Sunday, December 11, 2016

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What is a Jew?

​   by Reb Gutman Locks   
     

What is a Jew?

Anna wrote:

Shalom,

Dearest Rabbi Locks,
     I hope you are well. And your family is well too. I am so sorry I haven't written to you in a while. I was busy digging into my family history as you told me. I have been so plagued with this emotion that is stronger than a sea current to find the meaning to the deep desire instilled in me to follow Judaism and my love for the Jewish people. I needed answers with evidence. So I decided to dig my family tree.
     Rabbi, I learned that my great grandmother was a Jewish woman who migrated from Spain and married my great grandfather. She died giving birth to my grandmother and my great grandfather remarried, and my grandmother the only child of my great grandmother was raised by her step mother. My grandmother did not practice any Jewish lifestyle as she was raised by two non-Jewish parents and followed their customs.

     My grandmother has 8 children and one is my own mother. They have not had any Jewish influence.  My mother became an atheist and her siblings practiced whatever religion they married into.
     Rabbi, please tell me does this mean I am a Jewish soul. Or because of the lost practice of Judaism from my grandmother have I lost my Jewish heritage?
Deep down this strong feeling kept leading me to dig deeper on my family history.
     They may have lost Judaism, but Rabbi I am very Jewish I know I feel this deep down inside me.

Hope to hear from you.

Shabbat Shalom

Anna

 

Gutman's reply:

Shalom Anna

   If your mother's mother's mother was a Jewish woman (i.e. her mother was Jewish) then your mother's mother was Jewish, and if your mother's mother was Jewish, then you mother was Jewish, and if your mother was Jewish, then you are Jewish.

    Jews are a people with a religion, but it is not our religion that makes us Jewish. It is our mother. So if you can prove that you mother's grandmother who came from Spain was Jewish, then you will have proven that you are a Jew.

   Go to your local Chabad rabbi, or any friendly orthodox rabbi, and ask him to teach you how to follow the commandments.

   And obviously if you are Jewish, then marry only a Jew.

Be well

Gutman

 

Anna's response:

Shalom,

Dearest Rabbi Locks,

     Blessed is Hashem. It was so nice to hear from you. I have never felt such a great happiness in my whole life. Thank you for confirming my Jewish identity. I knew right along there was something not right about my life because these intuitive feelings, thoughts would not leave me alone but moved me from deep within until I found the evidence.

    I feel so sad though that I don't speak Hebrew and I don't know any of the customs.  I have been raised covered by a veil that hid my true identity.  I feel like shedding this skin and running away!

     I am afraid to go to an orthodox synagogue coz  I don't know how to interact. I feel like a stranger :( but I will go to a Chabad rabbi as you suggested.

    Look after yourself rabbi I love you very much.

Anna

 

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