Establishing who is a convert #general


MBernet@...
 

In a message dated 4/27/2006 8:04:47 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,
julierog@... writes:

< Well, the first step is to determine what country and, if possible, what
city the person lived in around that time.

< Next, share with others (say, this mailing list) the reasons that you
believe this person did or did not convert, along with any other
information you think might be useful--such as the names of relatives,
spouses, etc.

< With such information in hand, some of us might be able to give you
assistance. >

==Traditional Judaism says that it is a grievous sin to remind a person that
[s]he is a convert. It is possible that this is so only if the reminder is
meant to castigate or humiliate the convert, but in general, it is something
that traditional Jews avoid. I assume that inquiring whether a person is a
convert, or assisting such an inquiry, does not rank high on the list of virtue.
[I used the word "Traditional" advisedly. I am not familiar with the rules
of the reformed branches of Judaism.]

==While that information may be essential for some strictly ritual purposes
(e.g. for matters of marriage, divorce and status of children) official and
quasi official record keepers would share their information only on a
need-to-know basis.

==If you think that someone in your ancestral line may have been born into a
gentile family, you could check out the birth family and see what other
family records exist, especially church or parish records.

==For ritual purposes, it is common for a convert to adopt the patronymic
"ben/bat Avraham Avinu" [son/daughter of our Patriarch Abraham] and the
matronymic "ben/bat Sarah Immeinu" [son/daughter of our Matriarch Sarah].
That name may be entered in a ketubah or on a tombstone, and would serve as a
obvious clue.

Michael Bernet, New York

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