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If adopted children convert do they need to convert again as adults?

by Rabbi Shlomo Chein

  

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Question:

If my two adopted children (younger than bar/bat Mitzvah age) are circumcised, go in the ocean (our Mikvah) and agree to be Jewish as their conversion, when it comes time for their bar/bat mitzvahs they would not need to do anything further if they agree to continue their lives as Jews?

Answer:

1) Any conversion process must occur under the auspices of a qualified orthodox rabbinical court. The children can’t just go to the ocean and say “we accept Judaism”.

2) Once they go through a proper conversion with a qualified rabbinical court they are considered Jewish. However, there is always more that a Jew must do; s/he never reaches a plateau. So even after they undergo conversion their lives will constantly be filled with the richness of Jewish observances and the responsibility to study more Torah.

[Ed. note: there are instances in which a child can retroactively reject his/her conversion when s/he reaches adulthood - Bat/Bar Mitzvah1. However, this is not a one-size-fits-all law and a qualified Rabbinical court has to determine if and/or when that is possible.]

Footnotes

  • 1. Maimonodies Laws of Kings and Wars Chapter 10:4

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Mitzvah
(pl. Mitzvot). A commandment from G-d. Mitzvah also means a connection, for a Jew connects with G–d through fulfilling His commandments.
Torah
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Mikvah
A ritual bath where one immerses to become spiritually pure. After her menstrual cycle, a woman must immerse in the Mikvah before resuming marital relations.
Bar Mitzvah
The thirteenth birthday of a Jewish male. On this day -- customarily celebrated with a modest party -- the adolescent reaches adulthood and is responsible to observe all the commandments of the Torah.