Tag Archive for Diaspora Jews

REBIRTH: Madagascar community chooses to return to their Jewish heritage


Last month 121 men, women & children underwent Orthodox conversions on the remote Indian Ocean island nation of Madagascar, in an effort to secure their beliefs that they are of Jewish or Israelite descent, and that their founders were seafaring members of the Lost Tribes.



Antananarivo – A nascent Jewish community was officially born in Madagascar last month when 121 men, women and children underwent Orthodox conversions on the remote Indian Ocean island nation better known for lemurs, chameleons, dense rain forests and vanilla.

Madagascar Jews

Madagascar Jews – Photo : US-BASED KULANU NON-PROFIT

The conversions, which took place over a 10-day period, were the climax of a process that arose organically five to six years ago when followers of various messianic Christian sects became disillusioned with their churches and began to study Torah. Continue Reading »

King of Togo visiting Jerusalem asks recognition of his people as a lost Tribe of Israel


King Ayi of Togo says everyone in his West African nation has long known they were Jews, having long kept Jewish biblical customs, such as various kosher dietary laws, circumcision on the 8th day after birth, & observing the Sabbath.

By Israel Today


King Ayi of the West African nation of Togo arrived in Israel on Sunday with an unusual request – he wants the Jewish state to officially recognize his people as a lost tribe of Israel.

King Ayi of the West African nation of Togo meets with Religious Affairs Minister David Azulai

The king, who has become well known among the Orthodox Jewish community, met with Religious Affairs Minister David Azulai, who told the African ruler that Israel’s Chief Rabbinate will have to investigate his claims to being descended from Israel. Continue Reading »

Knesset to facilitate ‘returning’ Sephardic Jews forcibly converted to Christianity


MKs launched a new Knesset lobby to assist the increasing numbers of descendants of Jews around the world who have become interested in exploring their heritage, & reconnecting to their Jewish faith.



A new Knesset lobby intended to push for greater outreach toward the descendants of Spanish and Portuguese Jews forcibly converted to Christianity, known in Hebrew as B’nai Anusim, was launched on Tuesday.

Continue Reading »

Report: Seeking retribution Yemen arrests 2 for aiding Torah smuggled to Israel


Yemeni Orthodox man and airport worker were arrested of aiding in the operation that brought 19 Yemeni Jews, accompanied with their community’s ancient Torah, to Israel.

By Jessica Satin


A Jewish man and an airport worker in Yemen have been arrested under the accusation of aiding in the smuggling of an antique torah from the war-torn country to Israel, the Jewish Chronicle reports.

Yemeni Jew, Sliman Ychya Yakov Dahari (L), arrives alongside other Yemeni Jews to an immigration centre in the Israeli city of Beersheba on March 21, 2016 following a secret rescue operation. – PHOTO: Menahem Kahana (AFP)

Earlier this week 19 Yemini Jews were airlifted to Israel in what officials called a “complex, covert operation” that was carried out with the assistance of the Jewish Agency and the US State Department. Continue Reading »

Dustin Hoffman cries when leaning family were Jewish refugees of Soviet brutality


Dustin Hoffman tears saying, ‘I am a Jew…They all survived for me to be here,’ speaking about his family’s secret: the painful struggle, escaping the gulag of the Soviet Union.

By Ari Soffer


Oscar-winning actor Dustin Hoffman’s father never spoke about his family’s painful past as Jewish refugees from Soviet brutality.

But in a recent episode of PBS’s Finding Your Roots, the 78-year-old star finally uncovered the truth.

Hoffman broke down in tears as show host Henry Louis Gates Jr. showed him medical records belonging to his great-grandmother Libba, who against all odds managed to enter the US despite having lost an arm and part of her eyesight during a harsh, five-year stint in a Russian communist concentration camp, or gulag. Continue Reading »

Five Chinese Jews make Aliyah after millennia in exile 


view videoFive women from Kaifeng, China, who reconnected with their ancient Jewish roots, have their ‘prayers answered’ by returning home, with the help of Jerusalem-based Shavei Israel.

By Arutz Sheva Staff


In the first Aliyah from the ancient Chinese Jewish community of Kaifeng in the last seven years, five women from the community are scheduled to arrive in Israel next Monday, returning to the Jewish homeland after thousands of years of exile.

The women, Gao Yichen (“Weiwei”), Yue Ting, Li Jing, Li Yuan, and Li Chengjin (“Lulu”), have been intensively studying Hebrew and Judaism for the last several years in Kaifeng to reconnect to their Jewish roots, and are now being brought back home by the Jerusalem-based nonprofit Shavei Israel. Continue Reading »

Photo Essay: Ancient Jewish community on Tunisian isle


Having seen little persecution, the Jewish community on the Tunisian island of Djerba traces its roots back to the Babylonian exile of 586 B.C.E., and is one of the few communities not exiled due to the creation of Israel.

By The Associated Press & Israel Hayom Staff


When school lets out, the streets around the ancient synagogue on the Tunisian island of Djerba fill with rambunctious boys wearing kippot and girls in long skirts, shouting to each other in Hebrew, Arabic and French.

A girl walks home after sunset at Hara Kbira, the main Jewish neighborhood on Djerba – Photo: AP

The Jewish community in the resort island traces its roots all the way back to Babylonian exile of 586 B.C.E., Continue Reading »

WATCH LIVE: WOW- NYC comes alive with 51st Celebrate Israel parade

Watch: Netanyahu address parade participants. View Twitter feed as the parade features former Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball stars David Blu & Derrick Sharp, Grammy Award-winning violinist Miri Ben-Ari, Golem, SHI 360, 12 marching bands and 29 floats.


Tens of thousands of people are set to march in solidarity with Israel in the 51st annual Celebrate Israel Parade in New York on Sunday.

A sea of orange, the RAJE float is marching #TogetherOnFifth - Twitter

A sea of orange, the RAJE float is marching #TogetherOnFifth – Twitter


This year’s Parade features Grammy Award-winning violinist Miri Ben-Ari, Golem, SHI 360, Maccabi Tel Aviv Basketball stars Derrick Sharp and David Blu, 29 floats, 12 marching bands and hundreds of thousands of spectators. Continue Reading »

300 El Salvadorian descendants of forced Spanish conversions return to Judaism

Some 300 El Salvadorian descendants of Spanish conversos observing Orthodox Judaism, dream of ‘Aliyah’, of living in Israel.


Hundreds of years after their forefathers fled Spain, some 300 descendants of Spanish conversos live in El Salvador as a thriving community, observing Orthodox Judaism, keeping the laws of the Sabbath, and dreaming of converting and immigrating to Israel as Jews.

Members of the El Salvadorian community pray in the synagogue in San Salvador – Photo: Shavei Israel

The community built a synagogue in the capital, San Salvador, and named it Beit Israel. Though the congregation is scattered across the city, a minyan (quorum) of worshippers gathers there three times each day for prayers, and on Friday, the eve of the Sabbath, they gather in the building that houses the synagogue and sleep in the main lobby so as to avoid desecrating the Sabbath. Continue Reading »

British Survey: Most UK Jews feel they have no future in Europe

UK poll finds a quarter of Britain’s Jews have considered leaving the country in the past 2 years.
• Additionally, 45% of all Brits agree with at least 1 anti-Semitic sentiment.
• Most French Jews are weighing pros & cons of immigration to Israel.

By Reuters & Israel Hayom Staff


A quarter of Jews in Britain have considered leaving the country in the last two years and well over half feel they have no long term future in Europe, according to a survey published on Wednesday.
Continue Reading »

Bennett: Paris victims’ families won’t be burdened with costs of plots & funeral


After Jewish burial association planned to charge Paris Jewry 40,000 shekels per burial plot and 10,000 per funeral for each victim of the kosher market terror attack, Minister Naftali Bennett decided Israel would cover the costs.

By Akiva Novik



Minister of Religious Services Naftali Bennett announced Tuesday night that the Jewish community of Paris will not have to pay for the burial plots and funerals of the Hyper Cacher victims.

Each of the families of the four Paris kosher market victims, laid to rest Tuesday in Jerusalem, was asked to pay 50,000 shekels to the Chevra Kaddisha for the burial plot and funeral, Ynet was told, after refusing to bury their loves ones in multi-storey tombs. Continue Reading »

Israel’s President: “Terror has never kept us down, and we do not want terror to subdue you.”

At the State funeral for the 4 Paris terror victims in Jerusalem, President Rivlin calls on French Jews to choose to make aliyah to Israel, rather than come out of fear for their safety in Europe: ‘We will continue to fight for your right to live as Jews – wherever you may be’.

By Roi Yanovsky


“This is not how we wanted to welcome you to Israel,” President Reuven Rivlin told the families of Yoav Hattab, Yohan Cohen, Francois-Michel Saada and Phillipe Braham – the four victims of the terror attack on a kosher supermarket in Paris. Thousands turned out in force on Tuesday to the state funeral held for the four men at the Givat Shaul Cemetery in Jerusalem. Continue Reading »

Once Again Jimmy Carter Blames Israeli-Palestinian Conflict For Radical Islamic Terror

While a BBC reporter apologized for linking anti-Semitic attacks in France to Palestinian ‘suffering’ at Israeli hands, Jimmy Carter, blames the Charlie Hebdo and the kosher supermarket attacks in France squarely on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

By i24news



Muslim frustration over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the factors that led to the attacks on satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket in Paris last week, former US President Jimmy Carter told Jon Stewart on the Daily Show on Monday.

Former 1-time President, Jimmy Carter – Photo by AP

When Stewart asked Carter what he believed led to the massacre, which claimed the lives of 17 people, the latter replied: “Well, one of the origins for it is the Palestinian problem. Continue Reading »

French Jewish Community Living in Fear

Friday’s antisemitic terrorist attack didn’t rattle the already nervous Jewish community, but it did instill genuine heartache and concern.
• Paris’ major synagogues suspended their Shabbat services for the 1st time since World War II.

By Boaz Bismuth


The last time I saw a Jewish minyan relocate from a synagogue to a private residence for security reasons was in 2010. I was in Rayda, Yemen, where the Jews were still reeling from the assassination of Moshe Nahari, the brother of a prominent rabbi.

I never thought I would find myself at the same exact same setting in Paris, only four years later.

Continue Reading »

French PM Declares, ‘If 100,000 Jews leave, France will no longer be France’


With possibility of 100,000 Jews fleeing France, French PM urges Jews not to leave the country, in an interview with The Atlantic.
• European Union rabbi urges Jerusalem to help fund security for French Jews, as 2nd option, not just urge Aliyah.

By Ynet


“If 100,000 French people of Spanish origin were to leave, I would never say that France is not France anymore. But if 100,000 Jews leave, France will no longer be France. The French Republic will be judged a failure,” French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said Sunday ahead of a memorial rally in honor of those killed in France in recent days. Continue Reading »