Another Solution

The April 6 story, “Patrilineal Jews Still Find Resistance” was a reminder that the patrilineal principle has not lived up to its promise. The major movements do not accept patrilineal Jews who, because of that, find themselves in an identity limbo. The principle has undermined efforts to encourage conversion to Judaism by making it unnecessary. Patrilineality hasn’t even encouraged raising the children of an intermarried couple exclusively as Jewish.

There is a solution for those families in which the gentile partner does not wish to embrace Judaism formally. Since patrilineal Jews are being raised as Jews and think of themselves as Jews, why don’t intermarried families with a gentile mother simply convert their children at birth or in infancy? Such an effort is relatively easy and would solve future problems. Current patrilineal Jews, fairly or not, can ease their own lives by converting as adults. Surely the Jewish community can come up with ways to make such a conversion a warm and welcoming experience.

Lawrence J. Epstein
Stony Brook, N.Y.

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Another Solution

Thank you!

This article has been sent!