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Rosh Chodesh Kislev 5775

23 november 2014

The completed Giyur by a family of six at the Orthodox Beth Din of Bnei Brak.
Their real names have been changed to protect their privacy.

I, Sigalit, aged 18, along with my familiy members, were invited about a month in advance to appear before the Orthodox Beth Din of Bnei Brak, Israel, a week before Rosh Chodesh Kislev 5775 (Sunday). On that day we opened a file and we were introduced to some members of the Beth Din. On the following day (Monday), we arrived at noon for the main session of interrogation by the members of the Beth Din. We were greeted by the senior Dayan, Rav Israel Wiesel, Shlita. We had met with Rav Israel Wiesel, Shlita on our previous visit to Israel in Adar Aleph (Februari 2014). He again received us warmly and kindly, as he had done previously, and did his best to relieve our stressful situation.

Rav Wiesel, Shlita led us to a room where we were greeted by the other Rabbis under the chairmanship of HaRav HaGaon Sariel Rosenberg, Shlita, son-in-law of HaRav HaGaon Nissim Karelitz, Shlita. Seeing all these Rabbis (ten in total) assembled together made us quite apprehensive. The assembled Rabbis had thoroughly studied our file, along with the letters of recomendation, and discussed them in our presence. All the questions were asked by the president of the Beth Din, HaRav HaGaon Sariel Rosenberg, Shlita and were nearly all centred around the topic of Shabbat. Most questions were directed to me and my parents. My sisters aged 4, 6 and 10 years old were asked questions suitable to their age and level of understanding, some on Berachot, Chagim and simple questions about Shabbat. A nice part of the interrogation surrounded our motivation to become Jewish. We had to convince the Beth Din of our sincere and altruistic reasons. After one and a half hours we were finally told that we had been accepted. The feeling was just incredible and words cannot describe what we felt. On Thursday of the same week we were invited for the final act in the Giyur procedure, to immerge in a Mikvah in front of the Beth Din. On the day of the Mikvah, we were greeted by four Rabbis, including Rav Israel Wiesel, Shlita. Yet again all the family members were asked if they were ready for their new life as authentic Jews. After that we were coached and observed by the Balanit (the Mikvah lady). After a thorough inspection by the Balanit to see if we were fit to enter the Mikvah, she led us to the Mikvah.

All five female members of my family, were covered for reasons of Tzniut with non-see through plastic (only allowing the head to be seen). Under the supervision of Rabbis we went through an
exceptionally emotional immersion in the Mikwa. My father who is circumcised, had to undergo a symbolic Brit of punctuation (Hatafat Dam Brit) and later seperately immersed in the Mikvah in front of the Beth Din.

At the end of this process we were told that we are now Jewish. Now we also finally felt that we are Jewish. Today I am a genuinely happy Jewish woman, not only on the outside but also on the
inside. None of this would have been possible without the help and guidance of our amazing Rabbi Ahron Daum Shlita, who has stood at our side from the time we started this journey three years ago till the happy end. I cannot adequately put into words the attention that he has given to us and the knowledge he has passed on to us. In the name of all of my family, I would like to express my thanks to him. We will never be able to repay what he has done for us. Thank you Rav Ahron Daum, you have been praised by the Beth Din for the thorough and excellent preparation for the Giyur you have given us. It was a real challenge for a whole family to pass Giyur according to Halacha.

As I stated at the beginning, we were questioned quite some time about our motivation. Being excited and nervous, I broke down in tears and the Beth Din helped to calm me and waited patiently till I dried the tears that overwhelmed me. It was a long interrogation, but all of it was worth it to hear at the end that we were Jewish. We had completed the acceptence into the Jewish Faith and People according to Halacha.

Straight after the Mikvah, we celebrated our parents' Chuppah at the house of Rav Israel Wiesel, Shlita. With tears of joy we witnessed our dear parents now become married according to Halacha and form a couple in the spirit of the ancient Jewish tradition. A Minyan of elderly boys from the Yeshiva came to the Chuppah and held a spread out Tallit above the heads of our parents. A Ketubah was written describing my father and my mother as children of Avraham Avinu. After the Chuppah there was a celebration with snacks and the Yeshiva boys danced together for hours. This Thursday will remain a happy, memorable and exciting day for us all.

In the name of the whole family Ashkenasy, Sigalit Ashkenasy, Antwerp, Belgium.

Below you can find a photo of the religious marriage, Chuppah, of my parents.

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