The table is set for T.'s Seder
For T., a Jewish woman who was rescued by Yad L'Achim from the crime-ridden Arab neighborhood of Juarish, in Ramle, this Pesach was a celebration of her exodus from spiritual slavery.
After many years of being cut off from her relatives, she hosted her parents and extended family, in addition to her four children, at a Seder in her own kosher-for-Pesach apartment, complete with kitchen counters covered in aluminum foil.
In a letter to Yad L'Achim, which has continued its close relationship with her even after the rescue, she shared her feelings and a picture of the Seder table.
"Yad L'Achim," the letter began, "this is the Seder table at which I hosted my extended family. This is my first personal festival of freedom in my new home, and it is dedicated and belongs to you. Thank you to all the staffers and volunteers who work with such devotion. Thank you to all those who have accompanied us through the long journey and who have remained with us. Thank you very much!"
T.'s dramatic story was featured a few weeks ago in a session of the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women, chaired by MK Tzipi Hotovely, which focused on the phenomenon of Jewish women trapped in Arab villages.
The story of her ordeal at the hands of an Arab clan in Juarish deeply moved the MKs. Her children, she said, were the victims of curses and she herself was subjected to humiliations that were difficult to describe.
It was difficult for T. to open up such a painful chapter of her life, but she made the effort in order to help bring an end to the phenomenon of assimilation, which has reached epic proportions.
She recalled one Erev Shabbos, when she asked to light Shabbos candles in the small room that she h ad at her disposal. One of the daughters of the clan opened the door suddenly, and when she saw the candles quickly extinguished them, screaming: "Where do you think you are?"
The kitchen is ready
At that moment, T. understood that she had to leave as soon as possible. She contacted Jewish relatives, who brought Yad L'Achim into the picture, leading to her rescue and that of her four children.
Yad L'Achim remained part of T.'s life even after the rescue, providing financial support and the assistance of social workers. T he moving letter of thanks describing her Pesach Seder brought tears to the eyes of Yad L'Achim staffers.
"These pictures make even more real the obligation we have to save every Jew who is trapped in Arab villages and calls out for pidyon shvuyim," said Yad L'Achim chairman Rabbi Sholom Dov Lipshitz. "Every such rescue guarantees the future of an entire family and all of the generations that follow."