an individual who is a member of the Jewish People. The “Mission Statement” of that People is to be a “Kingdom of Priests and a Holy Nation.”
The Question of “Who is a Jew?” has arisen with particular urgency today, especially in the modern State of Israel. This is because of intense pressure from the Movements of Reform and Conservative Jewry, who feel that they have been excluded or, more precisely, that Conversions performed by their Rabbis have not been recognized by Israeli authorities. Another major factor is the immigration of hundreds of thousands of individuals from the former Soviet Union, many of whom claim that they are Jews and who were in fact persecuted in their homeland because of that identification, but who may not, according to the Halachic definition (a definition according to Jewish Law) given below, be Jewish.
According to strict Halachah, the answer to the question is clear. A Jew is someone who either … is a child of a Jewish mother
or is a Convert to Judaism who, after a period of serious and verified study of the Principles of the Faith and the Laws of Judaism, has done the following:
Accepted upon Himself or Herself the “Yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven and the Yoke of G-d’s Commandments”
Immersed Him or Herself in a Ritual Pool of Water known as a “Mikveh,” symbolizing Rebirth
If a male, has undergone the Process of “Brit Milah,” Circumcision.
Thus, by birth or conversion, this individual has joined a family unique in the History of the World. Though very small in numbers, the family of the Jewish People is commanded to be a role model to the world, teaching that Man is a Servant, not to man but to G-d, in the sense that each individual must live their life according to the Commands of the Creator.
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