Youth Cruelly Cut Off from Jewish Mother and Raised in Arab Village, Reunited With His People

Born anew. Binyamin (previously Kamal) putting on Tefillin (Enlarge)
Born anew. Binyamin (previously Kamal) putting on Tefillin

No family members were present when Kamal, 19, underwent a hatafas dam bris ceremony and received his new Jewish name, Binyamin.

But Yad L'Achim officials, who have been at Binyamin's side for the past two years, were at the ceremony, performed by a mohel from the Bris Yosef Yitzchak organization. They were also there the next day when Binyamin immersed in the mikvah in the presence of Rabbinical Court judges in Haifa, completing his "return to Judaism" process. This is a process that is available to Jews who left their religion and are now returning of their own volition.

Binyamin was born in a hostile Arab village in the north of Israel to a Jewish mother and an Arab father. It is a bitter irony that his mother, who had moved from Moscow to live life as a Jew, ended up converting to Islam and marrying an Arab.

Many years later, his mother divorced his father after enduring terrible abuse, but he managed to manipulate the legal system to gain custody of their son. Binyamin was raised as Kamal, a Muslim Arab in every way.

The suffering he endured, as the son of a hated Jewish mother, caused him to run away from the village at age 15 and to roam the streets of Acre and Haifa. His life quickly became a battle for survival until, in the most unlikely of ways, he was put in touch with Yad L'Achim by a Jew who heard his story and understood that his true desire was to return to the Jewish people.

Yad L'Achim met with Binyamin and began helping him with a number of ways. First, it found him a place to sleep in an educational institution for youths from difficult backgrounds. At the same time, it paired him up with a special mentor who taught him Hebrew and then Judaism. Yad L'Achim even bought him a pair of Tefillin and helped him find work in the evening hours. At the same time, it supplied him with coupons for food, clothes and personal needs.

Only half a year after being taken off the streets, with much Divine assistance and extraordinary will power, Binyamin was able to read from a siddur and a chumash with complete fluency.

Binyamin recently completed the decisive stage of his return to Judaism. The request that Yad L"Achim submitted to the Rabbinical Court for Binyamin's Return to Judaism procedure encountered difficulties because he lacked documents verifying his mother's Judaism, and had no family or acquaintances in Israel who could attest to their Jewishness.

In the end, after many efforts on the part of Yad L'Achim abroad to obtain documentation, the court ordered tissue testing that showed Binyamin was 100 percent Jewish, having descended from Polish Jews.

 "Binyamin is waiting with bated breath for the official document attesting to his return to Judaism and at the same time has begun to keep Shabbos and Kashrus. This time, too, despite a difficult personal story, we were moved to see a Jewish heart being awakened to Hashem and His Torah," an official at Yad L'Achim said. "These success stories only motivate us to continue and treat thousands of others with similar stories who are crying out for help. We won't rest or be quiet until we bring them back home."

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