(BREAKING ISRAEL NEWS) — A groundbreaking ruling by Eretz Hemdah, a respected Torah law institute, has paved the way to using genetic testing to establish Jewish identity. Though this is just the first step in a long process, it already affects tens of millions of people around the world who are discovering their ancestral roots in the Jewish people, while helping many others in their journey towards conversion.
In a groundbreaking Responsa B’mareh Habazak Volume 9 ruling by the Eretz Hemdah Institute for Advanced Jewish Studies in Jerusalem, a collection of dayanim (Rabbinic judges) ruled that it is possible to determine one’s Jewish status based on genetic testing of the mitochondrial genome. If the Chief Rabbinate of Israel embraces the ruling, some 40% of olim (immigrants to Israel) from the former Soviet Union may be absolved of the need to convert in order to receive state recognition as Jews.
According to Eretz Hemdah, the ruling is intended to “give expression to the unique situation that Jewish communities around the world are presently undergoing.” The ruling could consequently provide Jewish recognition for hundreds of thousands of olim from the USSR who are unable to prove their Jewish ancestry and are therefore barred from Israeli recognition in issues of marriage, burial, and other undertakings that require one to be Jewish.
Advertisement - story continues below