Jewish Journal


April 29, 2009

Phillip Markoff: father Jewish, mother not



Markoff, right, with his attorney

“Is Phillip Markoff Jewish?” That’s a question a lot of people were asking after the young medical student was arrested on suspicion of being the “Craigslist Killer.” I wrote Monday that the answer was unclear, but that what’s more interesting is our inclination to ask it. A robust discussion followed in the comments section.

Here is what we now know:

Markoff’s father, Richard, is a dentist in Syracuse, N.Y. I just called their offices and confirmed that Dr. Markoff is Jewish.

But Phillip grew up in Sherrill, N.Y., with his mother Susan Haynes, step-father, Gary Carroll. “In his senior yearbook, Markoff lists Carroll and Haynes as his parents,” according to the Utica Observer-Dispatch. “There is no mention of his father.”

Neither Haynes nor Carroll are Jewish, and the family occasionally celebrated Mass at St. Helena Roman Catholic Church. “More often,” the paper reported, “Carroll and Haley would come without the rest of the family.”

So there you have it. Under Jewish law, Phillip Markoff, whose mother was not Jewish and was raised in a Catholic home, would not be considered a Member of the Tribe.

“END OF STORY,” a commenter identified as Gordon wrote. “For shame to whoever wrote this article without doing ANY research. Mr. Brad A Greenberg. For SHAME.”

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