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Author:  Michelle
E-mail:  not available
Date:  7/23/2004 11:47:00 AM
Subject:  tinok shenishba
Message:  Author:      mwolff
Dear Rabbi Abadi,

There are definitely tinok shenishba around! I went to my mother to tell her I wanted to convert to be a Jew because I always "felt Jewish" and didn't fit anywhere else.

This is when she said to me, "That's OK, you aren't the first person in my family to feel that way. My mother's mother was a Jew." My mother didn't know that made her a Jew, let alone me!! Her family had lost their traditions and their knowledge. All they had was a memory that my great grandmother was Jewish.

I was 35, divorced from a gentile man (I didn't know I was a Jew, remember?), and I had three kids. I immediately worked to study and know as much as I could as quickly as I could (thank G-d for the internet!). My children worked very hard as well. We were living in a place away from all other Jews at the time, but we invited any unafiliated Jews to our home for Shabbat dinners and festivals and we read constantly. We drove 200 miles each way for Kosher meat, toiveled our dishes in a stream (I had to study maps to find out which one came from a lake), built our own Sukkah, etc. It was difficult to deal with people (including close family) who had known me one way, and were now finding me to be a completely different person, as I grew Jewishly. I was harassed at work, my ex-husband was horrible to the children because they wouldn't eat treif, and my mother was confused and worried about us--but that wasn't the hardest part.

The hardest part was other Jews who would never accept us, called us "converts" in a disparaging way, or worse, they accused us of not even being Jewish. Many treated us like outcasts when we came to into a community for Yom Tovim.

But there were two people who did believe in us and worked very hard to help us: my Partner in Torah and a rabbi I knew only over the phone.

We are now happily settled now in a large community where my sons will begin religious school for the first time this year and I can drive to the supermarket for meat. I was finally accepted by one great rabbi, and then married a wonderful Jewish man.

When anyone in my new community tells me it is "too hard" to be observant, I smile to myself. They don't even know the half of how hard it can be.


E-mail:      not available
Date:      7/7/2004 4:51:52 PM
Subject:      tinok shenishba
Message:      there was an answer posted 7/1 under shabbos goy that:     'to the best of my knowledge, today, there is no Tinok Shenishbah'.
It does seem stretching it a bit how tinuk shenishba is used as an excuse for almost anything, but I'd like to know where some m'koros are that it does not apply today at all

Reply:      Tinuk Shenishbah must not know that he is Jewish or not know that there are a batch of laws he is required to follow.

Anyone with access to a TV knows that Jews have a set of laws. Thus if he knows he is Jewish, he is not a "Tinok Shenishbah." (a child in captivity)
Reply:  Welcome back!
You are the perfect case of Tinok Shenishba.
"When anyone in my new community tells me it is "too hard" to be observant, I smile to myself. They don't even know the half of how hard it can be." AND you are able to smile - good for you!
Hashem should bless you and you family with much success and nachas.

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