Shavei Israel opens the door to all who have decided that Judaism and a return to the Jewish people are central to their fate and their identity. We reach out to “lost” and “hidden” Jews around the world. From Poland to Peru, and Barcelona to Brazil, Shavei Israel aims to help descendants of Jews reconnect with the people and State of Israel.
Shavei Israel was founded ten years ago by Michael Freund. While serving as the Deputy Communications Director under Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 1997, Freund opened an envelope that arrived in the mail one day. The envelope was from a group in northeastern India called the Bnei Menashe. They said they were descendents of the tribe of Menashe one of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, and were pleading to return to the Promised Land. Their letter sent Freund on a mission to learn all he could about the Lost Tribes of Israel. In the process, he discovered that all across the world there are “lost “Jews dreaming of returning to their Jewish roots.
Shavei Israel is comprised of a team of academics, educators and rabbinical figures and has the support of different rabbinical authorities in Israel and the United States of America. Our work is in complete accordance with Jewish Law and under the ongoing supervision of the Chief Rabbinate of the State of Israel.
Shavei Israel is active in over nine different countries and works to reconnect a variety of communities with their Jewish heritage including:
- Bnei Anousim, Spain, Portugal and South America.
- Bnei Menashe, India
- Hidden Jews, Poland
- Subbotniks, Russia
- Kaifeng Jews, China
- Jews from the Amazon and Inca Jews, Peru
- San Nicandro, Italy
In the past ten year Shavei Israel has bought over 1,700 Bnei Menashe, however there are still 7,200 Bnei Menashe waiting to make their way to Israel from India. Shavei Israel has helped more than 2,000 Bnei Anousim from Spain and Portugal and over 1,000 Hidden Jews from Poland reconnect with their Jewish heritage.
Shavei Israel continues reaching out to “lost Jews” and assisting them in coming to terms with their heritage and identity in a spirit of tolerance and understanding.
Shavei Israel does not proselytize nor does it support any form of missionary activity. Shavei Israel responds to personal expressions of desire to return to Judaism. We believe the Jewish People is a family with links that never vanish completely; our endeavor is to strengthen the links wherever they may have been weakened by history, distance or social parameters.