24 May Machon Miriam students win mezuza competition
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.
For the past 500 years, the mezuzot have been mostly missing as Jews across the Spanish-speaking world were either expelled or forced to convert to Catholicism where they became known as Bnei Anousim, living their Jewish life in secret, away from the prying eyes of the Inquisition and its enforcers.
But now the mezuzot are returning and three young students in Israel have received their own mezuzot to adorn their new homes. The mezuzot were “won” in a competition sponsored by Shavei Israel for individuals studying at our Machon Miriam Spanish, Portuguese and Italian-language Conversion and Return Institute, which helps Bnei Anousim and others wishing to join the Jewish people.
The mezuza competition consisted of a quiz about the Jewish lifecycle and major festivals.
Here are the three proud winners:
Rosangela Andrea is from Brazil but lived a long while in Italy. She studies with Shavei Israel’s Rabbi Pinhas Punturello and currently resides on Kibbutz Migdal Oz.
Julia Zar is a lawyer originally from Brazil. She lives today in the city of Modiin and is a student of Rabbi Yechiel Chilevsky.
Patricia Gazit is from Peru and studies with Shavei Israel’s Edith Blaustein. Patricia lives in Ashdod – a far trip to Jerusalem. She never complains during her twice weekly bus rides and always brings coffee as a present for the ulpan students!
Congratulations to all the winners. May they help you build a bayit ne’eman (a faithful home) in Israel!