Questions on Jewish Status/Identity

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  • #607739

    Gershomi
    Member

    Dear CR,

    A few questions from a self-admitted am haaretz l’torah.

    1. My father was born Jewish (Ashkenazi), my mother is a giyoret. You might guess that she converted to marry my father, but actually she converted at a young age (before she was legal adult). As far as I know she intended to keep the mitzvot, seeing as she went out of her way to become Jewish and kept kosher.

    2. To make a long story short, decades later my mother has a new goyisher baal. Am I still Jewish? If not, is there any point to me eating kosher, fasting on yom kippur, etc? Or do my prayers fall on deaf ears. Thank you for your answers/opinions, I’d appreciate if your sources could be cited.

    #918809

    computer777
    Member

    100% Jewish.

    If you still doubt it, ask an authentic orthodox Rov.

    #918810

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    You need to speak to a RAV , this is not the place for an answer

    #918811

    yeshivish7
    Member

    if she was 12 years old when she converted by an orthodox beis din and she kept mitzvos at that point you are a 100 percent full fledge jew and you are obligated to do all mitzvos and you dont need any source since thats a full fledge geirus and there is no going back after you become a ger she will remain a jew forever. if anything is different than above you should contact a rabbi

    #918812

    akuperma
    Participant

    If the conversion was valid, it is always valid. All the children of the woman (subsequent to the conversion) are Jewish. The children of the non-Jewish second husband are Jewish but are also probably mamzerim.

    #918813

    Patri
    Member

    Gershomi:

    1) How old was she when converting – under 12 or over 12 years old?

    2) Was she converted through an Orthodox Rabbi? If so, which Rabbi?

    If it was a kosher Orthodox conversion where she intended to keep all the Mitzvos (and from the vague information you provided it sounds probable it was), then once she became a Jew at her young age she will always remain a Jew.

    #918814

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    The children of a jewish mother and non-jewish father are NON Mamzerim.

    Halachically a Non-Jewish father is not a father

    #918815

    computer777
    Member

    The children of the non-Jewish second husband are Jewish but are also probably mamzerim.

    That is incorrect. Doesn’t apply to children of a non-jewish father.

    #918816

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    Or do my prayers fall on deaf ears.

    Your prayers do not fall on deaf ears — Jewish or not.

    The Wolf

    #918817

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    The children of the non-Jewish second husband are Jewish but are also probably mamzerim.

    The children of a jewish mother and non-jewish father are NON Mamzerim.

    Are we talking about that she is still married to the first husband?

    #918818

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    OP — just to make sure you’re clear — all this discussion regarding being a mamzer has absolutely no effect on you.

    The Wolf

    #918819

    rebdoniel
    Member

    I see no reason why your Jewish status would be suspect. Your mother is still Jewish, even though she is violating halakha. One’s Jewishness does not depend on their level of observance; a ger becomes Jewish once they leave the mikvah and bet din and this cannot be revoked, despite what some demagogues say b’zman hazeh.

    #918820

    Gershomi
    Member

    1) How old was she when converting – under 12 or over 12 years old?

    Over 12. I believe she was 16.

    2) Was she converted through an Orthodox Rabbi? If so, which Rabbi?

    Not sure, though I imagine that because she converted 30+ years ago it is likely that it would have been an Orthodox/traditional rabbi. Maybe I shouldn’t draw this conclusion however.

    Another similar question question: My family is “non-affiliated” with any “branch” of Judaism however I know from experience that there are plenty of children of intermarriage who are raised believing they are Jewish when halakhically they are not. What is their status? Also, does having a Jewish father affect this status? Thanks.

    #918821

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    I stand by my statement you need to ask a Rav.

    having a jewish father does not make you jewish, only a jewish mother. You could be baptised but as long as your mother is jewish you are jewish

    #918822

    The issue of whether she converted Orthodox or non-Orthodox is the critical determination. Was she Orthodox affiliated at the time of her conversion? Is she around to ask? Was she a fully observant Orthodox religious Jew immediately after her conversion? What prompted her to convert?

    (The father is irrelevant.)

    #918823

    Toi
    Participant

    rebd-incorret- its mivu’ar in rishonim that kabbalos hamitzvos is an integral part of geirus.

    #918824

    akuperma
    Participant

    If the woman had a valid conversion, followed by a valid halachic marriage to a Jew, and subsequently bore a child to a non-Jewish male without have received a “get”, that child would arugably be a “mamzer”. In practice, if the putative mamzer (or his/her descendant)then became a Baal Tseuvah, a Beis Din would look at the validity of the mother’s initial marriage, and the validity of the conversion – since Beitei Din “bend over backwards” to avoid deciding that someone is a mamzer.

    Those who said that the status of the non-Jewish father is irrelevant were addressing a situation where the mother is an unmarried Jews whereas in the “question” here she is said to be a woman married according to halacha.

    #918825

    Gershomi
    Member

    “The issue of whether she converted Orthodox or non-Orthodox is the critical determination. Was she Orthodox affiliated at the time of her conversion? Is she around to ask? Was she a fully observant Orthodox religious Jew immediately after her conversion? What prompted her to convert?”

    These seem to be the pertinent questions, so I intend to find out soon (BH my ima is alive). If it’s possible to “follow” this thread that would be appreciated. To clarify, I realize that if I want a definitive answer then I must ask a rabbi. What I hope to find here is informed opinions from those who know Halacha.

    #918826

    rebdoniel
    Member

    If the 3 members of the bet din were shomer shabbat and otherwise kosher l’edut, you are fine.

    And let us not get into the kabbalat ol hamitzvot debate. I’ve made the shita of the Rambam, as understood by Reb Chaim Ozer and others well-known. And the principles of hora’at sha’ah also apply b’zman hazeh, per R’ Goren, R’ Uziel, and other brilliant poskim.

    And R’ Akiva Eiger, the Maharshal, the Mahari Algaz, and many others did believe that the child of a goyishe father and Jewish mother required giyur, while R’ Uziel, R’ Kalischer and many others felt that the child of a Jewish father and non-Jewish mother still possessed some degree of kedushat yisrael because they’re mi zera yisrael.

    My advice to you would be to stay away from Haredim and their institutions, since they annul conversions and declare lifelong Jews invalid all the time nowadays.

    #918827

    avhaben
    Participant

    danny: take your political diatribes elsewhere.

    #918828

    truthsharer
    Member

    except he’s correct.

    For all time that has been the set in stone opinion of Jewish law.

    Only fairly recently has some people changing conversion well after the fact.

    #918829

    avhaben
    Participant

    No he isn’t correct. No one ever changed anything after the fact. Not nowadays, not ever. What rabbonim have done, both nowadays and always in the past, is make a legal determination whether a purported conversion was ever valid in the first place.

    #918830

    rebdoniel
    Member

    You WILL NOT refer to me as Danny. I was zoche to be named for a navi, not an Irish song.

    #918831

    oomis
    Participant

    No matter what your mother does or dos not do now, if you were born to a woman who was misgayeres k’halacha, you were born a Jew, and a Jew you will always be. If there is a doubt as to the validity of her own conversion, you should seek competent halachic authority to tell you what you might need to do. I know someone in a similar type situation, where there was a safeik on the mother, so the man (who had become a baal teshuvah) underwent hatafa (a drop of blood, in lieu of circumcision, as he already was circumcised as an infant), and tevila, just so there would be no doubt on him.

    #918832

    Gershomi
    Member

    If someone undergoes “hatafa”, are they considered to be a ger?

    #918833

    yytz
    Participant

    Gershomi, to answer your last question, if it is unclear whether a person’s gerus (or their mother’s gerus) was valid, then it is common for the person to undergo a gerus l’chumra to ensure the person is Jewish. It’s just like a normal conversion process (accepting the mitzvos, etc.), except that afterward, the question “are you a ger” is a little complicated. If the original conversion was valid, then you’re not a ger, but if it wasn’t, then you are. Either way, the person has undergone gerus, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. In terms of whether you have the status of a levite if your father was a levite, I don’t know! But anyway, getting back to “hatafa,” since the person (well in this case a man) was already circumcised, the conversion involves hatafas dam bris instead of a regular circumcision.

    It seems fairly common for people with non-Jewish mothers but Jewish fathers to convert halachically. Dov ben Avraham, the author of a recent book on chassidic perspectives on gerim (and author of the A Simple Jew blog), is a ger with a Jewish father. Some rabbis believe that people who are descended from Jews but aren’t Jewish (especially with a Jewish father) should actually be encouraged to convert, or at least accepted without the initial discouragement required of normal converts.

    In any event, welcome to the CR, and hatzlacha with figuring out your status! May Hashem lead you on the right path. In the meantime, keep davening, fasting on Yom Kippur, etc. As far as you know so far, your mom’s gerus was valid. I wouldn’t worry about your prayers falling on “deaf ears” — I’m sure Hashem appreciates your efforts to get close to Him and do His will. If you have any doubts that Hashem desires the prayers of non-Jews as well as Jews, read through (or better yet, recite) the book of Tehillim (Psalms). King David is always calling on all people (even animals, trees, etc.) to praise Hashem.

    #918834

    yehudayona
    Participant

    rebdoniel — Please take this not as an attack, but as a serious question. You’ve said elsewhere that you’re a ger (of sorts, if I remember correctly). You advise the OP to stay away from chareidim because (you say) they like to invalidate valid gerus. So why are you here, on what professes to be a chareidi website?

    #918835

    i love coffe
    Participant

    “The children of a jewish mother and non-jewish father are NON Mamzerim.

    Halachically a Non-Jewish father is not a father”

    What would be the status of a child if the mother was Jewish, father was not but then later the father converted and married the childs mother under the chupah?

    Does the father only become the childs halachik father after conversion?

    #918836

    1) As previously stated if the geirut was a good, kosher geirut, then you’re a full fledged Jew!

    2) Also as previously stated, your tefillot never fall on deaf ears!

    3) (not so pertaining to you) Even if the mother is married and has a child with a non-Jew, the child is NOT a mamzer by any means

    4) The father has nothing to do with determining one’s status as Jew or non-Jew only one’s status as Cohen/Levi

    5) As a Charedi I will tell you, I have a couple of friends who are Gerim, I do not by any means look down upon C”V, nor do I invalidate any geirut, for anyone who does, is NOT a Charedi Jew! He is going directly against an explicit verse in the Torah! (quite a few actually…)

    #918838

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    5) As a Charedi I will tell you, I have a couple of friends who are Gerim, I do not by any means look down upon C”V, nor do I invalidate any geirut, for anyone who does, is NOT a Charedi Jew! He is going directly against an explicit verse in the Torah! (quite a few actually…)

    I think you need to read up on some trends, Geirut has been retroactivly invalidated by some major Gedolim

    #918839

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    The Tannaim debate whether Kusim were legitimate geirim or not, because their motives for conversion were questionable.

    It is only a recent phenomenon that some demagogues claim that legitimate rabbinical authorities cannot make a determination that a conversion was invalid from its onset.

    #918840

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    As far as the OP, your geirus might very well be valid; check with a competent posek.

    #918841

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    For the record:

    In recent years, Israeli Chief Rabbi Goren (not chareidi by any standards, and quite a questionable rabbi) was the one who began annulling conversions which he didn’t like.

    This story comes from the Langer siblings. Their mother was jewish, and she was married to a non-jew in Ukraine, who converted to marry their mother. Then, they divorced–without a get–and she remarried and gave birth to the Langer siblings. They came to Israel, where the rabbanut declared the mamzerim.

    There was a big popular and political uprising against the rabbanut. Eventually, Goren ran for Chief Rabbi on the platform that he would be mattir the Langers. He won, and did so.

    The theory he used was to invalidate the geirus of the first husband.

    So, RD: which way you want to have it? Are the Langers mamzeirim or is the guy not jewish?

    #918842

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    It wasnt just Chief Rabbi Goren, It was also Rav Elishev.

    The issue came before Rav Moshe in a case where it seemed the local Rabbi was pressured to do the conversion and he refused to invalidate the conversion.

    While not knowing he specifics of he Langers, In general in previous generations Rabbanim were loath to label people Mamzers even if there was evidence that they were

    #918843

    OnlyTheTruth
    Member

    I thought you would be a ger up to Ten generations if your mother is a real Geyoris. am I wrong? So doing the Hatafa just confirms it. I would think. I would not take a Halachic advice from here. I’m sure this must be hard for you, please take the strength and go over to a Rabbi’s house and have a talk with him.

    #918844

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    zdad: what was also Rav Elyashiv? He certainly was not involved with Goren in mattiring the Langers.

    #918845

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    It wasnt the Langer case, But some of them had to do with the Russians.

    I forgot the Rabbis name, but there was a Rabbi (Orthodox) in Israel who was converting Russians and Rav Elyshiv invalidated all the conversions (It was lot). and put many people in limbo

    #918846

    avhaben
    Participant

    Rav Eliashev quit working for the rabbunut because of disgust with Goren’s reprehensible conduct in the Langer matter.

    #918847

    avhaben
    Participant

    zsdad: It was Rabbi Avrohom Sherman shlita, not Rav Eliashev, who ruled Druckman’s mass Russian conversions were not valid as he was converting Russians en masse who never accepted the mitzvos and never kept the mitzvos, even the morning after their mikva dip.

    And, by the way, Rabbi Sherman is a religious zionist.

    #918848

    Honestly mods, I think there should be some posting rules when it comes to slighting someone like R’ Elyashiv. Anyone who has the chutzpah to speak bad about R’ Elyashiv on “Yeshivah World” should find a different forum.

    Zahavasdad, I don’t care what your problem is with chareidim. You’re sad, but there will always be people out there like you. But this site is ostensibly meant to be for people associated with the “yeshivish world”. Someone who thinks they know better than Rav Elyashiv definitely doesn’t fall into that category. You might find company more appropriate for yourself on failedmessiah.

    #918849

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Read this YWN article regarding the Druckman conversions

    http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/article.php?p=18848

    #918850

    avhaben
    Participant
    #918851

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    There was another blog entry on Cross-Currents by Yitzchok Adlerstein taking a different position. Seems they played both sides of the fence

    #918852

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    From the second cross-currents

    #918853

    akuperma
    Participant

    If the person who posted the question is becoming a Baal Tsuvah – there is no issue. No one will challenge that he is Jewish, and even if the did it would be very easy to have a conversion (since conversion of someone who is already frum and discovers they might not be Jewish is extremely uncomplicated).

    If the case came before Beis Din in a situation where the woman has a child from the non-Jewish second husband, and that child wanted to become a Baal Tsuvah – most Betei Din (in practice) would be super-critical in looking at the validity of the first marriage and the validity of the conversion in order to avoid ruling that the hypothetical child of the second marriage is a mamzer. Excluding politicized Betei Din in Eretz Yisrael, our courts and rabbanim have always displayed great intelligence and “thinking like a lawyer” to resolve such problems (based on actual cases in printed shailohs and tsuvahs, not based on theoretical treatises).

    #918854

    daniela
    Member

    I am not sure I understand how the second child can possibly be a mamzer, given that his father is a nonjew and his mother is a convert.

    #918855

    🐵 ⌨ Gamanit
    Participant

    What I’m wondering about is what if the OP’s father is a Cohen… What would a just-in-case geirus due to the Cohen status (a ger cannot be a Cohen)

    #918856

    benignuman
    Participant

    “The children of a jewish mother and non-jewish father are NON Mamzerim.

    Are we talking about that she is still married to the first husband?”

    Popa, the children are not mamzerim even if she is still married to the first husband.

    #918857

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    Popa, the children are not mamzerim even if she is still married to the first husband.

    Cool. Can you post the sources. I’d rather you do the research than me.

    #918858

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    Yes, rambam issurei bia 15:3

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