Status of Baptized Jew

Someone I know went through many stages in her life. At a point she converted to Christianity and was quite active in her Church. Today, however, she has been having doubts and is beginning to consider returning to Judaism. But she feels she has already turned away and is no longer Jewish. She is very upset about this and is not sure what to do. What should I tell her?

The Aish Rabbi Replies:

Your friend will be happy to know that in Jewish law there is no true notion of converting out of the faith. Once a person is born Jewish, that is his lifelong status, whether he is observant or not. This is the heritage we were blessed with – part of the reward our forefathers merited because of their great devotion. Thus, your friend is really Jewish all along. Her past baptism and conversion never changed that.

There was a past custom that such a person would go to the mikvah and reaccept her faith before three. It's not commonly practiced nowadays, but if your friend wants to feel a better sense of closure from her past and a full sense of renewal it is certainly the proper thing to do. But again, your friend is 100% Jewish already, even without this.

(Sources: Talmud Sanhedrin 44a, Rema to Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 268:12.)

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