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soc.culture.jewish FAQ: Worship, Conversion, Intermarriage (5/12)
Section - Question 10.2: I'm a Jew who married a gentile. Am I still Jewish?

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                                  Answer:
   
   Yes. Marriage doesn't change your status.
   
   With respect to your children, according to Conservative and Orthodox
   Judaism, the children of Jewish mothers are Jewish, and the children
   of gentile women are gentile unless converted. (An adult who converts
   must accept the Obligation of the Commandments at the time of
   conversion. A child who converts delays this acceptance until age 13
   (12 for girls), thereby validating the childhood-conversion. If he
   doesn't accept the commandments, he is not considered Jewish.)
   
   Reform requires that a child born of a mixed marriage identify
   publicly with Judaism (e.g., have a Jewish naming, Brit (if
   appropriate), Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Confirmation, etc.) to be considered
   Jewish by Reform. This is called the [5]"patrilineal descent"
   decision.
   
   The liberal Jewish movements (Reform, Progressive) often try to work
   with intermarried couples to encourage them to remain involved in
   Judaism, to raise their children as Jewish (with subsequent formal
   conversion, or to meet the requirements for Reform Judaism), and to
   educate the non-Jewish partner so that Jewish life at home is not
   sabotaged (often, as a side-effect of this, the non-Jewish partner
   makes an independent decision to convert). There is a group that works
   on promoting services to intermarried families, called the [6]Jewish
   Outreach Institute (JOI) <[7]http://www.joi.org/>. Since 1989, this
   group has held several national conferences for Jewish communal
   professionals and lay leaders to foster expertise in programming for
   the nearly 600,000 intermarried families and their more than 700,000
   children in North America. If you are interested in JOI's publications
   or obtaining a directory of services, visit their [8]homepage, write
   them at 1270 Broadway, Suite 609 New York NY 10001; contacted them via
   Email at [9]info@joi.org, or via telephone at +1-212-760-1440.

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