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If one of the parents is not Jewish, the rule is that the child takes the status of the mother (Kiddushin 68b, Shulchan Aruch, EH ).
Accordingly, if the mother is Jewish, so is her child, and if she is not Jewish, neither is her child considered Jewish.
This policy is commonly known as patrilineal descent, though "bilineal" would be more accurate.
In 1983, the Reform Central Conference of American Rabbis passed the Resolution on Patrilineal Descent, declaring that "the child of one Jewish parent is under the presumption of Jewish descent.
The definition of who is a Jew varies according to whether it is being considered by Jews on the basis of religious law and tradition or self-identification, or by non-Jews for other reasons, sometimes for prejudicial purposes.
Because Jewish identity can include characteristics of an ethnicity, According to the simplest definition used by most Jews for self-identification, a person is a Jew by birth, or becomes one through religious conversion. Cohen, in the Bible, the status of the offspring of mixed marriages was determined patrilineally.
Orthodox Judaism has a predominant position in Israel.
The CCAR's 1983 resolution has had a mixed reception in Reform Jewish communities outside the United States.
If a male is already circumcised, a drop of blood is drawn from the penis.
Orthodox authorities require that conversions be performed in accord with traditional Jewish law and recognise only those conversions in which a convert accepts and undertakes to observe Jewish law as interpreted by Orthodox rabbis.
They argue that only patrilineal descent can transmit Jewish identity on the grounds that all descent in the Torah went according to the male line, basing this idea "on the fact that, in the Bible, tribes are given male names and that biblical characters are always referenced by their fathers' names.
For the person to be accepted as Jewish by an Orthodox or Conservative community (for example, on an occasion of their bar/bat mitzvah or marriage), they require a formal conversion (in accordance with halakhic standards).
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Karaite Judaism predominantly follows patrilineal descent. Jewish identity is also commonly defined through ethnicity.