Our Emissaries

S havei Israel is dedicated to the research of the Lost Tribes of Israel, anousim (Marranos), and other descendants of “lost Jews.” Shavei Israel also endeavors to provide tangible assistance to individuals and communities who sincerely desire to return to the Jewish people. This includes sponsoring spiritual leaders and educators to communities who are in the process of returning to the Jewish fold.

Shavei Israel supports emissaries in communities that show a desire to increase their Jewish awareness. Today, Shavei Israel sponsors rabbis in Spain, Portugal, Brazil, and Poland as well as educators in India. Additional emissaries are needed in these countries and in Latin America.

Shavei Israel emissaries teach Judaism and Hebrew, conduct prayers on Shabbat and holidays, prepare weekly bulletins for the community, establish programs for children and youth and give individual guidance. Shavei Israel emissaries are a contact for members of the community, as well as those on the outside of the community framework, who are interested in investigating their connection to Judaism and the Jewish people.

Rabbi Nissan Ben Avraham

Rabbi Nissan Ben Avraham
Shavei Israel’s Emissary in Spain

Nissan is an itinerant Rabbi among different Bnei Anousim groups that are interested in returning to Judaism in Spain (Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Alicante, Sevilla, and Valencia). He writes articles in Catalan about the weekly parasha for Shavei Israel’s bulletin and is a Sofer Stam. A descendant of the Chuetas from Mallorca, he made aliyah in 5738 (1977). In Israel he returned to Judasim and studied in the Ateret Cohanim and Shilo yeshivas. He received his semicha (Rabbinical ordination) in 5751 (1991). Contact Rabbi Nissan Ben Avraham


Rabbi Elisha Salas

Rabbi Elisha Salas
Shavei Israel’s Emissary in Portugal

Eliash serves as the Chief Rabbi of the city of Belmonte and as a traveling shaliach in the villages of northern Portugal. Rabbi Salas was born in Chile and received smicha (rabbinical ordination) from the Sefardi Beit Midrashi in the Old City of Jerusalem. He has also received certification as a shochet, in education, and as a mashgiach kashrut. Rabbi Salas made aliyah in 1999 and lives in Jerusalem. He has a degree in accounting and management from the University of Santiago De Chile. Contact Rabbi Elisha Salas


Rabbi Avi BaumolRabbi Avi Baumol
Shavei Israel’s Emissary in Krakow, Poland

In Krakow, Poland, Avi serves as a Rabbi for the the local community and assists the “hidden Jews” of the area. Rabbi Avi Baumol was born in New York and received Smicha (rabbinical ordination) from Yeshiva University where he also received a BA in Economics and an MA in Medieval Jewish History from Bernard Revel Graduate School. He was the Rabbi of Congregation Schara Tzedeck in Vancouver, Canada from 1998-2003, building the community there and serving on the Bet Din and in the conversion program. After moving to Israel, he taught in Yeshivot and Seminaries, performed weddings for secular Israelis as part of Itim, continued to work as a rabbi in his congregation in Efrat, and authored a book on Tehillim called The Poetry of Prayer. Contact Rabbi Avi Baumol


Rabbi Yehoshua EllisRabbi Yehoshua Ellis
Shavei Israel’s Emissary in Katowice, Poland

Yehoshua serves as the Chief Rabbi of Katowice and assists the local community of “Hidden Jews.” In the past he has served as a community volunteer in Warsaw. Rabbi Ellis was born in Kansas and studied at various Yeshivot in Jerusalem. He received his rabbinical ordination from the Shehebar Sepharadic Center and he is also a certified schochet (ritual slaughterer). Contact Rabbi Yehoshua Ellis


Rabbi Dawid Szychowski
Shavei Israel’s Emissary in Lodz, Poland

Dawid serves as the rabbi of Lodz and assists the “hidden Jews” of the area. He is also Chief Rabbi of small communities in the area. Born in Poland, he has a BA in philosophy. For a long time, he was a student of Rabbi Boaz Pash, who served as emissary of Shavei Israel in Krakow for seven years. Dawid made aliya and lived in Israel for six years and there received his rabbinical ordination from Rabbi Peretz in Beit Hamidrash HaSefaradí and Rabbi Riskin in  Ohr Torah Stone in Efrat. Contact Rabbi Dawid Szychowski 


Rabbi Shlomo Zelig AvrasinRabbi Shlomo Zelig Avrasin
Shavei Israel’s Emissary in Vysoki, Russia

In Vysoki, Russia, Shlomo serves as the community Rabbi for the Subbotniks Jews. He was born in the Ukraine and received his smicha (rabbinical ordination) from Yeshivat Hamivtar, in Efrat, Gush Etzion. He is also a schochet and finished his academic studies in Education at Michlelet Herzog. Rabbi Avrasin has served as an emissary in different countries, including Russia, Germany, and Poland and has a wealth of experience as an educator in different frameworks. Contact Rabbi Shlomo Zelig Avrasin


Rabbi Pinhas P. PunturelloRabbi Pinhas P. Punturello
Shavei Israel’s Emissary in Italy

Rabbi Pinhas was born in Naples, Italy in 1977 and was chief rabbi of the Naples Jewish Community from 2003 until 2010. He studied in Yeshivat Hamivtar in Efrat, Gush Etzion and received his smicha (rabbinical ordination) from Rav Shlomo Riskin Shlita. He has a Laurea [M.A.s] in Political Sciences from University “L’Orientale” of Naples. His thesis, titled Hannah Arendt: a Jewish Woman between Assimilation and Zionism, was published in 2012. Rabbi Pinhas is a translator, a freelance journalist, and has a great deal of experience as an educator in different fields. Contact Rabbi Pinhas P. Punturello 


Rabbi Shimon M. YehoshuaRabbi Shimon M. Yehoshua
Shavei Israel’s Emissary in Colombia

Shimon serves the Bnei Anousim communities and conversion candidates in Colombia. Rabbi Shimon was born in Argentina and received his rabbinic ordination in Jerusalem at the Beit Hamidrash Hasefaradí. He is a graduate of the Amiel Institute, which prepares Rabbis for the Diaspora. He served as Rabbi of the city of Pattaya in Thailand, and was the general program coordinator for Latin America of Bnei Akiva. He taught at the Yeshiva Torah beTzión and at Midreshet Lindenbaum and worked as a mashgiach kashrut in Argentina. Contact Rabbi Shimon M. Yehoshua 
Rabbi Yitzhak Aboud

Rabbi Yitzhak Aboud
Shavei Israel’s Emissary in El Salvador

Rav Aboud serves as a mobile emissary to Shavei Israel within the community of Anousim and candidates for conversion in El Salvador. He was born in Israel and received Smicha certification from Rabbi Peretz and later Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. Previously, he managed the Ramot branch of the “Ezra” youth movement, and after getting married moved to live in Mexico where he served as one of the Rabbis of Congregation Mount Sinai as well as of the “Arachim” movement. Rav Aboud has written books with commentaries on the Mesilat Yesharim (Path of the Just), and books about the lives of the Tanaaim and Amoraim. He runs a charity organization called “Haim BeHesed” which loans medical devices to patients. Contact Rabbi Yitzhak Aboud


Rabbi Avraham Israel Latapiat
Shavei Israel’s Emissary in Chile

Born in Chile, he has a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Pennsylvania. In the past, he served as professor at the Central University of Venezuela. He is a member of the American Mathematical Society and has published widely in astrophysics, including through the Center for Astrophysics NASA and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. He went from mathematics to the Mishnah, and received his rabbinical ordination at Yeshiva Pirchei Shoshanim in Israel. He established a Kollel called Haor HaKodesh in Caracas, Venezuela, before returning to Chile, where he now lives with his wife. He is an active member of the Kollel Chazon Ish, project director of Ta’am Kosher certification agency and president of CEDIH, an organization whose goal is to bring man to Torah study.  Contact Rabbi Avraham Israel Latapiat