Hebrew Name – Non-Jewish Father

A new member in our synagogue has a Jewish mother and non-Jewish father. I know he is legally considered Jewish. My question is how to call him to the Torah where a person is usually called as X the son of (“ben”) Y. Do we refer to him using his non-Jewish father’s name?

The Aish Rabbi Replies:

There are different customs in such a situation. We don’t use the non-Jewish father’s name because legally speaking, a Jewish son is not considered related to his non-Jewish father. (The same would be the case if he converted.) Some instead just refer to him by his name, not mentioning any father, while some call him using his mother’s name, and some say “ben Avraham” – son of Abraham who is the forefather of all the Jewish people.

If such a person is ill and people are praying for him, then the mother’s name is always used instead of the father’s.

For the Ketubah (marriage contract), just the person’s name is used, or it is used with the mother’s name.

(Sources: Shulchan Aruch E.H. 129:9 with Beit Shmuel 19 and Dagel Mai’Revavah, Shulchan Aruch O.C. 139:3, Taz 1, Mishbetzot Zahav 1, Mishna Berurah 19).

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