Depoliticize Outreach

Response by Michael Freund to the Article, “Right-wing Initative Targets ‘Lost Jews'”

I was astonished to read a May 28 article quoting Dr. joe Frager as asserting that he has partnered with sylvia and Carl Freyer and myself to establish “a yeshiva in India to facilitate the full conversion of would-be immigrants in order to bring them to Gaza” (“Right-wing Initative Targets ‘Lost Jews'”). this is sheer and utter nonsense.

Amishav, the organization that I direct, is dedicated to reaching out to descendants of Jews around the world who wish to return to the Jewish people. We work with the Marranos of Spain and Portugal, as well as the Bnei Menashe of India of India, who claim descent from a lost tribe of Israel. Our mission is is entirely educational and spiritual in nature, and

In the past decade, we have brought more than 800 Bnei Menashe immigrants to Israel. This was done under both Labor and Likud governments, and with prior coordination with Israel’s Chief Rabbinate and the Interior Ministry.

Nearly two years ago, Amishav opened a Hebrew Center in India, where more than 350 Bnei Menashe men and women daily study Hebrew, Jewish tradition and culture. Neither Frager nor the Freyers have or had any connection with its establishment or operation, nor have they “partnered” with us in this undertaking, which is entirely Amishav’s own initiative.

Indeed, I condemn any attempt, either by Frager or anyone else, to politicize the issue of outreach to “lost Jews.” the Jewish people have a moral, religious and historical responsibility to embrace our lost brethren and facilitate their return. This is a matter that is and should remain free of a partisan political agenda.

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