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I have a question for the Jews...?

My best friend is African-American, she was born in Brooklyn and given up for adoption on the same day of her birth (her birthparents had planned to give her away when her mother was 2 months pregnant with her due to their young age and financial issue). Anyway, she was adopted by a wealthy, Reform Ashkenazi Jewish couple from the Upper East Side. They converted her to Judaism by immersing her in a bath called mikveh and gave her a naming ceremony at their synagogue conducted by rabbis. She was named Madison Ester. Anyway, she considers herself a Jew, is although not very religious as say an Orthodox Jew is, but still takes her religion seriously. The Jews at her family's synagogue regard her as a Jew as well.

I'll get to the point, currently she's dating another Reform Jew (he's white) who lives in the Upper West Side and they plan to get married after she finishes school (Columbia). She told me many times that she was nervous because she didn't know how her future children will perceived by the Jewish community. Will they need a conversion like she had at birth? or since she's technically already a Jew, they are considered Jews and not Gentiles?

**any anti-Semitic comments will get reported.

6 Answers

  • 7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Ethnicity and RACE are irrelevant to the identity of a Jew.

    if she was raised in the Reform community, she really ought to already know the answer to this question and I think you must just be asking this out of your own curiosity and don't wish to offend her by asking things you want to know.

    It really does not seem likely that if she was actually practicing or living Reform Judaism that she would be " nervous because she didn't know how her future children will perceived by the Jewish community."

    Now..if she was actually never raised in Judaism, even her conversion in infancy could be called into question because she also had an opportunity when she beame the age of bat mitzvah to accept or reject that conversion. Her parents undertook an obligation to raise her in Judaism when they had her converted in infancy. if they did not do their part..she should now do it for herself and either educate herself ( if this is the case that she was not raised in Judaism and not living within the Jewish community ( that might be why she COULD possibly be "nervous" if all she knows about Jews and Judaism are from non Jews instead of any Jewish community where race is irrelevant

    so, if this q is depends upon how she was raised if she is even considered a Jew in Reform ( I think kaganate missed the part about the fact that a conversion done on an infant in Reform is supposed to require the parent to raise the child in Judaism and that at the age of bat mitzvah she can accept or reject the act and formally become a member )

    ASK the RABBI

    is the best answer..and if this q is legit..It seems to indicate she may not have been raised with Judaism in her home.

    Seriously, if a Jew wants to know about something to do with Jews or Judaism, there is little likelihood they're going to repeatedly ask non Jewish friends, or ask their friend to inquire on a forum that is user submitted and has so many antisemitic ranvings, rantings and missionaries answering for Jews with misinformation that I don't personally know any Jew who asks anything about Judaism on any forum that is not exclusively a Jewish forum moderated by respected Jewish educators or Rabbis or who would not first ask Jewish family, friends or a Rabbi.

    IF for some reason she would be concerned to be accepted as a Jew according to Orthodox Jewish standards and to have her children so accepted, she would require undergoing conversion to Orthodox Judaism before the children are born

    This is more than just a mere formality, it means she would be obligating herself to live and raise her children according to the strict adherence of Jewish law and to customs that are practiced in the Orthodox community to which she will need to affiliate.

    I have known a few Jews who first came to Judaism by Reform conversion and then underwent Orthodox conversion later.

    I've also knew a man who converted via Orthodox and who sincerely wished to live according to the strict guidelines and did for a long time, but then later joined a Conservative synagogue after he met, fell in love with and married a Conesrvaitve Jewish woman and wanted to sit with his Conservative Jewish wife at services.

    The child of any woman who is a Jew according to halalcha ( Jewish law ) is considered a Jew.

    Race and ethnicity are irrelevant at all to determine Jewish identity.

    The only thing I could think of that could be a concern to her as one whose parents converted her as an infant to Reform , marrying a Reform Jew ...wondering if her children would be considered Jews..would be if her conversion to Reform Judaism was in question!

    and ONLY a Rabbi can answer that.

    if she was legitimately converted via Reform and her Reform husband and her are only concerned about what Reform thinks..there is no problem

    if she wants to be considered a Jew by all movements, she she will seek orthodox conversion but that may not be possible if she will be married to a man who may refuse to live in a home with strict observance of Jewish law and customs.

    Orthodox Judaism does not accept Conservative conversions either.

    There have been black Jews since before Moses received the Torah at Sinai.

    Source(s): I'm a Reform Jewish mama, child of a father raised Orthodox,Mom raised Reform I'm a former Jewish educator . in my extended family there are Jews of several "races" and many ethnicities.
  • Feivel
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    As you have said she is accepted in the Reform community and her boyfriend is also accepted in the Reform community, why would her children not be? Race does not matter. What would matter is her conversion and if she is Reform and wants to remain Reform then I see no problem. The Orthodox community would not see her conversion as legitimate nor her children as Jews but as she seems to not have any plans to embrace Orthodoxy, then I do not see the problem.

    The Reform community accepts both the mother and the father so why would children not be accepted? I find the question mind boggling. You seem to be asking if the community will embrace mixed race children more than anything and yes, any Jewish community will embrace mixed race, black, white, etc etc if the conversion suits their standards. Obviously her conversion met the standards for Reform which she is now a part of and he is a Reform Jew so I honestly do not see the reason for the question.

  • 7 years ago

    "white" and "black" are not concepts relevant to your story or the question you pose.

    If you described everything properly -- your friend is Jewish by Reform standards and any Reform Jewish community would regard her as Jewish (as well as any children born from her).

    However -- her conversion was not valid by Halakha (Jewish law) as the Refrom movement has a rather complex relationship with the standards of Jewish law.

    Thus is not Jewish by Orthodox standards and probably not Jewish by Conservative standards.

    If she wants to be Jewish by the whole Jewish community then she would need to undergo a full Orthodox conversion.

    For her children -- those who are born after the Orthodox conversion would be Jewish by ALL standards, those born before would be Jewish by Reform standards.


    Source -- I know a guy who did all three conversions, became certified as a rabbi in each movement -- and is now an Orthodox rabbi heading a synagogue.

  • LJ
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    I completely disagree with the previous answer. She only needs to see a rabbi if she cares what the Orthodox community thinks!

    Since the vast majority of American Jews are NOT Orthodox, most Jewish people would consider both her and her children to be Jewish.

    My own children were adopted from China. They each went through the conversion process with a Conservative rabbi. They are Jewish. Period, end of sentence.

    Why should we allow the most Orthodox among us to determine OUR religious practice?

    And, BTW, these days there are many, many non-white Jewish people out there. She should take heart that she will find fellow Jews who are not as narrow minded as the people the previous answerer hangs out with!

  • Aravah
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    answer: she would need to talk with her rabbi. Many conversions done by Reform rabbis aren't accepted in the Orthodox community but she is considered a Jew in Reform (and probably most Conservative and Reconstructionist Jews). Her children will be seen as Jews in that regard.

    bottom line, she needs to talk with her rabbi

    btw: her ethnicity doesn't matter one bit, neither does his. There are African Jews, there are African American Jews, there are Irish/Italian/Spanish/Russian/Chinese/etc Jews

  • Anonymous
    7 years ago

    Seeing as they are both Reform Jews, there should not be a problem. But if she is worried she should ask her Rabbi.

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