This was inspired from a previous post on “Who is a Jew?” The question is that, according to Reform Judaism, if a child has a gentile mother and a Jewish father, yet celebrates Christmas, are they Jewish? If no, but they can be Jewish again if they stopped celebrating Christmas, is there a cutoff age?
I asked two Reform rabbis I know. One is the Rabbi Emeritus from my parent’s synagogue, he retired last year. The other is now the rabbi at my parent’s synagogue, who took over after the older rabbi retired. I believe she is in her mid-30s.
Younger rabbi: “According to Reform Judaism, since the father is Jewish, the daughter is Jewish. The only caveat is if the daughter has officially converted to another religion. If they want her to become a bar-mitzvah she just needs to study. Hope this helps.”
Rabbi Emeritus: “No, there is no cutoff age. this child’s status is, essentially that of a non-Jew unless they decide to do something to change it. And they could do so at any point in their life. For example, they could prepare for their Bar/Bat Mitzvah by undergoing classes, learning Hebrew, learning the liturgy and then stand up publicly to carry the Torah and read from it. Or, in later years, they could do pretty much the same by spending time observing holidays, studying, service attendance, etc. I’ve worked with a number of adults like this over the years, and, in the end, did a modified conversion ceremony for them, more like a “coming home” ceremony.”
It’s interesting how two Reform rabbis don’t necessarily agree on who is a Jew. I think we should keep that in mind if people come to this subreddit asking about their status as a Jew according to Reform Judaism.