Matrilineal Descent

Why do the orthodox base a Jew’s status on the mother and not the father? Shouldn’t the father be at least as important as the mother? Does the father have any effect at all on the status of the child?


I have noticed that you often offer explanations to the Torah from the “Kabbalists” or “Kabbalistic Masters”. Who are these people and how do they differ from the standard rabbinical analyses and explanations? Are they Jewish mystics?


As my mother has gotten older she has expressed a desire to be cremated. I have spoken to her about this and reminded her that she couldn’t be interred in a ‘Jewish’ cemetery (And asked her if 6 million Jews being burned wasn’t enough). She has resisted my arguments. I fear that if she dies, I won’t be able to attend her funeral. I could use some help here.

Conversos (Marranos)

I am from Mexico and my ancestors trace back to the Conversos. (We don’t use the common term “Morranos” because of its negative connotation in Spanish, which means swine). We trace our ancestry all the way back to the Spanish inquisition. Although for many generations my family has attended church and lived in Christian communities, they always have lit candles Friday night (in a secretive way) and some other Jewish customs. I recently have become more involved in traditional Judaism, and it has been suggested to me that I undergo a conversion to Judaism. I find this very offensive, as I am very proud of my family history and roots as a Jew. What is the correct thing to do?

Conversion: Bill of Rights

A convert in Washington drew up a “bill of rights for Jewish converts”. In this piece, she outlines ten issues which face conversion candidates or those in the process, claiming they are afraid of the rabbis, feel victimized, threatened and judged. I personally think she’s right on and have heard similar claims from women in the process. Are you involved in conversion and what is your opinion on what she claims?