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.

Have something interesting to say on this topic "who is a Jew"? Share your thoughts!

Have a question, on Orthodox Jewish Matters? Need an answer? Please Email your questions , Chava will answer your questions with insight and wit.

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.

Recent Articles

  1. My Arranged Marriage: A Hasidic Jew's Experience!

    My Arranged Marriage - a personal account of what it was like to go through an arranged marriage as a Hasidic Jew.

    Read more

  2. Orthodox Jewish Culture, Lifestyle, Traditions and Customs

    Learn and get acquainted with the unique Orthodox Jewish Culture, get to know their dress style, education, views on life and more

    Read more

  3. Dating Jewish Girls

    How does it work when Dating Jewish Girls? What do you need to know about Jewish dating singles? Read trhe article and enjoy!

    Read more