Date: December 06, 2017 03:56AM
I don't know if this is still true, but during the time I was converting to Judaism, and for several years afterwards, there were at least a handful of "go to" rabbis in Southern California who people (both non-Jews as well as Jews) could be referred to if those people had reason to believe they were once Jews caught up in the Holocaust, or were reporting things which could logically lead to that conclusion.
Some of these were "converts to Judaism" (either already converts, or they would decide to become converts in the future), many were not.
Although some people reporting Holocaust memories and experiences were born Jews, many were not---but they knew things that only Jews in the Holocaust would reasonably know, and sometimes they were haunted by persistent wisps of what appeared to be "memories." If they were asked to describe or explain certain things [historical facts, but not the kind of "history" that anyone writes down or necessarily even talks about], they could---sometimes in great detail (which would later prove to be factual with research, often research in foreign languages such as Polish, the Baltic languages, etc.).
They usually had learned to be careful about who they talked to with these impressions and memories, but (sometimes at the urgings of therapists) if they ever talked to the "right" people, they would be referred to one of the rabbis who, inadvertently and usually unsought by those rabbis, became sort of "specialists" in what appeared to be reborn, former-Jewish-Holocaust victims.
Mostly the rabbis listened, asking questions where clarifications were needed.
I used to know a woman who was referred to such a rabbi, and when she told her story (which she did not understand), the rabbi said that it appeared that (in her former life) she was a child, probably a male child, who was in the process of learning the Hebrew alphabet (this was the pivotal part of her memories) when her village was exterminated. When she was asked to describe what she remembered of the last day or so of her life, she described a gassing van in great detail (though, at the time this happened to this child, the child was unaware of what was going on in that van because the child was so young). She was describing to the rabbi something that she, as that child, never understood, even while it was happening to "her"/him back then. (She was also gesturing with her hands, as she talked, in ways that are characteristic of small children who learn Hebrew in that part of Europe.)
There are a good many Jews who, informally, accept that at least many of the victims of the Holocaust "are" (in modern/contemporary times) living (or have lived) additional lives, and my sense is that rabbis who are involved in converting non-Jews into Jews often come to accept that at least some of those they "convert" were, in their former lives, Jews who are "now" (sometimes with full awareness), returning to the tribe.
The concept of reincarnation in Judaism is called "gilgul" (and it IS a part of normative Judaism, though many Jews do not believe in it). Although the specifics of the gilgul concept (which is mostly known as a part of mystical Judaism) are not identical to non-Jewish understandings of reincarnation, at base, gilgul is recognizably belief and acceptance of the reincarnation concept.
The details of the different takes on reincarnation may vary...the general philosophical/theological concept is the same.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/06/2017 04:04AM by Tevai.