99.8% Ashkenazi Jewish

Question

Dear Rabbi,
I was born and raised in Cincinnati, the daughter of Polish immigrants, as a devout Catholic. I married an Italian-American man and we had three girls we likewise raised Catholic. It never once crossed my mind that my ancestors could be anything else.

I recently took a DNA test that gave me shocking results. It says I am 99.8% Ashkenazi Jewish.

I wonder what to make out of this. I have not known any Jews since my childhood. My parents are long gone. I am a 78-year-old widow. My only living sibling has Alzheimer’s and can no longer communicate. I have no living relatives I know personally from Poland who I can ask. The only family I have around are my children, their husbands, and my seven grandchildren.

I thought maybe I could ask a rabbi what to do and this is what came up from a Google search about asking a rabbi.

Sincerely,

Ann Murio

3 weeks

Answers

  1. Very interesting, but being Jewish does not depend on DNA. The only way a person is Jewish is if the person’s mother is Jewish or if the person converts to Judaism under the supervision and guidance of an Orthodox religious court (called a Beit Din).

    If you have even a small doubt that your mother was Jewish (because her mother was Jewish), I strongly suggest consulting with a local Orthodox Rabbi to discuss your exact status – if you are interested.

    I hope this is helpful and wish you much happiness and success.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team