Britain’s former chancellor of the exchequer, George Osborne, discovered that his maternal grandmother was Jewish, which means that he is Jewish too.
According to British media reports Saturday, Osborne’s brother Theo was in the process of converting so that he could marry his Jewish fiancee Justine Fisher.
Part way through the conversion course he looked into his family tree and discovered that his Hungarian grandmother had actually been born Jewish, making both George and Theo Jewish, according to Jewish law, and meaning that Theo had no need to convert, the Daily Telegraph reported.
A rabbinical court, or beit din, examined the records and ruled that the Osbornes were Jewish according to Orthodox rules, and allowed Theo to marry in a Jewish ceremony that was held a week ago.
“The whole family was thrilled to be at my brother Theo and Justine’s wedding on Sunday and to have enjoyed all the tradition and splendor and energy of a great Jewish wedding,” George Osborne told the Telegraph.
A friend of the family told the Telegraph that, “George and Theo were delighted to discover they were Jewish. Their grandmother already had an interesting background, but this makes it just that bit more interesting.”
The brothers knew their grandmother, who died in 2004, as Clarisse Loxton-Peacock, but her birth certificate showed that she was born Clarisse Feher, and her family had belonged to a Budapest synagogue. The Telegraph reported that her birth certificate is believed to indicate that she was born Jewish.
“Theo’s girlfriend is from an Orthodox Jewish family and Theo had been more than willing to convert, but thought it was worth investigating his grandmother,” the family friend told the Telegraph. “Theo did a bit of digging and found out from various sources that she was Jewish — things like synagogue records that survived in Hungary. The Jewish authorities were happy and so he didn’t need to convert.”
Coincidentally, another of the Osborne brothers, Adam, converted to Islam before his wedding in 2009.
George Osborne served as chancellor of the exchequer, the UK’s equivalent of finance minister, from 2010 until 2016. He served as an MP since 2001, stepping down in May, 2017 to become the editor of the London Evening Standard.