32

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 7:17 and 8:5, Yoreh De'ah 268:6). To determine if your mother was Jewish apply the same rules: either she herself converted to Judaism OR her birth mother was ...


18

Based on Jewish law, a person's Jewish status (for a non-convert) is determined through matrilineal descent. This means that one is only Jewish from birth if their mother was Jewish. And their mother was only Jewish if their mother was Jewish. Based on this, a person can have seven out of eight great-grandparents who are Jewish, and still not be Jewish from ...


15

Regarding Yaakov Herzog's participation in the debate with Toynbee, R. Mordechai Elefant, in his unpublished memoirs, wrote: Yakov Herzog was ambassador to Canada for a few years during the early sixties. He met the British historian Arnold Toynbee there. Toynbee was anti-Israel, and he was no great friend of the Jews. Herzog and Toynbee started ...


15

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 (and she is because her mother is, etc). Your parents (and grandparents) having had secular weddings doesn't affect that, though it could affect other matters of ...


15

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 a connection with Judaism he should convert.


14

While Jewish law applies patrilineal descent to other nations (Yevamos 78b), Nachmanides writes that matrilineal descent applied to the Jewish people from the time of Avraham and onwards (Commentary to Vayikra 24:10). This is justified by the existence of some degree of Israelite nationhood from the time of the Patriarchs, which is suggested by the Talmud's ...


13

Does this happen regularly within the community? Depends upon the community. I once helped computerize a Brooklyn Rabbi's conversion records, and over the course of ~15 years he had helped convert between 150-200 people. How readily accepted are Gentiles into the community (are they seen as strange or welcomed openly)? In a word: readily. In my own small ...


13

In the Guide of the Perplexed, Chapter XIV, the Rambam comments on "behold the height of the stars, how high they are!" (Job xxii. 12) that is to say, learn from the height of the heavens how far we are from comprehending God, for there is an enormous distance between ourselves and these corporeal objects, and the latter are greatly distinguished ...


13

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 this is put in because we might think that a person whose father is not a Jew but whose mother is a Jew would not be able to say the pasuk because the term ...


13

If you know for a fact that she was Jewish, then you are 100% Jewish. No conversion is needed. Mazal Tov, and Enjoy! :)


13

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 the cross and the sword went to their deaths; whereas during the Spanish Inquisition, many Spanish (i.e. Sephardic) Jews chose to stay alive and outwardly profess ...


13

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 been estranged from their own religion. I have known this to have occurred on multiple occasions (although I was never personally involved in any). It may be ...


12

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.


11

Let's start by talking about love in human terms. Why does Person A love Person B? There can be a couple of possibilities: It may be based on B's actions (for example, B has done something that A really appreciates). It may be because of their relationship (a parent loves a child). When we talk about G-d loving the Jewish people, both of these factors come ...


10

A bit similar to Fred's answer, a man living in Wisconsin once sent a letter to Rabbi Isaac Herzog, the second Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi of the Land of Israel, asking if he could convert to Judaism on the pretense that he would have no relevance to Eretz Yisrael. Of course, Rav Herzog said no. This is because becoming part of the Jewish People means entering ...


10

Hatred has many sources. And sometimes it seems to have none. One could attribute it to a divine decree, or to biblical stories which pit people against people. Or you could look at historical or sociological trends. Here is a random selection of "reasons": Jews are separate and distinct. When any group defies the will of the masses or the powerful, it is ...


10

From what I gather (from here and elsewhere), the group is a Christian group which accepts Jesus as a messianic figure and which considers itself to be the only valid set of descendants from the ancient tribal sons of Jacob. They have no connection to Judaism that modern Judaism would accept (without matrilineal descent or an approved process of conversion) ...


10

Pirkei DeRabbi Eliezer, perek 24, makes it clear that while other nations get their own angel, Israel gets Hashem himself. ר' שמעון אומר קרא הקב"ה לשבעים מלאכים המסובבים כסא כבודו ואמ' להם באו ונבלבל את לשונם ומנין שהקב"ה ירד אליהם שנאמר הבה נרדה ארדה אין כתיב אלא נרדה ומנין מהפיל גורלות בניהם שנאמר בהנחל עליון גוים ונפל גורלו של הקב"ה על אברהם ועל זרעו ...


10

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 (שמואל ב כג, לט) אוריה החתי מאי לאו דאתי מחת לא דיתיב בחת (Summary) As a member of Dovid's army, Uriah had impeccable lineage. He was called "Hachiti" ...


10

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!


9

I was at the bar mitzvah of the adopted son of Rabbi Yitzchok Breitowitz, shlita. At the bar mitzvah, the rabbi explained that his son had been converted conditionally as a small child by putting him in a mikvah and by the parents committing themselves to raise him as a Jew. But since the child cannot yet speak for himself (until he reaches 13 -- or 12 for ...


9

The Rambam (Hilchot Teshuva 2:5) writes: מדרכי התשובה להיות השב צועק תמיד לפני ה', ...ומשנה שמו, כלומר שאני אחר ואיני אותו האיש שעשה אותן המעשים It seems from the Rambam that changing one's name has some sort of psychological effect. I understand it as a constant reminder that you aren't the same person as you were before; there's something different ...


9

There are several, sometimes overlapping families of terms in play: Israel This name was given to Abraham's grandson, Jacob, by God and means "God prevails" or "God fights". There's some disagreement over which meaning is accurate, but the source is from this passage in the Torah: And he said unto him: 'What is thy name?' And he said: 'Jacob.' And he ...


9

Please learn chapters 4 and 23 of Likutei Amarim Tanya for deeper understanding. However on the simple level it means that they are connected very strongly with each other -through a Jew learning Torah and doing Mitzvos (which are the Rotzon/will of Hashem Yisborach, which is how Torah is very connected to Him) the Jew becomes connected to Hashem. When a ...


9

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, which is what it means when used in reference to the Jewish people. Am is a higher level, which references a unified group with a guided purpose, whether it be ...


9

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 stands to reason that if you can't benefit from the work anyway, there's no benefit to you in asking him to be your "Shabbat goy", so let's look first at the case ...


9

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־שִׁמְעִ֛י בֶּן־קִ֖ישׁ אִ֥ישׁ יְמִינִֽי: 5 There was a Judean man in Shushan the capital, whose name was Mordecai the son of Jair the son of Shimei the son ...


8

The term "Jew" is relatively recent. The Hebrew form of it ("Yehudi") first appears (I believe) in Megillas Esther and in Zechariah. Before that, Jews were referred to as "Ivrim" or "(B'nei) Yisrael" (The Children of Israel). (Thanks @IsaacMoses, for bringing up @Menachem's excellent links. I'd like to reemphasize that those should really be checked out, ...


8

Might it also be possible that those being promoted are friendly with the boss or move in the same social circles? If I'm not mistaken, this also happens at non-Jewish companies. I'm always curious why people assume that behaviors demonstrated by Jews are automatically due to their Jewishness rather than to their humanness.


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