13 Feb Yosef & Bruria: A Journey of Return
Shavei Israel is happy to introduce you to Yosef Mendez and Bruria Brito, from Venezuela, students of our Machon Miriam, Spanish language conversion institute. Bruria and Yosef, married for almost eight years, are about to get married again – this time according to full Jewish tradition as they will have completed their journey to Judaism. This is their story:
“I’m Luis Mendez (Yosef) and my wife Francys (Bruria) Brito. We’re Venezuelans, and we started studying Judaism in Venezuela in a community of Sephardic people. We had met people there who were candidates for conversion, along with Jewish people.
“We started studying halacha (Jewish law) and the Torah portion of the week until eventually we decided we also wanted to be part of the Jewish people by choice. However, it was not and has not been so simple. Choosing this path is not an overnight decision or even one that takes a year. There were years of study and preparation as we looked for the opportunity to complete the conversion.
“Despite the obstacles we have been through for more than 6 years, it has helped to be sure of what we want as a couple. That the Torah, that Judaism, the mitzvot (commandments) and Israel are part of our life day to day.
“We decided to go to Argentina to find a more solid community since Venezuela was going through a process that hindered Jewish life there. In Argentina we could be in a community and be recognized while observing, studying and preparing to complete the conversion process.
“Now we have been in Israel for one year. In Argentina we had contacted Shavei Israel to help with completing the conversion process. Now we are infinitely grateful to Shavei Israel which has been with us every step of the way. In the study process, from the first interviews, before the Beit Din (conversion court), and when we finally reached the Beit Din. The whole time we have felt safe and very grateful to Shavei Israel for all the support they have given us. To name each one of the things for which we are grateful would be impossible to list.
“There is just a small amount left to complete; just a brit milah, and the most anticipated day of our lives: the day we will immerse in a mikva and emerge as full-fledged Jewish people, and then, G-d willing, marry in a Jewish ceremony.”