Askmoses-A Jews Resource
What's the connection between women and Rosh Chodesh?
Browse our archives

The Scholar is ready to answer your question. Click the button below to chat now.

Scholar Online:

Type in your question here:

Click the button below to either CHAT LIVE with an AskMoses Scholar now - or - leave a message if no Scholar is currently online.


How do you tell a person who thinks she's Jewish, that she isn't?


Library » Jewish Identity » Conversion | Subscribe | What is RSS?


Tzippy: I have friends who are getting married (to each other), but I just learned from the groom's best friend that his fiance's mother was adopted, and no conversion, so I assume this is a problem. How do you tell a person who thinks her whole life that she is Jewish that she isn't?

Rabbi Kantor: Does the fiance know that she's not Jewish?

Tzippy: Well, although she is not religious, she does have a degree in Jewish Studies, so I would think so, but I really don't KNOW...and I don't know if it is right for me to open my mouth.

Rabbi Kantor: Quite a common dilemma.

Tzippy: Tzippy: So do I say anything, and if so, what?

Rabbi Kantor: Are you sure that they aren't Jewish? And does the boy know?

Tzippy: I am not sure of anything except that two people close to them told me her mom was adopted. Even so she COULD have been adopted from a Jewish birth mother-but who knows?

Rabbi Kantor: She could have been converted right after adoption, which is common, and then reaffirmed at 12. The rabbi must certainly know.

Tzippy: They were discussing having an Orthodox rabbi marry them, but obviously that won't happen now.

Rabbi Kantor: Why not?

Tzippy: Because the rabbi will ask questions about their families-and as soon as he does, how can he marry them?

Rabbi Kantor: Maybe he can help her through a conversion. This would be advisable especially if she grew up thinking herself as Jewish. So here's my advice: Don't say anything, but do try to steer them in the direction of an Orthodox rabbi, and inform him of the situation. He will handle matters tactfully and professionally.

Tzippy: OK, thanks.

Ed. note: Also read "Why should I choose an Orthodox conversion?"

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.


Please email me when new comments are posted (you must be  logged in).