Not Jewish Enough For Haredim?

From DailyHalacha.com:

The question was posed to Rabbi Moshe Feinstein (Russia-New York, 1895-1986) whether a Yeshiva may accept a child born to a mixed marriage, where the mother is Jewish but the father is not.  According to Halacha, the child’s status in such a case follows the mother, and therefore the child is a full-fledged Jew.  But is there any reason for a Yeshiva to refuse to accept such a child, or for a congregation not to allow this child to observe his Bar Mitzva in their synagogue?

Rabbi Feinstein ruled (Iggerot Moshe, O.C. 2:73) that a Yeshiva should not accept a child born to a mixed marriage, and a congregation should not agree to host the Bar Mitzva celebration of such a child.  Accepting the child in the Yeshiva or hosting his Bar Mitzva celebration may easily be misconstrued as implicit approval of his parents’ lifestyle.  In order to firmly establish the Torah’s strict opposition to intermarriage, Yeshivot should not accept children from mixed marriages, and synagogues should not host Bar Mitzva celebrations of such children.

Needless to say, if the mother performs Teshuva, then clearly the Yeshiva or synagogue should welcome the child, even though he had been born to a non-Jewish father.  It should be noted that certain communities (for example the Syrian Sephardic Community in Brooklyn New York) are strict in all these situations no to accept.

Please discuss.

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39 Comments

Filed under Haredim

39 responses to “Not Jewish Enough For Haredim?

  1. David Levine

    “Needless to say, if the mother performs Teshuva, then clearly the Yeshiva or synagogue should welcome the child, even though he had been born to a non-Jewish father.”

    Its not that the child is “not jewish enough for charedim” ; a yeshiva is geared to a certain lifestyle, one that a child living with non-jews (especially when one of them is a role-model figure, like a father) does not have. If the mother divorces the father – or whatever is entailed by “perform[ing] teshuva”, then the child’s lifestyle is no longer in conflict with the morals of of the yeshiva.

  2. Bitzy P.

    What if a kids father is a known ganef in the community? Or if a kids father uses police light and sirens to get through traffic? Clear violations of halacha and we wouldn’t want to approve of such a lifestyle… There must be more to this psak that was left out.

  3. Exceptions to this rule are numerous:

    1) Parents have lots of bling.
    2) Parents have influence with famous people, namely Franklin, Grant and Cleveland
    3) Parents are wealthy.
    4) Parents have access to lots and lots of money.
    5) Parents are filthy rich.
    and the list goes on

    And the big exception of course, Chabad. If such students were excluded, there would be very few students in BT yeshivas to be sure.

  4. rebeljew

    DL

    Why would this apply to a mixed marriage more than a child for frei parents?

  5. Conservative apikoris

    This sort of nonsense is the main reason why my sister (who married a gentile guy) and her family all affiliate Reform. If the Chareidim want to alienate themselves from the rest of Klal Yisrael, that’s their problem.

  6. Seichel

    Context, especially social context, is everything. In those days, there was a hope of stopping intermarriage with these types of tactics.

  7. It appears that Rav Feinstein’s psak is punishing the child if the mother refuses to do teshuva or divorce the gentile father. Did Rav Feinstein really expect a Jewish child from a mixed marriage to marry Jewish or be observant if this child is barred from attending yeshiva?

    There must be more to this ruling.

  8. Anonymous

    “In order to firmly establish the Torah’s strict opposition to intermarriage, Yeshivot should not accept children from mixed marriages, and synagogues should not host Bar Mitzva celebrations of such children.”

    Where is this strong opposition to intermarriage in the Torah? What’s the source?

  9. Yochanan Lavie

    “Where is this strong opposition to intermarriage in the Torah? What’s the source?”

    I think it had to do with not marrying idolators, or people from certain Caananite tribes. According to Maimonides, Christians and Muslims are not idolators, but I’m sure he’d be against marrying them.

  10. Anonymous

    A book written years later contained an unpublished teshuva from Rav Moshe maintaining the opposite position.

    He okayed the attendance of children of Jewish fathers.

  11. mb

    A book written years later contained an unpublished teshuva from Rav Moshe maintaining the opposite position.

    He okayed the attendance of children of Jewish fathers.

    I don’t believe that at all. What is your source? Rav Moshe permit a gentile into a Yeshiva? Or have a Bar Mitzvah? Ridiculous.

  12. still wonderin'

    Was R’ Mosher really a Chareidi? I seem to recall R’ Moshe as a posek for every Jew. From what i know, which may not be much, R’ Moshe was never motivated to paskin by politics, how something would look, an agenda, or on the urging of minions.

    I also understood that R’ Moshe was not clueless, ignorant of the challenges of modernity, manipulated by others, or out-of-touch with reality.

    Could I be wrong? Was R’ Moshe really a chareidi Jew based on today’s disturbing standards of what it means to be chareidi?

  13. ShmorgelBorgel(mikhaelmeir)

    Anonymous wrote: “Rav Moshe …okayed the attendance of children of Jewish fathers.”

    mb replied: “I don’t believe that at all. What is your source? Rav Moshe permit a gentile into a Yeshiva? Or have a Bar Mitzvah? Ridiculous.”

    I have the feeling that anonymous meant something different (I will give the benefit of the doubt and say he mistyped), that Rav Moshe permitted a halakhically Jewish child with a Jewish mother and a Gentile father to attend yeshiva. I am unfamiliar with both alleged psaks, so I have no other comment except to say that I recall staying at the Yeshiva of Staten Island many years ago when I was a teenager for Rosh ha Shana or Shabbos Teshuva (Yeshiva of Staten Island is part of MTJ-Feinstein’s yeshiva, and Reven Feinstein is rosh yeshiva there). I was chatting with some of the bochrim who were trying to mekarev me, a public school kid(it didn’t take). One of them pointed out another bochur, a Russian guy, and stated to me something to the effect like “See that guy? His father is a goy. He is from Russia. He is one of the best talmidim here.” So, maybe Rav Moshe wrote that psak, but I know of at least one example of a guy from such a background who studied at his yeshiva. (Of course, the bochur’s non-Jewish father may have also been divorced from his Jewish mother–I don’t know the details.)

  14. anon

    Isn’t Reb Moshe the one that came up with the ban on gelatin even though it was and still is recognized as kosher

  15. shmuel

    In my day, MTJ took in black students who were the children of legitimate gerim —no problem there — but also admitted a very clever, funny kid who had a white mom and, based upon the child’s features, a black dad who may very well have been non-Jewish (but who can ever know?). None of us ever questioned the kid, we accepted him as one of the gang, and that was that.

  16. shmuel

    Yes, the mom was Jewish –sorry to have to point out the obvious.

  17. Anonymous

    “This sort of nonsense is the main reason why my sister (who married a gentile guy) and her family all affiliate Reform. If the Chareidim want to alienate themselves from the rest of Klal Yisrael, that’s their problem.”

    Really??? Your sister marries out of the fold and you state that its the Charedim who are alienating themselves??? ROFLMAO!!! Yes Reform is definitley the place for people like you.

  18. mb

    Isn’t Reb Moshe the one that came up with the ban on gelatin even though it was and still is recognized as kosher

    Posted by: anon | January 01, 2007 at 04:09 PM

    Yes, he was responding to a what if question. In fairness, he was not alone in assuring it, although R.Chaim Ozer, and R.Pesach Frank amongst others permitted it.

  19. Anonymous

    Where is this strong opposition to intermarriage in the Torah? What’s the source?

    There is no such prohibition. In fact, enforcing such a ban is not only impossible but stupid – how many more defective inbreds do we need? And there is no evidenced that these men aren’t genetically Jewish or Israelite. If God didn’t want the marriage to take place, it wouldn’t have. Or are we now saying that God ISN’T in control of everything?

  20. Anonymous

    “Conversion” didn’t exist until the second Temple era when Hellenism was introduced. All of your forefathers married non-Jewish women, and yet you all claim to be Jews. Oh, silly me – I forget. The rabbinate is historically impaired. Never mind.

  21. Higdil Laassot

    “Why would this apply to a mixed marriage more than a child for frei parents?”
    Asks Rebeljew.
    Good question.
    1- They do that to kids of Frei Parents too and even not so Frei. I know of a lady who drives her daughters an extra 10 miles since in the closer frum day school, many are kids of baalei tshuva who may exert bad influence on her gems. (some bt’s still own tv’s r’l)
    2- In the case of kids with a gentile parent or even ger tzedek. The challenge is even greater. Kids of pure frum families might get the “wrong ideas” like being nice to geirim etc… Then they will ask, if they (the geirim or the kids of a gentile father) are kosher, why shouldn’t we…. ?
    So the schools prefer to sin against the converts instead, leshem shomayim!

  22. Anonymous

    “Conversion” didn’t exist until the second Temple era when Hellenism was introduced.

    What are you talking about? Ruth was a convert and the torah talks about conversion, and loving geirim.

  23. If the kids are being put in Yeshiva in the first place, then clearly they are being raised as Jews, and pretty religious Jews at that.

    If they are being raised as such religious Jews, it is most likely that the non-Jewish father might: a) not be in the picture anymore or b) may have converted himself.

    I, for one, cannot imagine an even halfway religious Christian or even a secular Christian/atheist allowing their kids to be raised as such religious Jews that they would be educated in a Yeshiva.

    Lastly, if someone were going to one of the common year abroad/ba’al tshuva Yeshivas in Israel (like Aish, Ohr Sameach, Brovender’s or Chapelles) do they even really check into one’s background?

    Once, in college (years before I had actually converted), I lied my way into the Ascent Institute in Tzfat for Shabbat. They had me fill out a form asking if my parents were Jewish and what their Hebrew names are. I said yes they were and gave them made up Hebrew names that went according to the usual patterns I have observed in other American Jews (Hebrew and English names having same first initial). Beforehand, they wouldn’t let me and my friend (a standard American Ashkenazi Jew) stay at Heritage House in Jerusalem DURING THE WEEK (no Shabbat, no Chag, no nothing) simply because I was not Jewish at the time (despite having stayed there alone during Shabbat in the recent past). They threw us out into the street in the middle of the night (on my birthday) and we had to stay at an Arab hostel somewhere else in the Old City. I was NOT going to have that happen to me in Tzfat where there are few if any other options.

    If the Yeshivas do things like have people fill out a form to have people prove their Jewishness before entering a Yeshiva then their ethnic selection process is totally worthless anyway.

    What were they going to do, call my parents, ask for records from the NY Dept. of Vital Records? Things like this the Israeli government does when people make aliyah and it sometimes takes legitimate Jews months to prove they are Jewish to the satisfaction of the Rabbis.

  24. Neo-Conservaguy

    “Conversion” didn’t exist until the second Temple era when Hellenism was introduced.

    What are you talking about? Ruth was a convert and the torah talks about conversion, and loving geirim.

    Perhaps the first commenter was implying that the criteria for the conversion “process” wasn’t codified in writing until the sealing of the Mishna around 200 C.E., or the later Talmudic discourse (Mas. Yevamoth 24b, 47a, 47b, 48a, Mas. Bechoroth 30b)? In any case, the other comment about the reversal of the “key” parent from Torah times to rabbinic times is of course correct; it used to lead with the father, then changed to the mother.

    As for the details of Ruth’s conversion, that’s rabbinic conjecture, as the text itself is rather sparing of details. Let’s not forget that Megillath Ruth seems like a political document designed with a clear purpose in mind, the validation of David’s leadership. There’s more than a little tongue-in-cheek authorship going on in a story that names two of the characters Illness and Destruction.

  25. Anonymous

    the other comment about the reversal of the “key” parent from Torah times to rabbinic times is of course correct; it used to lead with the father, then changed to the mother.

    I never heard this. What’s your source?

  26. Anonymous

    “Where is this strong opposition to intermarriage in the Torah? What’s the source?
    There is no such prohibition. In fact, enforcing such a ban is not only impossible but stupid – how many more defective inbreds do we need? And there is no evidenced that these men aren’t genetically Jewish or
    Israelite.

    Speaking of defective inbreds cleetus, take your medicine and calm down. There is no evidence that these guys aren’t Jewish, nor Israelite, nor is their no evidence that they are not mass murderers or the Mashiach for that matter according to your weird standard of proof.

    “If God didn’t want the marriage to take place, it wouldn’t have. Or are we now saying that God ISN’T in control of everything?”

    What farm did they grow you on. The God I know allowed me free will to do as I wish and deal with the consequences of it. What deal you made with him is your own business.

  27. Seichel

    “Where is this strong opposition to intermarriage in the Torah?”

    Doesn’t the book of Nechemiah have a ban just like this?

  28. ed

    “Where is this strong opposition to intermarriage in the Torah? What’s the source?
    >There is no such prohibition.

    Rambam Chapter 12 of Isurei Biah is of the opinion that its a D’oraysa – Lo Sischaten Bom.

    Besides, halachikly there no Kidushin with a goy, and its a flagrant violation of V’avdil Es’chem Min Ha’amim and it flies in the face of everything we sacrificed ourselves for over the last 3,000 years.

  29. Isa

    Take the case of an Agunah-impossible to fix for whatever reason-She has no children but desires children-what to do?
    Marry a unconverted ger, better yet a Reform converted ger where the ‘rabbi’ didn’t even bother with even a fake mikve.
    Children are not Mamzeriem

  30. Neo-Conservaguy

    “Besides, halachikly there no Kidushin with a goy”

    And when do you believe the concept of a marriage as an act of qiddushin happened? Do you believe the the various forms of acquiring a wife in the Torah text represent qiddushin? Exactly when in the course of taking a captive women, who has had her former owner/husband killed by you, is the divine spark elevated?

    Reading qiddushin into the concept of marriage is a much later way of thinking. Even the ketubah, a revolutionary legal instrument (for women) at the time (about 50 C.E. – yes, the second temple was still standing when the Sota ritual was abolished), is much more centered on obligations and rights than on some qabbalistic mumbo-jumbo concept that is then read backward into history.

  31. Anonymous

    Neo conservaguy, you never answered my question,
    “the other comment about the reversal of the “key” parent from Torah times to rabbinic times is of course correct; it used to lead with the father, then changed to the mother.

    I never heard this. What’s your source?

  32. avrech

    Before matan Torah, Israelite identity followed the father; afterward, the mother.

  33. Anonymous

    ohhhhhh, right

  34. ira kaufman

    a tricky question and a deep one.i think rachmonis and a individual anwer should be applied to any case.by the way as long as the big guns.reb moshe,caim ozer,ect can’t agree or have a consenses on these points,well where does that leave us?thank g-d we’re the best in any case.anyone who dosen’t agree with that can go……

  35. Neo-Conservaguy

    “Before matan Torah, Israelite identity followed the father; afterward, the mother.”

    Not only that, but control of the family power and property structure was almost entirely patriarchal until the ketubah at least gave a wife a legal instrument for a monetary claim in the event of divorce. If you “acquired” another wife by one of the described “methods”, it would appear that “converting her” so that your children would be “official” was a defacto and simple process in the Good Olde Days.

  36. David Levine

    “There is no such prohibition.”

    textual source for not intermarrying:
    Deuteronomy 7: 3, “And you shall not intermarry with them, your daughter you shall not give to his son and his daughter you shall not take for your son.”

    unless youre right, just ask questions (“where is the source for this law), dont make statements about it not being true.

    Bitzy – its not that the father is a bad jew, its that hes not jewish, and therefore living in a non-jewish household. In order not to condone intermarriage, jews are supposed to cut off people who intermarry (i can find the halachic source for this if need but, but i dont know where it is off hand).
    Again, the issue is that the kid might not be on the same hashkafic equivelant as the other kids. (although there is something in judaism that kids from certain marriages are worse off- mamzerim for example: its nothing they did, but they suffer for it because of their parents… no relation here though).

    And there are other reasons that people would go to a yeshiva vs other schools -education. There are religious jews go to Catholic private schools, because it offers a hiegher education than public schools (and there wasnt a yeshiva they could send them to)- it is not unheard of.
    Oh and btw: there are exceptions to the rule in most yeshivas: if the child is trying to be religious then the yeshiva will usually take the kid in and help him or her. This is especially true for dorming schools, where by being there the child would be partially removed from the non-jewish dad.

  37. Isa

    Jewish but secular (non-believing) dad: Moses at Mount Sinai: “Just a stinking fairy tale-no truth whatsoever-they must have been eating the wrong kind of mushrooms”
    Non-Jewish but non-interfering dad: “Mount Sinai? of course it happened!! it says so in the bible!!” [even the Moslems believe this]

  38. Anonymous

    “textual source for not intermarrying:
    Deuteronomy 7: 3, “And you shall not intermarry with them, your daughter you shall not give to his son and his daughter you shall not take for your son.”

    Context, context, context. “Them” are the seven nations of cana’an. This rules applies to no other nation.

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