MembersJewish Genetics

What makes a Jew Jewish? Is it a positive DNA test, or a Jewish mother?

By Aviel Schneider |
ULTRA ORTHODOX JEWISH WEDDING Photo: Yakov Lederman/Flash90

Is Judaism a religion that must be identified by DNA? How does Jewish society deal with Jews who have no “Jewish” characteristics? Genetic tests only serve to polarize the Jewish people.

 

Rabbi Dr. Seth (Shaul) Farber wrote in detail that while a saliva sample can detect the Jewish gene, it also awakens a philosophical dilemma. Researchers and rabbis have presented the innovative new method for establishing “Jewishness” as one that could facilitate reconciliation. According to Israel’s Ministry of Interior, there are some 300,000 immigrants from the former Soviet Union who are not Jewish according to Halacha (Jewish religious law), since there mothers were not Jewish. Still, Israel’s Law of Return permitted them to immigrate because their fathers or grandparents were Jews. But once here, they were classified as “religion-less citizens.”

 

Time and again, the Israeli media has reported on how difficult it is for these “religion-less” people to marry, given that they must...

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