Tuesday, 7 April 2015
We Jews: Who We Are and What We Should Do,
Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, Jossey Bass, 2005, page 53
In the chapter "Are we a Nation or a Religion", Steinsaltz quotes from the Talmud to prove that there is no way of leaving Judaism:
Just as there is no ritual if initiation, there is no way of leaving Judaism. Someone who removes himself and converts to another religion (even if it is one that denies Judaism completely) is considered, in terms of halakhak at least, a sinner to be despised and hated, and yet he remains a Jew. Tha halakhic ruling maintains that "even if he has sinned - he is still a Jew" (b. Sanhedrin 44a, 46a). Despite all the severe punishments from man and heaven, an apostate cannot be deprived of his Jewishness, neither he nor his natural descendants after him.