Photo Credit: Mark Neyman/GPO
Former President Reuven Rivlin attended a Jewish Pride event with children who transitioned from their secular to religious bodies, October 13, 2016.

This satirical article (מחקר פורץ דרך: ילדים נולדו עם נפש יהודית בגוף חילוני) appeared in 14 Now magazine on August 3. I just had to translate key parts because they’re fun. Don’t do this at home. It was written by Gali Bat Horin, the pseudonym of Dalit Laub-Sutter.

Until recently, children born to secular parents were determined from birth to have a secular identity, but new research shows that sometimes the Jewish identity in a person’s soul is different from the one determined from birth according to the identity of an atheist or non-Jewish mother.


The research concludes that in a case where a person is born in a secular body with a soul that does not fit his body, he should be encouraged to live as a member of the religious group that matches his identity or go through a process of adjustment to his Jewish identity, because these children suffer twice: not only were they born to non-religious or non-Jewish families who cannot understand them or satisfy their most basic Jewish needs, they are also persecuted due to the widespread hatred toward Judaism.

The purpose of this document is to ensure that every child born with Jewish identity in Israel and throughout the world will have the freedom to live his life according to his own path.

Gali Bat Horin cites an experiment that was conducted over thousands of years in Jewish communities, which discovered that more than 99.8% of all the children who were identified as Jews managed to form a full Jewish identity already in childhood and were able to establish Jewish families in adulthood and maintain a happy life. However, almost no children were found who were willing to identify as having a Jewish identity if they were born in a secular body.

The reason for this may be that these children undergo oppression and forced conversions, and are sometimes removed from their homes. In Muslim families, for example, a child who comes out of the Jewish book closet to identify himself as a Jew risks his life. Even in Israeli society, these children are persecuted due to ignorance, irrational fears, hatred of the other, an excessive tendency of parents to hope that their children will be like them, erroneous perceptions of cultural superiority, and above all, antisemitism and self-antisemitism. These children suffer alienation from the secular family that refuses to recognize the child’s needs and does not recognize his true identity.

Bat Horin suggests the data show that 5% of all Israeli residents who were born with a Jewish identity in a secular body have completed the Teshuva reassignment procedure. Of course, this figure does not include those who were thrown out of their homes at a young age and turned to crime, were murdered, or committed suicide. She cites studies showing that a significant portion of all those who are incarcerated would not have reached this unhappy outcome had they received religious Jewish education to meet their needs.

“This is a familiar and sad phenomenon,” testifies Rav Bariach, the chaplain of the Israel Prison System. “Many prisoners dare to wear a black yarmulke for the first time in their lives only when they are already facing a judge.” According to him, most of the prisoners started as children who lacked religious education.

This woman who protested the fact that Jews wore Tefillin in public must be taught to overcome her Judiphobia. / Tomer Neuberg/Flash90

Bat Horin advocates systemic, social, educational, therapeutic, and legal preparation to increase tolerance toward religious children born in a secular body.

“The educational institutions must offer every child a tolerant and accepting treatment of his identity and an affirmation of it in the educational frameworks, even if the parents deny his identity at home,” she writes. “A child should be allowed to wear a kippah, wear a tzitzit, grow sidelocks, build towers on her head in case of females, wear handkerchiefs, and so on, according to the types of Jewish identity that corresponds to his or her identity according to his or her understanding.”

She also recommends that “stands should be set up in every educational institution for putting on tefillin, to serve the needs of students with a Jewish identity.”

She also calls for annual Jewish Pride parades in every city to celebrate the self-discovery of transitioning Jewish youths; enact laws requiring dressing up on Purim, eating three donuts on each of the days of Hanukkah; and prayer sessions in the public space so that the children imprisoned in a secular body will be exposed to their true identity.

At the preschool age, the “Education for Healthy Judaism” program will offer an emotional experiential activity to encourage toddlers to signal their Jewish identity before they have acquired language skills.

Finally, Gali Bat Horin demands an all-out campaign to prevent Judophobia.

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