Question: My mother converted Reform. Would I be considered a Jew in Israel?
I am wondering now if I would be accepted as a Jew in Israel? My father was born Jewish. My mother converted to Judaism before I was born, but she was converted by a Reform Rabbi. I never had a Bat Mitzvah and never went to Hebrew school, but we celebrated Jewish holidays and I have always considered myself a Jew.
Answer: You ask whether you would be accepted as a Jew in Israel since your mother converted to Judaism (before you were born) by a Reform rabbi. The answer is yes and no.
The official rabbinic authority in Israel is orthodox, which does not accept Reform conversion. An orthodox rabbi in Israel (or anywhere) would not marry you or your children to a Jew without orthodox conversion.
However, my understanding is that the orthodox rabbinate does not control issues of immigration to Israel. The state of Israel does recognize non-orthodox conversions to Judaism that take place outside the Jewish State. Therefore, if you are interested in making aliyah (which I would strongly support!) your Jewish identity may be recognized. You should confirm this with the Israeli consulate's office in your region. It would be a good idea to have your mother's conversion documents.
You mention that you never celebrated becoming a bat mitzvah and you wonder if this would have any bearing on your Jewish identity. In your case, the lack of a bat mitzvah celebration has no effect on your identity. You are a Jew.
All Jewish children become bar or bat mitzvah when they reach puberty, regardless of whether they mark the occasion with ritual. Being a bar or bat mitzvah means that a child has become responsible for observing the mitzvot. Celebrating becoming bar or bat mitzvah generally is not necessary to "confirm" Jewish identity.
According to Jewish tradition, a person who is converted to Judaism as a child must confirm their acceptance of the obligations of Jewish law as an adult in order to make the conversion "stick." The observance of a bar or bat mitzvah celebration may serve that purpose.
In Reform practice, a child with only one Jewish parent (regardless of that parent's sex) must confirm his or her Jewish identity with "appropriate and timely acts of identification with the Jewish faith and people." While it is preferable that such an "act of identification" would take place earlier, a bar or bar mitzvah celebration could also serve this purpose.
Since neither of these situations apply to you, your lack of a bat mitzvah celebration has no bearing on your Jewish identity.
Rabbi Jeffrey W. Goldwasser