Can non-Jews or questionable Jews get a letter in a Sefer Torah?



I was asked to submit names for letters in a Sefer Torah that’s being written. Can the following three people be added?

  1. One person is not Jewish.
  2. I am told one person may be an Ethiopian Jew.
  3. One person was born after IVF treatment. The woman who carried and gave birth to the baby is Jewish. The egg donor’s identity is unknown.




The mivtza initiated by the Rebbe for having children and adults writing a letter in a unity Torah was only intended for Jews.

ישראל stands for יש שישים רבוא אותיות לתורה as the Zohar Chadash to Ruth 88:4 mentions.

That being said, if we know with certainty that someone is a non-Jew, he should not be included in the project. One should explain in a pleasant way to them.



Regarding people who their Jewish status is questionable, one should make it clear to them that their Jewishness must be checked by a competent and reputable Beis Din. Perhaps they will need to undergo geirus at least geirus Le’chumra. This should be addressed before misleading them into assuming that they are certainly Jewish by participating in these mivtzaim.



As for a child born from a non-Jewish or unknown (possibly non-Jewish) egg donor, there is a well-known debate among the Poskim if the child is Jewish or not. The consensus on this matter by most Poskim —and this is the view of AsktheRav — that a mandatory proper conversion is required to remove all doubt on the Jewishness of the child.

As a. general rule, AsktheRav does not endorse egg or sperm donations or surogacy (even if all sides are Jewish), as this is opposed to the view of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.



See Sichos Nissan 5741; Likkutei Sichos vol. 20 page 418

Ratz Katzvi (Even Haezer) page 46 and onwards.

See also Asia vol. 61-62 page 47.