Yad L’Achim Addresses Visiting South American Youths on Dangers of Assimilation

January 18, 2023

Many tourists from South America arrive in Israel at this time of the year, which for them is summer vacation back home.

Yad L’Achim is seizing the opportunity to meet with organized youth groups and talk to them about the dangers of assimilation. This year, with corona travel restrictions having been lifted and tourism booming, Yad L’Achim has created programming aimed at South American youths that includes lectures, films and slide presentations.
Tour guides, as well as Jewish communal leaders from Brazil, Argentina and Mexico who organize these trips, call Yad L’Achim in advance to signs their groups up for the program.

Harav Yoav Zeev Robinson, head of Yad L’Achim’s counter-assimilation department, says that one of the central themes included in the program is the danger of intermarriage.

“We’re talking about Jews who come from countries where assimilation is destroying the younger generation,” Harav Robinson said. “This is why it is vitally important to convey the message to these visitors that Jews must marry only among their own people, to ensure that their children will also be Jewish. We explain to them that they are the guardians of a heritage that has been passed down for generations and have a responsibility to ensure the continuity of the Jewish people. This is something that everyone can identify with, even the non-mitzvah-observant.”

The program has been adapted for tourists from all countries. “We make it possible for young people to ask all their questions, and answer to the best of our abilities,” said Mrs. Tamar Carmi, one of Yad LAchim’s lecturers.

“One lecture includes a film that documents the rescue of Jewish women from Arab villages. Some of the girls are overcome with emotion when they see how Jewish women who suffered terribly are brought to freedom and given the opportunity rejoin the Jewish people and reconnect to their roots.”

A senior Yad L’Achim official said: “Alongside the lectures for tourists, we are designing similar programs for Israelis – in educational institutions, in the community, among workers’ committees, and so on. Though intermarriage is more of a problem abroad, even here in Israel it is reaching rates of 10 percent. That’s why it’s crucial that we run such programs for Israeli youths, and give them the tools to cope with the problem.”

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