Question: I was born Jewish to a family that had very limited ties to the Jewish tradition. I married a Christian woman in her church several years ago. The pastor of the church agreed to marry us, but required that I undergo a baptism by water before he could marry us. I agreed.
Now, after a messy divorce, I am returning to my roots. Yet, when I recently told a Rabbi about the baptism, he frowned and told me that I no longer was considered to be a Jew. My jaw dropped and I could not believe my ears. I have never once accepted Jesus as my lord and savior, and only agreed to be baptized to satisfy the pastor’s policy. He never once told me that Baptism equals conversion from Judaism to Christianity!
Can you provide me with the true nature of my status and what I must do in order to become reinstated (if, in fact, I had been duped out of my faith)?
Answer: The rabbi to whom you spoke was mistaken. While there is a custom that one who leaves the faith should go to the mikvah upon returning, other than that you remain today what you always were—my Jewish brother.
Rabbi Yosef Friedman