Aliya expert: Non-Jewish spouses and kids

'I am married to a non-Jewish woman and we have 2 children. We are raising them Jewish. Does my family qualify for aliyah along with the benefits of an Oleh Chadash?'

aliyaexpert88 (photo credit: )
(photo credit: )
The expert is Maurice Singer, an Independent Consultant and former Senior Aliyah Consultant at the Jewish Agency. While every care and attention is made to give accurate answers, no responsibility can be taken by the writer if the information offered may prove to be misleading. Send us your questions and please leave your comments on the Q&A below.
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  • For Vol LXXXVII to Vol LXXXIX click here * * * LXXXX Q: I know of a young man in America who is not Jewish but wants to live in Israel. Is it true that if he joins the army, he could be able to get residency? If so, how? A: No it's not true. A non-Jewish non-Israeli and non-resident cannot just come and join the IDF. Q: If my family came to Israel our first time via El Al and we did not get our flights paid for, now as citizens, can we be refunded for those tickets? It was 3 years ago. A: No I'm afraid not. The free one-way ticket offered by the Jewish Agency on El Al flights is for the Aliyah flight. They will not refund you after 3 years, believe me, I know!! Q: If a family is making aliyah, but doesn't want to live in an absorption center, are there ideal furnished temporary dwellings available until the family decides which area to live in? A: Yes, you must look to rent an apartment on the private market. Q: As a returning Israeli who is now 64, what are the benefits,that I should be entitled to, if any? A: How long have you been out of Israel? I need to know in order to advise you properly. Q: I am married to a non-Jewish woman and we have 2 children. We are raising the children Jewish. Does my family qualify for aliyah along with the benefits of an Oleh Chadash? A: If you are non-Israeli, but Jewish and making aliyah for the first time, then the answer is yes they do qualify for Oleh status. Q: My father is Jewish, and from a very observant family. My mother converted to Judaism before I was born. I was bar-mitzvahed. a) Am I a Jew? b) Could I become a full citizen of Israel? A: You remind me of the old days when we had Grammaphones: The old joke was "Dear Sir, I have a disc with a hole in the middle, is this a record?" If your mother completed an Orthodox Conversion then you are recognized by all as a Jew. If it was not then the Orthodox Rabbinate won't recognize you as halachically Jewish. But you may still make aliyah and be a full citizen of Israel. Q: My ancestors were Sephardi Jews forced convert to Catholicism in 1500s. Persecuted in Brasil's inquisition (1630s). Judaic marriages and beliefs faded in this period. Can a DNA test make me qualify? A: The short answer is no. The reason is that whereas DNA might prove the Jewish ancestry, aliyah is based on the Law of Return which only goes back to a grandparent. Q: My father is Greek and citizen of Israel. I was born in Jerusalem in 1978 also a citizen of Israel. My wife and 11-yr-old son want to move to Israel. Can they do so? Will they become citizens? A: You should contact the Israeli consulate nearest to you for them to process your application. * * *
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