In a message dated 11/1/2004 9:27:39 AM Eastern Standard Time,
< A distant relative married a women who was adopted and grew up in a Jewish
Conservative home in NJ. Her parents told her that the biological mother was
Jewish. She grew up and married my relative by a Conservative Rabbi. They have 2
children. Now when the oldest child is to become a Bar Mitzvah, the Orthodox
Rabbi is demanding proof of the mother being Jewish.>
==I am not a rabbi nor a scholar and can speak only as a layman about the
experiences of others in similar situations that have come to my attention.
==You need to use a little caution. Rabbis, like judges, are reluctant to overrule
a colleague. I suggest you find a rabbi you really trust, whom you're not
expecting to perform the "conversion," and ask him to ask around in confidence to
find someone who will perform the ceremony. It shouldn't be difficult since the
boys have been studying and observing Judaism all their lives: they will need to
be questioned briefly on what they know of Judaism, will be asked to accept
Judaism, and will be required to immerse in the mikveh. Sometimes it may also be
necessary to draw a drop of blood >from the stump of the foreskin.
==You may even find a rabbi who will rule that infant circumcision by a
God-fearing mohel constituted a "milah leshem giyur", i.e. the circmcision
automatically converted the infant. As for "converting" a Jew, that shouldn't be
much of a problem; the Israeli rabbinate frequently arranges symbolic conversions
for immigrnts ">from the lost tribes," whose Jewishness may be uncertain.
Michael Bernet, New York
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