Jews in Arab and Muslim countries are increasingly seeking to connect to their Judaism, and Yad l’Achim is responding to their needs.
By United with Israel Staff
Thanks to the efforts of the new “Roots” department of Yad l’Achim – an Israeli organization focusing on Jewish outreach, counter-missionary work and fighting assimilation – Jews in Libya, Yemen, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt and Lebanon will have matzahs for Passover as well as other desired religious items.
Though in operation for only a year, Roots, which also offers virtual Torah classes, says it receives a growing number of calls from Jews in Arab countries seeking to connect to Judaism. Once a person’s Judaism is definitively ascertained, the organization will do what it can to strengthen his or her Jewish connection, the Yad L’Achim website explains.
The site describes one particular class participant, eager to come closer to Judaism, who reached out to Yad L’Achim asking for a myriad of Judaica. “We’re speaking of a wealthy man who, for the time being, doesn’t intend to leave his country, which meant that we had to send him these items in order for him to be able to live his life as a kosher Jew.”
Due to demonstrations, turbulence, disturbances and an uncertain future in the country where he lives, which is an enemy state, the man – married to a Jewish woman – asked that as many ritual items as possible be sent to his home sooner rather than later.
“Besides my great desire to fulfill mitzvot [Torah commandments], I want to educate my children in a home that is run in accordance with Torah,” he wrote to the organization in Arabic after receiving notice that the package of requested items would be sent shortly. “Even if it is difficult and requires me to lead a secret life, it is important to me that the children grow up as Jews.”
Concerned that the Judaica items might be confiscated or destroyed, or that the shipment could cause problems for the receiver, Yad l’Achim first sent them to a country in Europe that has diplomatic and economic ties with the Arab country, where a Yad L’Achim activist forwarded the package, including two kilos of matzah, to its destination.
“In light of the constant shifts in that country, we decided to add the matzos already now and not wait for the normal shipment that goes out next month,” a Yad L’Achim official explained.
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