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Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

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< Q8.33 TOC Q8.35 >

Question 8.34:
What is the halakhic status of the children resulting from a marriage between a Kohein and a woman who had a non-Orthodox (Reform) conversion in infancy though adoption into a Reform family?


Note: It is assumed that the birth parents are not Jewish.

From the Orthodox point of view, the child would be neither Jewish nor a Kohain, as Orthodoxy would not have considered the marriage as a Jewish marriage in the first place. Note, however, that if daughters of such a marriage later had an Orthodox conversion, they could not marry Kohanim.

Reform would consider the child Jewish (because, of course, it accepted the Reform conversion), and the question of Kohain status wouldn't come into play (because it really doesn't have significance in Reform practice). Note that, under Reform, if the mother's conversion wasn't formal, and the father was Jewish, then the Jewish status of the child would depend on whether the child was raised as Jew, not only in title, but with a Jewish education and Jewish lifecycle and yearcycle events (i.e., in accordance with the "Patrilineal Descent" statement).

The FAQ is a collection of documents that is an attempt to answer questions that are continually asked on the soc.culture.jewish family of newsgroups. It was written by cooperating laypeople from the various Judaic movements. You should not make any assumption as to accuracy and/or authoritativeness of the answers provided herein. In all cases, it is always best to consult a competent authority--your local rabbi is a good place to start.

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© (c) 1993-2004 Daniel P. Faigin <>