18 August 2016

In Honor of Tu B’Av: "Now I Can Get Married"


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 was already Jewish.

“I always knew in my heart that I was Jewish but I didn’t have any proof, so I never told anyone,” Abigail says. But just before she was set to depart for the conversion, she shared her story.

When she was a child, Abigail’s grandmother had told her that she was Jewish. But Abigail’s parents were staunch Communists and wanted nothing to do with religion. Abigail grew up completely secular. “Whenever the subject came up, my parents would do their best to suppress their identity,” she says.

But after Abigail had studied Torah and Jewish Law for two years with Rabbi Salas, she understood that if her grandmother was Jewish, she was too.

Abigail’s family had emigrated from Argentina to Portugal. Abigail contacted the chief rabbi’s office in Buenos Aires, which was able to locate Abigail’s grandmother’s grave in one of the city’s Jewish cemeteries.
She had the proof she needed
Abigail had already booked her ticket to Israel where the conversion was due to take place, so she came anyway – as a celebration of her old/new status as a member of the Jewish people. The rabbinical court even gave her the opportunity to speak; to tell her moving story, and to receive their blessing.

Abigail is just one of several students of Rabbi Salas in Portugal who have chosen to convert to Judaism in recent years. Abigail lives in Belmonte, where Rabbi Salas is based.

When we asked Abigail how her life will be different, she was quick to answer. “Now I can get married!” Abigail was already attending services and celebrating the Jewish holidays; now her community in Portugal will be looking out for a suitable Jewish match.

Source:  Shavei Yisrael

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Maybe someone knows of a nice fellow for her? If so, contact the Shavei Office at

Am Veolamo 3
Jerusalem 9546303
Telephone: +972-2-625-6230
Email: office@shavei.org

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The ones in Spain and in Portugal who want to become Jewish are most likely, of course, anusim (those of Jewish descent who had to hide their Jewishness). Many, of course, have through the generations married non-Jews and thus are total goyim. If those who desire to convert on their own, they have Jewish neshamas and should convert k'fi Halacha, of course. To seek them out is wrong. Luckily, the above Avigayil is truly Jewish and maybe there are others like her in Spain & Portugal.