Question for Reform Jews?

According to Reform Judaism: "The Central Conference of American Rabbis declares that the child of one Jewish parent is under the presumption of Jewish descent. This presumption of the Jewish status of the offspring of any mixed marriage is to be established through appropriate and timely public and formal acts of identification with the Jewish faith and people. The performance of these mitzvot serves to commit those who participate in them, both parent and child, to Jewish life."

What acts would I have to preform for identification?

6 Answers

  • 7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    "appropriate and timely public and formal acts of identification with the Jewish faith and people" refers to participation in the Jewish community in observance of Jewish prayers, rituals, customs and since Judaism prohibits the worship of any other religion or entity other than God, this means that a "mixed marriage" may not mix religions in the home for the child to be considered a member of the Jewish community.

    For many Reform communities, the raising of a child actively and exclusively in Judaism that is not Jewish by Torah precept leads to their affirmation of their choice to be a Jew at the age of bar or bat mitzvah or even at the Reform "Confirmation" ceremony for the end of their formal religious school years, usually around age 15 or 16. I have discussed with some Reform Rabbis that they consider their affirmations of faith at either a bar or bat mizvah or Confirmation their “conversion” into Judaism.

    The CCAR Ruling of either parent being able to confer Jewish identity upon the child has often led people to mistakenly claim that Reform Judaism has adopted "Patrilineal descent". Reform in the US doesn't have "Patrilineal descent" it has allowance for one Jewish parent, but father **only if the child is raised in Judaism** and Judaism exclusively. No there is no Biblical reason that justifies this allowance to Torah precept, it was a (misguided by my opinion) attempt to address the increasing number of religiously mixed couples who marry and effort to stop losing Jews to intermarriage. It is recognized within Reform that it is an ALLOWANCE to the Torah( law.teacing)..and for this reason it has remained controversial . Reform Judaism in the UNITED STATES alone,not anywhere else in the world, will consider one as a Jew who has a Jewish father alone .And ONLY if the child was raised actively and exclusively IN Judaism. Simply having one Jewish parent alone does NOT confer Jewish identity. Reform in Israel, the UK, Canada, Germany and elsewhere does NOT follow this 20th century ruling that is still controversial even in the U.S.

    However, if you will note, it is because the mother is not a Jew that they are making ALLOWANCES thus recognizing that traditionally it is the mother's status of membership that confers the membership at birth upon the newborn. If the* mother is a Jew and the father is not*, there is no qualifier in the CCAR ruling that the child must be raised actively and exclusively in Judaism to be accepted as a Jew in the Jewish community. * The child of a Jewish mother alone could be raised in a secular home and still be a Jew by Reform or anyone else*. A child born to a Jewish mother that attends a church cannot be enrolled in any Reform synagogue's religious school because the child is an apostate Jew. The child is an apostate Jew ( meaning recognized as a Jew per Torah but separated/estranged through the fault of the parent raising the child in avodah zarah ).The child of a Jewish father alone MUST be RAISED IN and actively participating in Judaism to be accepted on this ALLOWANCE as a Jew, such a child going to church could not be permitted to enroll in a Reform synagogue's religious school per the rules of the CCAR because that child is not a Jew at all and their act of honoring or following of another religion is incompatible with public identification with the Jewish faith and people... the "repentance and return" wouldn't make the child a Jew since it wasn't a Jew to begin with. Conversion would be required.

    Many Reform Jews, including me, a Reform Jew married to a non Jew, and a former Director of Education at a synagogue aren't happy with it and having to deal with telling some parents that if your child is attending a church( or ANY other religion's worship) with their non-Jewish Mom they can't be in the religious school and tell them they're not even apostate Jews, that formal conversion to Judaism is have them try to argue "Reform accepts paternal lineage" when they don't want to accept the actual allowance criteria. The CCAR ruling is something I think Reform needs to CHANGE again and I think Reform communities need to be clearer to their members the actual criteria if it is not changed.

    Reform Judaism also teaches the child of a Jewish father alone raised Jewish who wants to marry a Conservative or Orthodox Jew they must undergo conversion. This person may have spent their whole life being raised in Judaism and accepted as a Jew in the American Reform Jewish community knowing that to the rest of the world in Judaism, they're not a Jew unless they go through formal conversion

    Source(s): see references in past answers. This answer incomplete without reading that past answer. Answers many questions about Reform Judaism such as one I recently saw..that there are no 3rd and 4th gereration Reform ( my maternal grandmother, the child of Orthodox Jews was Reform and so is my son..thus 3rd and 4th generation Reform ) see also;_ylt=ApLky...
  • 7 years ago

    Preface - I am not a member of the Reform movement

    I used to work for a Reform synagogue in NYC, working directly with the rabbi, and reading avidly all the materials that came my way

    I have also followed news stories in the Jewish news media and Reform publications


    Preface 2 - In a way, it is easy to find out about these things in the Reform movement -- write to the organization and request detailed guidelines.


    That said -

    1) The Reform movement outside the US does not recognise this position

    So, following this leniency would expose you to not just be considered not-Jewish by those outside Reform, but also to be regarded as not-Jewish by the Reform movement outside the US.

    2) Practicaly speaking - the way this has been applied --

    This means that the child of a "mixed couple" was raised within the Jewish community (synagogue, some Jewish learning program, circumcision, bar mizvah...)

    and without foreign religious practices (ie: not Christmass and Hanukkah, not Christmaka - but Hanukkah ... as well as Passover and Sukkot and Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur and ...)

  • ?
    Lv 4
    7 years ago

    This is kind of a tough one because in Jewish law your mother must be jewish in order for you to be jewish so being born to a gentile mother and a jewish father makes you jewish to the reform movement only no other movement provided that you were raised jewish and etc. lets say for example you must prove your Jewishness to someone you would need to have your grandparent from your fathers side ketubah from their marriage to prove that your jewish because you must have proof that your father is jewish and that you are too. Also, I hope you know Conservative and Orthodox Rabbinical authorities would never accept that right? Just so that you know. But if your having trouble getting recognized or proving Jewishness I'd recommend a judaism conversion Orthodoxy will be recognized all the way and conservative and reform will accept each others but conservative will only accept if done by Halakha

    But to answer your question just practice judaism and prove your judaism prove that your dads mother was jewish or his father was.

    Source(s): Jewish
  • Zvi
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    This is a question for your rabbi to answer. In my mind, the vagueness of just what constitutes enough of a Jewish life to qualify someone with mixed parentage as Jewish is the weakest part of the CCAR statment.

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  • 7 years ago

    You'd have to be able to show that at least one parent is Jewish, and that you were raised Jewishly.

  • Feivel
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    I am Orthodox, I will star this for my reform contacts.

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