Thursday, August 16, 2007

Proving one's Jewishness

I've been reading some hellish stories about Russian olim getting married in Israel. One of the big things is proving one's Jewishness.

I understand why this would be an issue, but I started thinking about it. How does one prove it? I suppose for me it is actually pretty easy, since I think my parents still have their original Soviet passports, with the famous "Point #5"(Nationality) line on it. But what about here in the States where religion is not tracked in any official documents? Say your ancestors were not religious, but Jewish nonetheless. How do you PROVE it?


Blogger Miri said...

you generally prove it through a letter from your local Rabbi. The reason it's a problem for Russian olim and not for other olim is that many of the Russian olim a)actually aren't Jewish and b)if they are, they very likely didn't have a Rabbi in Russia, or perhaps not one that the government recognizes; maybe because they weren't religous, maybe because they didn't live in a community that had a shul . But all olim getting married in Israel need to have a proof of Jewishness to get married. For that matter, you need it to make aliyah. It's not just the Russians. (Come to think of it, how did they get into this country without one? I know I needed it to make aliyah...)

August 18, 2007 3:00 PM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...


I mean how do you prove it if you are not religious? You would not have a local Rabbi...

I understand the Russian olim problem. I actually was thinking about here in the States...

August 18, 2007 9:36 PM  
Blogger Miri said...

In my experience, most Jews, even secular American ones, either belong to some congregation or other, or have had experience with a Jewish organization, be it USY or some other youth group, or even just Hebrew school. The ones that have had absolutely no affiliation, yes, will have a harder time. But most of those people probably don't have a whole lot of interest in Israel anyway.

August 20, 2007 10:38 AM  

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