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    Jewishness following the mother – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. Why is a child only Jewish if their mother is Jewish?

    A. Where both parents are Jewish it is obvious the child is a Jew. Where it is a mixed marriage, the mother is the determining factor. This is derived from Biblical verses and was affirmed by the Talmudic sages and accepted by the Jewish world throughout all the centuries.

    Lord Jakobovits has written, “A child from a mixed marriage could not legally be a 50% Jew, growing up with a half commitment or a double faith. A choice must be made, and once made, it must be consistently applied in all cases. In making this choice, the certainty of maternity must be set against the doubt of paternity, however small this doubt may be. Even in nature, the mother’s bond with her child is, in some respects, firmer than the father’s. The determination of the child’s religious status by the mother may indicate that she has the superior influence on the child’s religious development.”

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