About Us

SHAVEI ISRAEL REACHES OUT

to “lost” and “hidden” Jews around the world. From Poland to Peru, and Barcelona to Brazil, Shavei Israel aims to help descendants of Jews reconnect with the people and State of Israel. We open the door to all who have decided that Judaism and a return to the Jewish people are central to their fate and their identity.

S havei Israel was founded in 2002 by Michael Freund. While serving as the Deputy Communications Director under Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 1997, Freund opened an envelope that arrived in the mail one day. That simple action was to profoundly change his life as well as that of many others.

The letter was from a group in northeastern India called the Bnei Menashe. They said they were descendants of the tribe of Menashe, one of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, and were pleading to return to the Promised Land. Their letter sent Freund on a mission to learn all he could about the Lost Tribes of Israel. In the process, he discovered that all across the world there are “lost Jews” dreaming of returning to their Jewish roots.

There is so much work to be done. Please become our partner in this extraordinary mission.

Shavei Israel is comprised

of a team of academics, educators, and rabbinical figures and has the support of different rabbinical authorities in Israel and the United States of America. Our work is in complete accordance with Jewish Law and under the ongoing supervision of the Chief Rabbinate of the State of Israel.

COMMUNITIES

Shavei Israel has success stories from around the globe. Active in over nine countries, we reconnect a variety of communities with their Jewish heritage.

SPAIN, PORTUGAL, AND LATIN AMERICA

Bnei Anousim (or Marranos) whose ancestors were compelled to convert during the Spanish Inquisition 500 years ago

INDIA

Descendants of one of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel such as the Bnei Menashe

POLAND

Hidden Jews from the Holocaust era

RUSSIA

Subbotnik Jews whose forefathers embraced Judaism two centuries ago

CHINA

The Chinese Jews of Kaifeng

BRAZIL

Jews of the Amazon

PERU

The Inca Jews of Trujillo

ITALY

The Jews of San Nicandro and the Bnei Anousim of Sicily and southern Italy

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Since its inception, Shavei Israel…

…has helped more than 2,000 Bnei Anousim from Spain and Portugal and over 1,000 Hidden Jews from Poland reconnect with their Jewish heritage.

…has brought over 3,000 Bnei Menashe to Israel. There are still another 7,000 waiting to make their way from India.

…continues to reach out to lost Jews and assist them in coming to terms with their heritage and identity in a spirit of tolerance and understanding.

…has maintained a position of not proselytizing nor does it support any form of missionary activity. Shavei Israel responds to personal expressions of desire to return to Judaism.

We believe the Jewish people is a family with links that never vanish completely. Our endeavor is to strengthen the links wherever they may have been weakened by history, distance, or social parameters.

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Learn more about Shavei Israel and participate in our online communities.