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I am Jewish but was raised as a Christian. What do I do next?


Library » Jewish Identity » Who/What is a Jew? | Subscribe | What is RSS?


Rabbi Eliezer G: Welcome to the Rabbi's one on one chat room, how can I help you today?

Kevin: Shalom, I was wanting to know if my maternal grandmother was a Jew but I was raised in a CHristian family what would I have to do to practice my Jewish faith?

Rabbi Eliezer G: let me ask you a hypothetical questioin

Rabbi Eliezer G: question

Rabbi Eliezer G: say an eagle was born to a family of eagels that got tired to being eagels

Kevin: OK

Rabbi Eliezer G: so they told their baby that he was a bear

Rabbi Eliezer G: wherever the little eagle went he crawled around

Kevin: He is still an eagle

Rabbi Eliezer G: he ate bear food

Rabbi Eliezer G: and even learned to growl

Rabbi Eliezer G: one day someone told the little eagel that he is infact an eagle

Rabbi Eliezer G: what wold tghe eagle need to do in order to act like an eagel?

Rabbi Eliezer G: spread its wings and fly, right?

Kevin: Exactly

Rabbi Eliezer G: but he would first need to learn how to use his wings right?

Kevin: right

Kevin: I he would need a flight instructor

Rabbi Eliezer G: correct

Rabbi Eliezer G: that is exactly what you need

Rabbi Eliezer G: you dont need to become an eagel

Rabbi Eliezer G: you already are an eagle

Rabbi Eliezer G: all you need is someone to help you learn how to behave like an eagle

Rabbi Eliezer G: and most of it will come naturally once you are shown the way

Rabbi Eliezer G: so find a teacher who can help you and guide you and start to adopt a more Jewish way of life

Kevin: So call a Rabbi?

Rabbi Eliezer G: slowly but surely you will do more and more\

Rabbi Eliezer G: and before you know it

Rabbi Eliezer G: it will be like second nature

Rabbi Eliezer G: yes, call a rabbi

Rabbi Eliezer G: try out Chabad for example

Rabbi Eliezer G: the rabbis at chabad are very open to helping Jews such as yourself

Kevin: Toda Raba

Kevin: Baruch HsShem

Rabbi Eliezer G: Thank you for visiting Ask Moses today and I invite you to come back at any time

Kevin: I will start right away. I have been learning Hebrew for about a yr and in that endevor I have learned a lot but there much much more to learn

Kevin: Shalom

Rabbi Eliezer G: good luck, shalom

Kevin: toda

All names, places, and identifying information have been changed or deleted in order to protect the privacy of the questioners. In order to preserve authenticity, the chat sessions have been posted with a minimum of editing. Please excuse typographical errors, missing punctuation, and/or grammatical mistakes which naturally occur in the course of informal chat sessions.


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Posted by: Anonymous, Jerusalem, Israel on May 18, 2008

All the best with connecting to our great tradition.

Never get discouraged. When I was becoming more observant, I would sometimes get upset because I felt that people weren't necessarily jumping to help me.

Its a process that requires a natural activation from within yourself, and if you think about it, if anyone did it for you, you'd lose the satisfaction of knowing you did it.

The rabbi will guide you in learning your heritage, and only in your own toiling, struggling and learning you will gain a self awareness. As our sages write, "In the cleaving (to Gd) itself, emerges a great secret."



Maternal grandmother was Jewish

Posted by: Anonymous, Hollywood, CA on May 18, 2008

What if the mother had converted to Chrisianity?

What if the mother had not formally converted, but had alwasys lives as a Christian?

What if the grandmother had had the mother baptized or the mother had had the son baptized?

Due to the recent decision where the Rabbinical Court in Israel stripped a convert of her Jewishness after 14 years and made all her children un-Jewish, I fear that a trend is developing in he Haredim to define Who is a Jew so narrowly that we might start excoummicating born-Jews. The Rabinicial Court allegedly said that since a review of the woman's behavior showed that she was not sufficiently observant, both she and her children were no longer Jewish. This type of (evil) logic would make this scion of a maternal Jewish grandmother non-Jewish.

At one time, I would have suggested that the scion "convert" in oder to eradicate any legal issues, but now such advice would be quite foolish (and besides I am not a rabbi and shouldn't give advice

Editor's Comment

All questions about determining Jewish identity need be presented to a Rabbinic court that has expertise to rule about such cases. As each case has its specific details, Rabbis may rule very differently depending on the circumstances in question. The instance you mention about a woman's Jewish status (and as result, that of her children) being ruled as invalid is, in fact, extremely rare and depends on the individual details of her case. It is likely that her conversion did not conform with full halachic requirements. Of course, she could still persue a proper conversion for herself and her children if she so wished, one that would comply with halacha and be accepted by all Rabbinic courts. You may read about the Jewish conversion process via this link:,2143674/What-is-the-conversion-process.html

re: I am Jewish but was raised as a Christian. What do I do next?

Posted by: Anonymous, Moreno Valley, CA, USA on May 18, 2008

Dear Rabbi,

What good advice you gave Kevin. I was that Eaglet. I have since began studying with Rabbi Fuss of Chabad Riverside. While I have years and much information to catch up on he nevers pushes but teaches and shares. I would advise Kevin to contact a Chabad Center as soon as possible.

Sincerely & Respectfully,

Manny Blanco


Best of AskMoses » Jewish Identity

Chabad, an acronym for Wisdom, Knowledge, and Understanding, is the name of a Chassidic Group founded in the 1770s. Two of the most fundamental teachings of Chabad are the intellectual pursuit of understanding the divine and the willingness to help every Jew who has a spiritual or material need.
[Hebrew pronunciation: Moshe] Greatest prophet to ever live. Led the Jews out of Egyptian bondage amidst awesome miracles; brought down the Tablets from Mount Sinai; and transmitted to us word-for-word the Torah he heard from G-d's mouth. Died in the year 1272 BCE.