I am a 24 year old woman in the US. My parents have both passed away. My mother was Jewish, but non-religious. I was not raised religious but was always told that I am Jewish by culture/ethnicity. My maternal grandparents are both non-practicing Jews from the former Soviet Union and have told me that there is no family “proof” per se of being Jewish. No documents or artifacts, that is. They couldn’t take anything with them from Russia when they fled in the 80’s.
I got married recently and would like to start a family and become more observant and involved in Judaism, and I would like to raise my children Jewish. My husband, while not Jewish, is supportive of this.
My question is, if I cannot provide proof of Judaism, will I be allowed to join a Reform or possibly Conservative synagogue? Am I better off going through a conversion process, both to have a Jewish education but also to establish “proof” of Judaism? I am willing to convert but slightly troubled that it implies I am not already Jewish, and I do consider myself already Jewish, just not observant.
I would like my children to be fully able to participate in all areas of Jewish life, including joining a synagogue of their choosing as adults and/or making aliyah to Israel eventually if they so choose, but I am concerned that my not being able to “prove” I’m Jewish will hinder them in the future. I am not sure if even just sending them to Hebrew school will be impossible without some kind of document proving my Judaism.
I appreciate any suggestions on how to best proceed.