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Audio: Jewish, Filipino, Tel-Aviv

Are there any real Jewish Filipino in Israel? Do they all arrive only for financial reasons?
2/16/2011, 8:13 AM

A7 Radio's "Welcome to the Tribe" with Gabriella Licsko
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Are there any real Jewish Filipino in Israel? If so, how many people we talking about? Do all Filipinos arrives to Israel because of financial reasons?

The Megias family were highly educated and well-to-do people. They had everything there and all the reasons to stay at home. But they left everything to come to Israel. Why? To realize their longtime dream of becoming Jewish.

Their interest in Judaism started in the 1980's back in the Philippines. After a decade of learning, they made the decision to move. Were they recieved them with open arms in Israel? Yes, and no. The bureaucracy, well, that we don't have to introduce to you. But most of the private citizens they met immediately realized their sincerity.

To make the long story short, they finally received their citizenship, finished an Orthodox conversion and now have a wonderful Jewish family with three kids. But this is not everything. Their home in Tel-Aviv, and their hearts are open to everybody. They teach and help other Filipinos who have the same desire, sincerity and commitment to embrace Judaism like they did. During the years, a small community has formed around them. In their neigborhood, everybody knows this small group of people. Today Israel is their real home. This is not even a question.

You will meet the Megias and also meet another two special ladies from the community: Avigail, the daughter-in-law of Savta Ruti, the first Filipino convert, and Chaya Yael Almeda, whose husband was deported back to Asia when she was eight months pregnant.

Gabriella Licsko is a lecturer on Jewish history and society focusing on different religious communities. She leads tours of different neighborhoods in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem as well as tours across the country. Gabriella holds a bachelor's degree in Culture Studies and a master's degree in Jewish Studies and made aliyah from Hungary in 2007. She hosts the Welcome to the Tribe podcast every Tuesday from 4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. on Israel National Radio.
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