The children accept upon themselves the Heavenly yoke at the Rabbinical Court last week
Yad L'Achim is accompanying a mother and her four children on their moving spiritual odyssey from Islam back to Judaism.
The mother turned to Yad L'Achim a few weeks ago and shared her tragic story of getting involved with an Arab, converting to Islam and bringing four children into the world.
Over the years, she began to regret her conversion and the fact that her children had been registered as Muslims. At one point, she gathered the courage to seriously investigate who could help her. The trail led straight to Yad L'Achim.
Already in that first phone call to the organization's headquarters, the mother was surprised to discover a sympathetic, nonjudgmental voice on the other end of the line. She had despaired of any hope of making amends with her people, and asked, "Is it true that even when I die, I'll be buried in a Muslim cemetery?"
Yad L'Achim assured her that the gates of repentance are never locked. A social worker was sent to meet her and taught her how to perform a few, select mitzvos. After being brought safely to Israel, she underwent an intense process of returning to her people.
The final stage was to turn to the Rabbinate so that she and her children could gain formal recognition as Jews.
By Divine Providence, the ceremony at the Rabbinical Court was scheduled for last Thursday, just two days before Shavuos, when the Jewish people received the Torah. The mother and her four children made their own private acceptance of Torah and mitzvos, connecting to Sinai and their people.
At the climax of the moving ceremony, the head of the Rabbinical Court asked the children to say Shema Yisrael, demonstrating their acceptance of the Heavenly yoke.
The four, two boys with kippahs on their heads and two girls, called out in unison, Shema Yisrael! The pure, heartfelt pledge of allegiance to Am Yisrael brought tears to the eyes of the Rabbinical Court justices and the Yad L'Achim officials who were present.
"I have realized a dream and have been born anew," the mother said at the conclusion of the ceremony. "After years of darkness, I suddenly have light in my heart. Today, I understand that to be a Jew is an honor, and I want with all my heart to be a kosher Jew and fulfill everything that is required of me."
Her message to any Jewish girl who is tempted to convert to Islam: "You would be making the mistake of your life and would suffer terribly. Every day that I lived as a Muslim I suffered; I dreamed of coming back and being a Jew.
"Despite the fact that a Jew always remains a Jew, it [converting out] bothered me to the depths of my soul."