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soc.culture.jewish FAQ: Reform Judaism (10/12)
Section - Question 18.3.14: Reform's Position On...How an individual's Jewish status is determined

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                                  Answer:
   
   Reform's position is that the same requirements must be applied to
   establish the status of the child of a mixed (interfaith) marriage,
   regardless of whether the mother or the father is Jewish. Therefore,
   in 1983, the CCAR issued the following resolution:
   
     The Central Conference of American Rabbis declares that the child
     of one Jewish parent is under the presumption of Jewish descent.
     This presumption of the Jewish status of the offspring of any mixed
     marriage is to be established through appropriate and timely public
     and formal acts of identification with the Jewish faith and people.
     The performance of these mitzvot serves to commit those who
     participate in them, both parent and child, to Jewish life.
     
     Depending on circumstances(1), mitzvot leading toward a positive
     and exclusive Jewish identity will include entry into the covenant,
     acquisition of a Hebrew name, Torah study, bar/bat mitzvah, and
     Kabbalat Torah (Confirmation)(2). For those beyond childhood
     claiming Jewish identity, other public acts or declarations may be
     added or substituted after consultation with their rabbi.
     
     (1) According to the age or setting, parents should consult a rabbi
     to determine the specific mitzvot which are necessary.
     
     (2) A full description of these and other mitzvot can be found in
     Shaarei Mitzvah (Gates of Mitzvah), A Guide to the Jewish Life
     Cycle, CCAR, New York, 1979. ISBN 0-916694-37-2.
     
   Note that this decision is sometimes called the "Patrilineal Descent"
   decision, although it does not say that Patrilineal Descent, as
   opposed to the more traditional Matrilineal Descent, is used. Rather,
   it says that a child of an interfaith couple must be raised with a
   continuing and positive association with Judaism to be Jewish.

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Top Document: soc.culture.jewish FAQ: Reform Judaism (10/12)
Previous Document: Question 18.3.13: Reform's Position On...Outreach
Next Document: Question 18.3.15: Reform's Position On...The Messiah

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