Adoption in Judaism / Giur (Conversion) / Rabbi Yitzchak Breitowitz

Conversion to Judaism: Minors and Fetus, Part 2


Please find the first part of this mini series HERE !

I my last article I started writing about non – Jewish parents and their children converting to Judaism. I also mentioned the option a child has when he is Bar Mitzvah (or a girl is Bat Mitzvah) age: A child who was a minor when his parents converted to Judaism has the right to declare that he doesn’t want to be Jewish any more. At the age of 12 or 13.
The question is: “What happens if the child wasn’t aware of this option ? Or what if a child didn’t know that he was adopted ?”
Remark: Adopted children whose foster parents are Jewish do have the same option as converted minors. This, however, only applies to non – Jewish children who were adopted by a Jewish couple.
If the child was not aware of the option, he has the right to declare whenever he finds out. But only until the end of the day. It is day – based according to Rabbi Moshe Feinstein.
What if the child wants to be Jewish but not frum ?
In this case a conversion can be canceled ! However, canceling a valid conversion to Judaism isn’t that easy because, according to the Talmud, one has to bring a proof that the convert converted with the wrong intentions. For example: If someone converts to Judaism with the intention to keep Mitzvot, his Giur may not be canceled. The right intentions at the moment of the Beit Din (Rabbinical Court) or the actual conversion.
If a convert converts with the intention not to keep Mitzvot and thus is lying to the Beit Din, the conversion can be canceled.
Personally I have heard about a German male convert who converted to Judaism in Israel and, later on, raped a Jewish woman. His conversion was also canceled.
I also heard about another case where a convert moved to a secular Kibbutz and his conversion was canceled as well.
Another case: Lets say a homosexual guy is converting to Judaism and doesn’t tell that he is homosexual. On the contrary, as he intends to carry on with his sexual desires. His conversion could be canceled too, as he had the wrong intentions.
But coming back to our case with a minor (either an adopted child or who converted with his parents):
If the child didn’t declare that he doesn’t want to be Jewish any more and celebrated his Bar Mitzvah; afterwards he continued keeping Mitzvot. A few years after his Bar Mitzvah he decides not to be frum any more – In this case a cancellation doesn’t apply.
Nonetheless, you should always ask a Posek for further details !

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