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In Orthodox Judaism the child of a non-Jewish mother can be considered Jewish only by a process of conversion to Judaism.The Orthodox and Conservative branches of Judaism maintain that the halakhic rules (i.e. Reform and Liberal Judaism do not accept the halakhic rules as binding, and most branches accept a child of one Jewish parent, whether father or mother, as Jewish if the parents raise the child as a Jew and foster a Jewish identity in the child, noting that "in the Bible the line always followed the father, including the cases of Joseph and Moses, who married into non-Israelite priestly families." (However, according to the oral tradition of Orthodox Judaism, the spouses of both Joseph and Moses converted to Judaism prior to marrying them.) The Reform movement's standard states that "for those beyond childhood claiming Jewish identity, other public acts or declarations may be added or substituted after consultation with their rabbi".The definition of who is a Jew varies according to whether it is being considered by Jews on the basis of religious law and tradition or self-identification, or by non-Jews for other reasons, sometimes for prejudicial purposes.Because Jewish identity can include characteristics of an ethnicity, According to the simplest definition used by most Jews for self-identification, a person is a Jew by birth, or becomes one through religious conversion. Cohen, in the Bible, the status of the offspring of mixed marriages was determined patrilineally.If both parents are Jewish, their child will also be considered Jewish, and the child takes the status of the father (e.g., as a kohen).
According to halakha, to determine a person's Jewish status (Hebrew: yuhasin) one needs to consider the status of both parents.They argue that only patrilineal descent can transmit Jewish identity on the grounds that all descent in the Torah went according to the male line, basing this idea "on the fact that, in the Bible, tribes are given male names and that biblical characters are always referenced by their fathers' names.For the person to be accepted as Jewish by an Orthodox or Conservative community (for example, on an occasion of their bar/bat mitzvah or marriage), they require a formal conversion (in accordance with halakhic standards).For those beyond childhood claiming Jewish identity, other public acts or declarations may be added or substituted after consultation with their rabbi." Waiving the need for formal conversion for anyone with at least one Jewish parent who has made affirmative acts of Jewish identity was a departure from the traditional position requiring formal conversion to Judaism for children without a Jewish mother.The CCAR's 1983 resolution has had a mixed reception in Reform Jewish communities outside the United States.
According to halakha, a Jew by birth must be born to a Jewish mother.