"[79] Britain's Assembly of Reform Rabbis stated that rabbis "would be able to take local decisions – ratified by the Beit Din – confirming Jewish status."[79]. According to Jewish tradition, Sarah was Abraham's niece, whose name is given elsewhere in Genesis as Iscah. Judaism defines as a Jew any person born to a Jewish Mother. I think that the problems involved with all the issues surrounding "who is a Jew" are problematic. 7:1-3 prohibit intermarriage only with the Canaanites, a prohibition that was supposed to have originated with the patriarchs Abraham (Gen. 24:3) and Isaac (Gen. 27:46-28:1), some Israelites extended the prohibition to include all foreigners (Judg. Print. There’s clear evidence There’s clear evidence of the rule of matrilineal descent in Biblical times in the story of Ezra and the returning exiles.of the rule of matrilineal descent in Biblical times in the story of Ezra and the returning exiles.The Book of Ezra tells the story of the Jews who returned from Babylonia to finish rebuilding the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. [34], Ruth came from the people of Moab, who descend from the older daughter of Lot. Tamar's mother (at least at the time when she was conceived) was not Israelite, her mother was Maacah, daughter of Talmai king of Geshur. Since the children issued from the second union of a Karaite divorcée would be illegitimate (mamzerim), and since it was not always possible to ascertain that a divorce had not occurred [sic] in previous generations in a Karaite family, Maimonides decided to consider all Karaites as potential mamzerim, and therefore prohibited for marriage. The patrilineal descent decision may not have brought intermarrieds into the fold en masse, but it didn’t encourage intermarriage, either, as many of its early critics had warned would result. Moses married a woman who was not Jewish, and Moses's father-in-law gave him excellent advice on how to deal with the people. The Hellenistic Jewish philosopher, Philo of Alexandria (c. 20 BCE – 50 CE) calls the child of a Jew and a non-Jew a nothos (bastard), regardless of whether the non-Jewish parent is the father or the mother. Maimonides' Mishneh Torah (c. 1170-1180 CE), Laws of Forbidden Relationships, 15:4. The ensuing Gemara (Kidsushin 68b) explains that this is derived from a verse within the Torah’s prohibition of intermarriage: “And you shall not marry with the non-Jews. T or F The Kojiki, or "Chronicle of Ancient Events," was written in 712 CE, and the Nihongi, or "Chronicle of Japan," was written in 720 CE. Jewish communities have practiced matrilineal descent from at least early Tannaitic (c. 10-70 CE) times to Modern times. The Devotion System I have heard that matrilineal descent (i.e. Matrilineality in Judaism or matrilineal descent in Judaism is the tracing of Jewish descent through the maternal line. Support for Matrilineal Descent Rabbinic Judaism went with matrilineal descent. save hide report. Second: If Judaism is based on matrilineal descent then you must give the names of nine generations of Jewish mothers and daughters: So, for example: In … Matrilineal society, group adhering to a kinship system in which ancestral descent is traced through maternal instead of paternal lines. [72] Jakobovits also suggests a connection between the Jewish law of matrilineal descent and a mother's bond with her child. [citation needed] Each of the denominations of Judaism has protocols for conversion for those who are not Jewish by birth. Jacobs believes that an Israelite man who married a non-Israelite woman and had a child, that woman and child were considered not part of the "family clan" and therefore were not considered Israelite: "A child born of a Jewish father and a gentile mother cannot be given the status of the father since the patrilineal principle is stated only with regard to unions within the clan. [69] The text calls him your son, implying that he is still an Israelite because he was born from a Jewish mother. [3] This law was first codified in writing in the Mishna (c. 2nd century CE). [91] In effect then, 12th century Egyptian Karaites required that both parents be Jewish, but they referred to this requirement as patrilineal descent. [20], The Jewish People see themselves as descending from the three founding families of Israel. [87] Moses Maimonides became one of the leaders of the Jewish community in Egypt shortly after his arrival there in 1165 CE. having Judaism passed down through the mother) comes from the Roman period when women were raped by Roman soldiers and the babies were then said to be Jewish because they knew for certain who the mother was, but they did not know if … To change this particular law would strike at the heart of the whole halakhic process and would involve a theological as well as an halakhic upheaval. [92] This ruling also means that Maimonides considered the Karaites of the 12th century Egyptian Jewish community to be Jewish on their mother's side as well. Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel and Leah were all family of Abraham. "[1], Instead, Jacobs offers another explanation. For the re-affirmation of matrilineal descent by the Chief Rabbinical Board of the State of Israel see Elberg, Rabbi S., September, 1984, HaPardes Rabbinical Journal, Hebrew, vol.59, Is.1, p. 21. “Mothers of Israel: Why the Rabbis Adopted a Matrilineal Principle.” "Women in Judaism: A Multidisciplinary e-Journal", 2002. Neusner, Law of Women, 5:179–192), but I see no evidence to support this conjecture. [97] Researcher Sergio DellaPergola attributes this in part to a tradition in English-speaking countries for children to adopt the mother's group identity. Note that Reform Judaism in Canada and England adopts a different position, similar to that of Conservative Judaism (though there may be an accelerated conversion process for the children of Jewish fathers). Progressive scholars and writers including Elana Maryles Sztokman and Jessica Fishman view matrilineality as an outdated patriarchal form of control over women's bodies not unlike Islamic subjugation of women's rights. The Genetics of Motherhood When it comes to the genes and traits of children, people tend to think that they are a 50-50 mix of mother and father. Jacob, Isaac's other son, was married to Leah and Rachel,[18] who were Jacob's first cousins. Matrilineality in Judaism or matrilineal descent in Judaism is the tracing of Jewish descent through the maternal line. Jews in the Center: Conservative Synagogues and Their Members. Sorek, Susan. Due to famine in the land, Elimelech went with his family to live in Moab and then died. [44], And Naomi took the child and placed him in her bosom, and she became his nurse. In some circumstances biblical law and society did pay attention to maternal identity-the children of concubines and female slaves some- times rank lower than the children of wives-but it never occurred to anyone to impose any legal or social disabilities on the children of foreign women. As such, they interpret the Hebrew Bible to indicate that Jewishness can only follow patrilineal descent. The priesthood in Israel descends from Aaron, brother of Moses.[27]. The Ratner Center for the Study of Conservative Judaism conducted a survey of 1,617 members of 27 Conservative congregations in the U.S. and Canada in 1995. [74], In his review of Cohen's article, Rabbi Jacobs accepts that the law may have changed in the early Tannaitic period (circa 10-70 CE): "From the historical evidence marshalled by Professor Cohen it would appear that the change from the patrilineal to the matrilineal principle for the offspring of mixed unions of Jew and gentile took place in the early Tannaitic period. Karaite Judaism does not accept the authoritativeness of the Talmud or Jewish Oral Law. The Mishnah (Kiddushin 3:12) and the Talmud (Kiddushin 68b) claim to derive the law of matrilineal descent … Experiences include being singled out and made to feel unwelcome at Jewish events, sites and schools; pressure to disguise their heritage; being bullied or isolated; uncertainty regarding their personal identity; and narrowed access to a Jewish education and a community of faith. Regarding matrilineal descent, he writes, “It is recorded as the law in all the Codes without dissenting voice and has been the universal norm in all Jewish communities. [26] The Torah makes no mention of any offspring from this union. [52] (Two daughters, Tafat bat-Shlomo and Basmat bat-Shlomo, are also mentioned.) 92% Upvoted. In 1986, the Conservative Movement's Rabbinical Assembly reiterated the commitment of the Conservative movement to the law of matrilineal descent. A lineage is a group of individuals who trace descent from a common ancestor; thus, in a matrilineage, individuals are related as kin through the female line of descent. How can the father who steps out of the clan bestow a clan status on the child whom he sires? She is believed by some to have lived about 150,000 years ago in what is now Ethiopia, Kenya or Tanzania. Thus, for the Rabbis there is no switch here from a patrilineal to a matrilineal principle. Reconstructionist Judaism, which values equity and inclusivity, was the first movement to adopt the idea of bilineal descent in 1968. See, The Prophets describe how Solomon's foreign wives not only did not follow the Israelite beliefs of their husband, King Solomon, (I Kings 11:8) but instead they drew King Solomon away from a wholehearted belief in the God of Israel (I Kings 11:1-4), see I Kings Chapter 11, I Kings 14:21, 14:31; II Chronicles 12:13, I Kings 11:43, 14:21-31; II Chronicles 9:31-12:16, Jerusalem Talmud, Yebamot 2:6; Ezra 10:3 Rashi, Also, Grunfeld, Isidor, and Samson Raphael Hirsch. the principle that one’s Jewish identity is determined by one’s … Tags: History , Jewish , Judaism , Lab , Matrilineal Now, the rabbis in the years following the fall of Jerusalem to Rome may have had very good reasons for switching to matrilineal descent. PERMISSIBILITY OF MARRIAGE …Marriages with Rabbanite partners were perfectly legal and commonly practised before the thirteenth century. Furthermore, the movement stated that any rabbi who accepts the principle of patrilineal descent will be … The parties' religious affiliation. 20 comments. Matrilineal Lineage in Judaism: The Powerful or Powerless Jewess? Seven marriage contracts involving Karaite and Rabbanite individuals have so far been discovered in the Cairo Genizah. save hide report. They had two sons, Gershom and Eliezer,[23] both born before the Exodus. The practice of matrilineal descent differs by denomination. As such, they interpret the Hebrew Bible to indicate that Jewishness can only follow patrilineal descent. [56] Many of them had intermarried with non-Jewish women[57] and Ezra 9–10 tells the story of their renunciation of intermarriage and separation from the non-Jewish wives and from their children. Your email address will not be published. A 2013 Pew Research Center survey shows that American children of interfaith marriages are more likely to have been raised Jewish and identify as Jewish than in the past, which some scholars attribute to more welcoming and inclusive attitudes among Jewish organizations. [38] Naomi's two sons then died. The Egyptian Jewish Karaites, however, followed patrilineal descent. Judaism Eternal: Selected Essays from the Writings of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch. [28] The reaction of Samson's parents to his desired marriage to a Philistine woman may indicate the cultural expectations in Israel regarding marriage at this time: And his father and his mother said to him, “Is there no woman among the daughters of your brothers and among all of my people that you should go to take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?”… [29], In the account of the Book of Judges, Samson married this woman and soon killed thirty Philistine men in Ashkelon. This ban was recently lifted by the Karaite Council of Sages. Jewish communities at this time including the Egyptian Jewish Community practiced matrilineal descent. The potential loss is great. This departed from the traditional position requiring formal conversion to Judaism for children without a Jewish mother. [2] Most of the faculty papers were published by the joint JTS/RA committee. 14:3). ‎Why and when did matrilineal descent become the norm within Judaism? These marriage contracts stipulated the mutual tolerance of those practices in which the Karaites and the Rabbanites differed. [6] In 1983, the Central Conference of American Rabbis of Reform Judaism passed a resolution waiving the need for formal conversion for anyone with at least one Jewish parent, provided that either (a) one is raised as a Jew, by Reform standards, or (b) one engages in an appropriate act of public identification, formalizing a practice that had been common in Reform synagogues for at least a generation. [3] Personal conversation with Mimi Feigelson, July 2000 at Lishma program, Camp Ramah in California. Mothers have a strong influence on cultural transmission to little kids. Most interfaith couples do not adopt Judaism. [7] The 1983 resolution of the American Reform movement has had a mixed reception in Reform Jewish communities outside of the United States. Gen. Rabbati, Vayeze, p. 119; Yalkut Shimoni, Vayetze- Remez 125. Required fields are marked *. [19] Rachel and Leah were both Abraham's great-great nieces and his great-great-great nieces. When/why did matrilineal descent start in Judaism? February 22, 2017 By zwalsh 7 Comments. [10], Abraham fathered children with three wives or concubines: Sarah, Hagar, and Keturah. At the inaugural ceremony on July 17, 1810, a parade of rabbis, Christian ministers, and political dignitaries passed under a chiming bell-tower and entered the sanctuary, while an adult choir, accompanied by a pipe organ, sang hymns in German and Hebrew. [36] In the Book of Ruth, Naomi was the wife of Elimelech of Bethlehem, Judah. In fact, Maimonides (1138-1204 CE) re-codified the law of matrilineal descent in his compilation of Jewish Law: This is the general rule: The status of an offspring from a gentile man or from a gentile woman is the same as his mother's; we disregard the father.[88]. [86] A percentage of the Jewish community was Karaite. ", "Karaite Women: Permissibility of Marriage", Louis Jacobs, "There is No Problem of Descent", "The Status of Children of Mixed Marriages", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Matrilineality_in_Judaism&oldid=1004807746, Articles with unsourced statements from December 2017, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Dr. Immanuel Jakobovits, who served as Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of England from 1967 to 1991, offers a possible reason for this law: “…the certainty of maternity must be set against the doubt of paternity, however small this doubt may be. [85] In the 12th century, approximately 25,000 Jews lived in Egypt, mostly in Cairo. The answer is no, of course not. "[1], The child of a Jewish father and a gentile mother is not a gentile because of the application of any matrilineal principle...He is a child without Jewish parentage since the patrilineal principle cannot operate for a union carried out beyond the limits of the clan. The Torah has been interpreted to suggest that a brother and sister from the same mother are more closely related than a brother and sister from just the same father (Genesis 20:12 Rashi). [95][96] Ironically, it's not uncommon for interfaith families and their offspring rejected by matrilineal devotees to simultaneously suffer external discrimination on the basis of being Jews. Cohen summarizes these in his comprehensive 1984 paper “The Matrilineal Principle in Historical Perspective.” Fishman labels matrilineality a fundamental denial of the right of personhood.[98]. The status of the Father is not considered, which is very humbling to the Fathers. Yaron, Y., Joe Pessah, and Abraham Qanai. The Jewish oral tradition adduces the law of matrilineal descent from Deuteronomy, as explained by R. Yohanan in the Talmud: “you shall not intermarry with them: you shall not give your daughter to his son, and you shall not take his daughter for your son. Jakobovits writes: “It was Eve who was called so “because she was the mother of all living” (Gen. 3:20), whereas Adam was not named as “the father of all life”. Let us analyze the source of matrilineal descent in Judaism. According to Jewish tradition, Bilhah and Zilpah, handmaidens of Rachel and Leah and the birth-mothers of four of the tribes, were Rachel and Leah's half-sisters. The woman was joined to the house of Israel by being joined to her Israelite husband; the act of marriage was functionally equivalent to the later idea of conversion. Here, it is implied that God still reckons the child to be Jewish by calling him your son - even though such unions were forbidden. In this case, the child would no longer be considered your son, but rather a gentile. Still, the Conservative Movement affirmed that "sincere Jews by choice" should be warmly welcomed into the community and that "sensitivity should be shown to Jews who have intermarried and their families." 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