Sunday, January 20, 2008

No Jew is Ever Lost


"If any of thine are dispersed be in the uttermost parts of heaven, from thence will HaShem thy G-d gather thee, and from thence will He fetch thee." (Deut. 30:4)

In the last post, I wrote about how many Jews have been tragically cut off form their people due to assimilation, intermarriage or conversion. This article from YNet News reminds us that no Jew is ever lost:

Yosef Pero Philip is professor psychiatry at the University of Porto. Arieh Ben Avraham is a renowned film director. Yosef Eduardo Albas is a soccer player in Portugal’s Second Division. All three men have recently converted to Judaism, observe the mitzvoth, and are distinctly proud of their Jewish heritage.

These three men are also representative of a noticeable recent trend among descendants of Spanish and Portuguese Marranos, that is Sephardic Jews forced to adopt the identity of Christians, who are now rediscovering their Jewish faith and reclaiming their ancient heritage en masse.

Rabbi Eliyahu Birnbaum of the “Shavei Israel” Foundation, which oversees the conversion process among these Marrano descendants, said that over the years individual Marranos have converted to Judaism , but now, thanks to the foundation’s efforts, entire communities of Marrano offspring are converting to Judaism and reclaiming their ancient heritage.


This phenomenon is becoming increasingly common. In 2005, tens of families of Incan Jews from the city of Trujillo, Peru, returned to Israel. The Jewish community of Tarapoto, deep in the Amazonian jungle, founded by Jewish refugees from Morrocco in the 1880s, has gotten its first rabbi. An outreach center for descendants of anusim (the proper term for Marrano) was recently opened in Recife, Brazil. Tens of thousands of Ethiopian Jews and Bnei Menashe Indian Jews, descendants of the Ten Lost tribes, have returned to Israel.

"Lost" Jews around the world are taking the plunge and returning to the ways of their ancestors. Clearly, G-d is still with us. This nation is destined for great things. Do you want to sit on the sidelines and watch or be part of this amazing miracle?

8 comments:

Jungle Mom said...

BK,
I would love to read more about these S. A. indians. Especially with the inroads being made by the Islamists among the tribes, I find this encouraging. Could you direct me to some articles concerning this?

Eitan said...

Shimshi: Wow! I feel very encouraged to make my own headway having read this.

Bar Kochba said...

Try shavei.org. Shavei Israel, meaning 'Israel returns' is the organization repsonsible for bringing them back to the Jewish people.

Yehudi01 said...

I am friends with Rabbi Yosef Garcia who is spearheading a program to bring back thousands of crypto-Jews who fled Spain and Portugal and landed in Central and South America. It's a very exciting thing to see these people who knew that they weren't Christians, but didn't know exactly what they were discover their Jewish heritage!

Yehudi01 said...

You can Google him or Avdeh Torah Hayah. He's in Arizona now.

Jungle Mom said...

Thanks!

Miriam said...

Thank you for your insightful article. As a descendant of Anusim, words like yours are always encouraging. I returned to Judaism almost 30 years ago when I was very young, no one was doing it, and sometimes I thought I was crazy, so it makes me happy to see that finally I am not alone as we are returning in great numbers. You can see my website to read my story as well as to see a list of high-quality resources on crypto-Jews/anusim:
http://miriamherrerapoems.
googlepages.com

CapeFlo said...

My heritage is Portugese/German and I don't know where I am from really. But for the past 20 years I have felt drawn to Torah, so maybe.....