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soc.culture.jewish FAQ: Worship, Conversion, Intermarriage (5/12)
Section - Question 10.3: I'm a Jew who accepted the tenets of another religion, but now wants to practice Judaism again. Am I allowed? Am

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         I still Jewish?

   A Jew cannot become a non-Jew. This is because any Jew can do tshuva
   (repentance or "return") up to the moment of death, and this includes
   forsaking one's estrangement from Judaism. The three steps of Teshuvah
   are based on the [5]Rambam.
   A Jew who sins (e.g. by joining another religion) may lose the
   privileges of being a Jew (e.g. participation in the Jewish community)
   but at no point does a Jew become a non-Jew. For example, if a
   particular activity is permitted to non-Jews, but forbidden only to
   Jews, it remains a sin for this person.
   In Judaism, repentance consists of admitting the sin, regretting that
   one sinned, and resolving not to repeat the sin. In the case of a sin
   that consisted of joining another religion, recanting would certainly
   be involved--one would (in addition to admitting "I believed in X")
   say "I regret that I believed in X" and "I will no longer believe in
   In English, one does not "repent to", one repents. In Hebrew, "to
   repent" and "to return" are the same word. One returns to G-d. But one
   returns to G-d by doing the above three actions.

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