Am I jewish or what?

Ive been living my past 28 years of life as what I thought was a judaic existance. Well I was talking with my half brother (same mother) a few days ago about christmas. I asked him why he was even going to bother since we’re jewish anyway. He claims to not be jewish. Heres the question. My dad’s side is all jewish. My moms parents and family is jewish as well, heres?

your mom is jewish which makes you and your half brother jews. what is apparent here is that your half brother is denying an important part of his heritage probably because he is anti semitic or afraid of nazis or his mother (and yours) has not informed him of his status because maybe his dad (not yours) has an underlying hatred of jews or is a nazi or is afraid of nazis or lives in a nice gated community that not that long ago did not allow jews or they want to take a nice vacation to saudi arabia…

If your mother was born Jewish, you are Jewish under Jewish law. Whether you consider yourself Jewish is another question, but to other Jews, you are Jewish regardless of what religion you practice.

Judaism is both a religion and an ethnicity. If you were born to a non-Jewish mother (fathers don’t enter into it, unless you are talking about the Reform branch of Judaism, IIRC) then you are not Jewish, regardless of what religion you practice. Most Jews will consider you a gentile until you formally convert. From then on you and your children (if you are female) will be Jewish.

Many people who were born of Jewish mothers don’t consider themselves Jewish. But to observent Jews, they are, regardless of what religion they follow. They are considered unobservent Jews, but Jews none the less. To Jews, it’s not something you can just wish away.

I realize all this but my mom is adopted, we dont know what her real mom is. Her adopted mom is jewish. So does this make her jewish by law?

Sorry, don’t know that. My guess is no, your mom would have to be formally converted in order for you to be born Jewish. This was covered in a recent thread about Judaism, do a search for “Jewish” and “adoption” and hopefully something will show up. If the birth mother was Jewish, then I assume your mom would be Jewish as well.

But I’m clearly no expert on this, I await others who know more about these matters.

IANARabbi, but my educated guess would be that an adopted child who has no knowledge of their background in the United States would be presumed to be non-Jewish since the (vast) majority of children born in the U.S. are not Jewish.

As always, contact your local rabbi for a definitive ruling.

Zev Steinhardt