JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Re: Birthright #general

Judith Romney Wegner

Dear members,
I have a genuine theological question,please ,as I have never been given a
straight"Yeah or Nay"-only a lot of "don't know for sure" answers.
In the light of this,much abounded recent nonsense on religion an culture,
via a harmless,friendly and jocular e-mail,that is clogging up the
airwaves of late,if a non-Jewish female marries a Jewish male, bears
children at a later date and then decides to convert to Judaism,are the
children regarded as Jewish, by all,if any,of the different(for the use
of a better term)"synagogue movements"? Which branch would sanctify and
which branch wouldn't?
The traditional rule (followed by Orthodox and Conservative branches) is
that unless the mother has converted previously, the child is not
considered a Jew. The Reform and Reconstructionist branches now accept
the patrilineal as well as the matrilineal principle, provided the children
are being raised as Jews and consider themselves Jews.

Would the same apply to the Catholic,faith where the father's religion is
regarded as the one to follow?Following on >from that,does this question
arise within the other major religions?
In Christianity and Islam, the ethnicity or religious beliefs of the
parents are irrelevant. If the child is baptised at birth and confirmed in
the Church when old enough to understand, that's all it takes. There's no
specific ethnic element in Catholicism. In fact, there's no specific ethnic
element, paternal or maternal, in Christianity or Islam, though there is in
Zoroastrianism, which is the fourth member of the "western monotheistic"
group of religions. (Yes, Zoroastrianism does still exist, though its
numbers have dwindled to about 250,000 due to the fact that it never
developed procedures for conversion, so that it has remained strictly
ethnic, i.e. you have to be born into it. I think there are about 20,000
Zoroastrians living in the USA.)

MODERATOR NOTE: While the cultural and ethnic transmission of Judaism does
indeed relate to genealogy, discussions of Jewish law and the practices of
other religions are not the focus of this group. Please continue this
discussion privately.

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