Who Is A Jew?

Who is a Jew?

So, what are the criteria to be a Jew? Is a Jew someone who observes Jewish law? Someone who lives in Israel? Someone who believes in Zionism or Jesus? Or maybe someone who is a descendant of the ancient Jewish people?

The questions and options are many. But the answer is simple. According to Jewish law there are two ways you can be a Jew.

Jew through matrilineal descent

If your mother was Jewish through her mother...s Jewish matrilineal descent, regardless if she is observant or not, you are a Jew. According to Jewish law if your father is a Jew and your mother is not, you are not considered a Jew. On the other hand, if your mother is Jewish and your father not, you are a Jew.

So the first answer on the question "Who is a Jew", is easy: if your mother is Jewish.

Jew through conversion to Judaism

The only other way you can be Jewish is through proper conversion to Judaism by an Orthodox Jewish Beit Din (Court of Jewish Law). Once a person went through the process of proper conversion to Judaism he/she is a Jew and so all his/her children and grandchildren born through Jewish matrilineal descent from the Mother. This is your second answer to the question "Who is a Jew".

According to Jewish law a Jew cannot convert to any other religion. Even if a Jew converted to any other religion he or she remains a Jew. Even someone who didn't practice Judaism for many generations, as long as his matrilineal descent is Jewish; he needs no conversion to Judaism. He is a Jew just like any other observant Orthodox Jew.

So, now you know who is a Jew! Browse our site and find out many more on customs and lifestyles of Orthodox Judaism.

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