Jewish people are referred to as Zion. The verse is in Isaiah 51, 16: וָאָשִׂים דְּבָרַי בְּפִיךָ וּבְצֵל יָדִי ...
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  • 380
6 votes
Accepted

Is it forbidden to count Jewish people without uttering any words?

The OU quotes "the Kaf Hachaim (13:10) writes that one is permitted to count Jewish People in one’s mind (b’machshava), as long as he does not count them audibly." This is referring to the ...
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  • 12.4k
6 votes

Did the Jewish people choose G-d, or did G-d choose the Jewish people? Or both?

Both, according to the commentary of Rashi to Deuteronomy 26:17–18.
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  • 73.4k
6 votes
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Yeshivas that relocated

Slabodka Yeshiva was originally in Lithuania and after the ravages of WWI and enforced military conscription in the years that followed, they established a branch in Chevron in 1924. Following the ...
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  • 19.8k
5 votes
Accepted

Non-born-Jew Atheists without any Jewish belief or custom, while having Jewish self-identity for any reason. Is this accepted as Jew?

According to traditional Jewish Law (Halacha), a person is considered a Jew if his mother is Jewish. Therefore, if his mother's mother's mother's mother was Jewish, then he himself is also Jewish, ...
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  • 24.3k

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