Posted by Rebecca Cohen
Imagine that you are in your sixties and have been living the life of an observant Jew but are unsure of your religious heritage. A few months ago, I received an email from a woman who was adopted through JF&CS in the 1950s. We often receive inquiries from adult adoptees asking for information regarding their adoption and birth parents but this request was different. This woman was writing to find out if she was Jewish by birth. She said that while she had been adopted by a Jewish couple, she had questioned whether her birth parents were Jewish and had also been questioned by a rabbi.
At JF&CS Adoption Resources we keep all our files, even those dating back to the late 1800s and early 1900s. We were able to retrieve this woman’s adoption record from our archives. I read each document carefully, looking for mention of her birth parents’ religious background. What I found was very moving; her birth parents had converted to Judaism years before her birth and had specifically requested that she be placed with a Jewish family and raised as a Jew.