Adoption and Jewish Families: A Proposal

By Michael Fessler

Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association (RRA), Fall 2001

The author argues that adoption has unique qualities that deserve attention in a Jewish context. In Jewish law (halakhah), an adopted child's status follows that of his or her biological parents- not that of the adoptive parent(s)- which has profound implications for the status of a non-Jewish child adopted into a Jewish household. Adoption is not transformative of lineage as it is in the Western legal system. The author argues that the creation of a Jewish adoption ceremony would give Jewish ritual affirmation to an important life transition, reject the paradigm that adopted children are not lineally connected to their adoptive families, and affirm that Western culture's model of adoption has something to teach the Jewish community.

Topic: Ritual, Jewish Identification, Conversion, Reconstructionist Judaism, Adoption

Name of Publication: The Reconstructionist

Editor: Hirsh, Richard

Volume/Issue: Vol.66/No.1

Page Number(s): 52-59

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Genre: Scholarly Journal

Coverage: United States

Language: English

Copyright Holder: Publisher

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Fessler, Michael. Adoption and Jewish Families: A Proposal. The Reconstructionist. Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association (RRA). Fall 2001: 52-59.


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