Shavei Israel | Bnei Anousim: Personal Stories

Bnei Anousim: Personal Stories

The Antolinez family grew up in a small Christian town in Colombia. They never imagined they would one day be living as Orthodox Jews in Israel. Here's their story....

As Rosh Hashana approaches, it’s traditional to count one’s blessings. For the Antolinez, Camargo and Maloof families, there’s one blessing that stands out more than any other: the zechut (privilege) of starting a new life in Israel. Meet three proud new immigrant families, along with...

All across Spain and Portugal there are empty indentations on the upper right hand side of door frames upon entering a home. This is where a mezuza was once placed, and it’s a sign that the home once belonged to a Jewish family. A Shavei...

Rachel Souza Lima’s greatest hope is the return of all Bnei Anousim. Rachel (Elizabeth), 39, declares this as she tells the fascinating story of how she returned to the Judaism of her ancestors, and of her remarkable journey from her native Brazil to the land of Israel, where she lives today with her husband and children. A native of Lucélia (St. Paul), Rachel, a widowed mother of four, remembers her very first meeting with her rabbi. That pivotal event was enough for her to recognize that the customs that had been handed down in her family through generations, such as kashrut and family purity, meant that she had Jewish roots.

Abigail (Marina) Erlich was scheduled to stand before the rabbinical conversion court to formally return to Judaism when, at the last moment, she revealed to Rabbi Elisha Salas, Shavei Israel’s emissary to Portugal and her guide through several years of study, that she believed she...

It started in 1982 when Yael and Elisheva Franco’s mother helped open a new high school in El Salvador. She named it “Jerusalem.” The Franco sisters’ mother didn’t know anything about Jewish tradition and the school was “a regular secular school,” Yael Franco explains. Ten...

Eldad Villegas grew up in the city of Bello, Colombia. But when he came to Israel in 1998 for the first time as a tourist, “something that was asleep inside of me awakened,” he says. “It was a deep love for Israel; its music, its...