Matrilineality and Patrilineality in Jewish Law and Community, Part 1
In the 1980s, the Reform movement in the United States took up the issue of lineality and descent: specifically, the reevaluation of what had been the traditional matrilineal standard for determining Jewishness in a case of mixed heritage. This was perceived as a crisis in many corners of the Jewish world, as it broke what had been a broadly-held consensus around the definition of what makes a Jew by birth. We now live a full three decades later, with an entire generation having been raised under competing definitions of Jewish identity. It is, therefore, time to revisit some of the discussions of several decades back, with an eye towards an honest reading of the tradition, and strategies for applying it sensitively to our complex reality.