“You can’t sit with us,” Jewish edition

Sarahbeth Caplin encounters the confusion of a case of “who is a real ____ and who is not?”.

Sarahbeth Caplin

size-osFor a magazine whose demographic is liberal Jewish women, I was rather surprised by the responses to the article “Please Stop Asking Me ‘Are You Even Jewish’?” that was recently shared on Lilith’s Facebook page. The author, Alyssa Weinstein, was raised by interfaith parents: an Episcopalian mother, and a reformed Jewish father. Though Weinstein’s mother never officially converted, she was nonetheless raised as a typical Jew: going to synagogue, studying for a Bat Mitzvah, observing the High Holidays.

The responses to the article on Lilith’s Facebook page were surprising. While more conservative strands of Judaism trace the lineage through the mother only, the Reform tradition recognizes patrilineal descent. Instead of encouraging this young woman to be whomever she feels called to be, many comments said something to the effect of, “You’re doing yourself a disservice by not formally converting. What if you have a child who wants to make aliyah

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