Why is it that you are what your mother is in the Jewish religion?

My mother is Italian and my grandfather was born in Sicily. I am like the 3rd generation on her side. He came here like in the 1950’s at 9. My grandma is from Southern Italy, but on her side I’m like the 5th generation. My father told me he is like German, Polish, Romanian, and Russian.

He is Jewish…

Jewish law requires that a child be identified as Jewish or not by what the mother is because you always know who the mother is, but not always the father. (Okay, there are extreme cases where a child is abandoned or stolen, and then no one knows what the kid is, but that’s not the norm.) Even when two people are married, you cannot be sure that the husband is the child’s father. So Jewishness passes through the mother. Judaism is a tribal religion. You can’t just believe (in fact, belief isn’t required), you just have to be a member of the tribe.

If the mother isn’t Jewish and the father is, you might think the Jews would still want to claim the child, but they still say the child is whatever its mother is.

But that’s just Jewish law. There are several sects of Judaism,and they practice the laws differently. And every individual Jew interprets things differently. So while we all acknowledge that Jewish descent is matrilineal, there are mixed-religion families that consider their children half Jewish and half whatever else. Not according to Jewish law, but socially and biologically. And there are Jewish fathers that raise their non-Jewish children as Jews. And those children sometimes identify themselves as Jews and practice Judaism, and there are some Jewish sects that accept that without making them officially convert.

Now, about Catholics. They don’t care whom you marry, but if an observant Catholic wants to marry a non-Catholic, that person is expected to convert to Catholicism. And the kids are expected to be raised in the Catholic church.

One thing Catholicism has that Judaism doesn’t is the requirement to obey unquestioningly. Catholics are supposed to just accept the teachings of the church. Jews are allowed to question their teachings and even argue them – and even reject them. So Catholics who hold beliefs that the church forbids used to be (still are?) excommunicated.

About intermarriage: Jews, even secular Jews, who don’t believe in God and only consider themselves Jews by their history and culture, often feel that Jews should only marry other Jews, because they fear the culture will die out. Religions that feel their way is the only right way get very upset with the idea of intermarriage for two reasons. One is the fear that the spouse may turn the person away from their religion. Another is the idea that the person is marrying a sinner, someone who will be eternally damned. For someone who totally believes this, it makes sense.

As for your last name, that’s an American thing. Kids usually take their father’s last name here. Your father is from Eastern Europe. In Russia and other East European places, last names are given a bit differently. I think sons take their father’s last name and daughters take their mothers – I could be wrong. Then there’s the patronymic where a son takes his father’s first name and adds “son” to it. Like the son of Ivan would be Ivanov. Not sure how all that works.

You’re right, if your last name is Goldstein or something, people won’t know that you’re half Italian. That’s not uncommon among people in the US, what with intermarriage, Anglicization of ethnic last names, etc. Hopefully, your first name is Vinnie or Guido or something. ;D

So your father was from a part of Russia that is now part of Poland. Since it was Russia when his family lived there, You’d say Russian, not Polish. Though you could say it exactly as you did: from a part of Russia that is now part of Poland.

If you are interested in finding out where your family came from, here are a few websites:
If your father’s family came to the USA though Ellis Island, you might find info on them here:
The Mormons are trying to collect genealogical records on everyone, even non-Mormoms, so check their database: http://www.familysearch.org/eng/default….

As long as you marry a member of your own species of the opposite sex, go for it. Just be prepared for bigotry and unpleasantness from both sides. There will be many surprises due to the differing assumptions and emphases in the two cultures involved.

As to the tribal inheritance being determined by the mother: I really don’t know. It was probably a social norm, doubtlessly due to people almost always knowing who their mothers are and not often enough being sure who their fathers are.

There was on shock-jock journalist who interviewed the grand dragon or something of the KKK and asked him if he could join. He was half-Jew but he said that because he didn’t even practices Judaism properly he should be allowed to. He said no. Then John asked that if he married a non-Jewish woman, would their children be allowed to join the KKK and the dragon said yes! So half-Jewish children are allowed to join based on that principle.
I don’t really understand why Christians aren’t Jew though because Jesus was a Jew since his mother Mary was a Jew lol. Confusing!

> Anyway, I just don’t understand why lots of Jewish people think you are what your mother is. Why is this?

In the primitive times that this religion was founded, everyone knew who their mother was, but most did not even know that there was a father involved in the reproductive process.

> I also hate it when people say they would never marry out of their religion.

Some people say it. Many don’t. Do what you think best for you.

Judaism is a covenental religion — the Covenant between God and the people Israel passes through the mother. The only other way to become a Jew is to convert, thereby accepting the obligations of the Covenant (contract/testament).

One cannot be “half” Jewish. Your are either Jewish or you are not Jewish. Something similar to being pregnant. You are either pregnant or you are not pregnant!

Nehemiah 13:25 And I contended with them, and cursed them, and smote certain of them, and plucked off their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, Ye shall not give your daughters unto their sons, nor take their daughters unto your sons, or for yourselves.

13:26 Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? yet among many nations was there no king like him, who was beloved of his God, and God made him king over all Israel: nevertheless even him did outlandish women cause to sin.

13:27 Shall we then hearken unto you to do all this great evil, to transgress against our God in marrying strange wives?

Ezra 9:12 Now therefore give not your daughters unto their sons, neither take their daughters unto your sons, nor seek their peace or their wealth for ever: that ye may be strong, and eat the good of the land, and leave it for an inheritance to your children for ever.

this was the promise made by the people to God, and thus, we are bound by it, we are bound by the oath that was taken in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah, and Malachi confirmed that God heard the oath

Malachi 2:11 Judah hath dealt treacherously, and an abomination is committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah hath profaned the holiness of the LORD which he loved, and hath married the daughter of a strange god.

2:12 The LORD will cut off the man that doeth this, the master and the scholar, out of the tabernacles of Jacob, and him that offereth an offering unto the LORD of hosts.

the law within judaism is that matrilineal descent matters so your mom is the determinant.

Better than your dad assuming you’re Christian because he hasn’t been bothered to find out what you are or even ask you.

Yup, my father is like that. He always assumes I like/follow/do what he does. Idiot.

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