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Intermarriage and being Jewish


My father was the only child of an ultra-orthodox Jewish family. In 1950 my father married my mother who was non-Jewish.. My father’s family held a funeral for him and never had contact with him again. After I was born in the mid 1950’s we left New York and moved to California , I was not raised with any religion, I never knew any of his Jewish family. I don’t understand how parents would disown a child like his parents did to him. I never knew my paternal grandparents or anyone from his family. I never understood why such an unfortunate occurrence occurred. it seemed very racist to me, I was orphaned when I was a teenager and I went to foster homes until I was of legal age. At one time I was looking for a place to belong, and because of my father’s heritage, I talked to a rabbi about the Jewish faith, and he told me I was not Jewish because my mother was English. The conversation felt racist and I did not pursue any religion after that point. What are your thoughts on this?




Your frustration is understandable, and I feel for you. I understand that you feel pushed away and abandoned. These are very difficult feelings, but it might help if I can explain to why this the family reacted this way and what the Rabbi meant. In Jewish law, intermarriage is considered one of the greatest sins, and it is exactly for the reason that you are now suffering. according to Jewish law, when a Jewish man marries a non-Jewish woman. he is essentially cutting himself off from the Jewish people because he is causing his children to cease from being considered Jewish. In other words, they are so mad because of what it caused to you, and to the Jewish people. This essentially is the ultimate destruction of the Jewish people. In addition to it, it is a show of betrayal to the ancestry, values and deeply rooted beliefs of his family and caused a deep rift within the family. This is the way the family of your father sees it. I am not saying this to blame your father, as I have no idea what his conditions were, and why he did what he did, I only mean to explain the way the family sees it.

The Rabbi also doesn’t mean to come across as racist, however he does have to adhere to the Jewish law.

As a side point, if you sincerely want to become Jewish you can, however that would mean studying Judaism, all the commandment, and accepting to live by them.

Best wishes


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