F. was born to Iranian parents who fled to Germany after the Islamic revolution in Iran.
After her parents' divorce and following her mother's Jewish identity, she began to investigate her national origins, recognized her Jewishness, and came to Israel for an annual program.
Today (Wednesday), accompanied by members of the world Bnei Akiva movement, she will walk through the streets of Jerusalem and dance as part of the "flag dance" in the city.
The story of P. intertwines with infinity is a complex of miraculous blends touching the mosaic of her life. Following the Islamic Revolution in Iran in the late 1970s, her mother's family, a secular Jewish family, fled to Germany with the intention of continuing to the United States as their final goal. At the same time, without knowing one another, her father, a secular Muslim, fled alone to Germany, and planned to continue to Australia. During their temporary stay in Germany, the two met at random in the local market.
"My parents met and the click between them was immediate," said F. "For both of them there was no problem with being a Jew and a Muslim, it was irrelevant to them and their secular way of life." The couple married and gave birth to F., their eldest daughter shortly after. Their plans to leave Germany were delayed and they remained there to raise F. and her brother who was born shortly after.
F. grew up and was educated into a liberal family that disregards boundaries of religion and nationality. "More than once we went out to visit my father's family in Iran, and they knew that I was the daughter of a Jewish mother, but the matter did not bother them either." Nevertheless, during the visits to Iran, F. had to keep her Jewish origin secret lest her origin harm her family members.
At the age of 12 the first turning point occurred in her life when her parents informed her that they decided to divorce. Her father left Germany and moved to Switzerland with her younger brother while she stayed with her mother. The sudden change in her life led F. to seek and deepen her roots. She appealed to the Jewish community in Germany and asked to volunteer with Jewish children in helping them with homework and test-learning.
"It was the first time I met Jews who live in a Jewish community, and I connected with the rabbi and his daughters and through them I began to know and learn about Judaism." With the help of the rabbi and his daughters, F. came to Chabad events and began to participate in the activities of the Bnei Akiva youth movement, which operates through the Israeli emissary, The atmosphere, ideology, and meaning appealed to her and she began to internalize and change her lifestyle.
"My father heard that I was starting to observe mitzvos and to maintain a more meaningful Jewish life, but he flowed with it, and even when my brother started to live a little more traditional life, my father did not care, he even joined him in some of the synagogue visits," says F.
Upon her arrival for the last academic year, F. sought a program that would be suitable for her before she began academic studies. "Bnei Akiva offered me to join the Kashrut Program that is taking place in the Land of Israel, and from the moment I heard about the program, I realized that this is what I want to do next year."
The Kashrut Program is an annual program for 200 students from 18 countries each year. The program is comprised of several parts composed of Torah study, educational experiences, kibbutz work, and volunteer work throughout the country, each segment lasting about 3 months. Towards the end of the program, the students join the Israeli experience, which takes place during the month of Iyar, including Jerusalem Day, which is celebrated with a mass dance in the streets of the city.
F. concludes excitedly: "For me, the Israel experience has only just begun. Now that I have gotten to know Israel in depth, I am so excited that I will be able to walk through the streets of Jerusalem and raise the Israeli flag in it ... I am so happy and excited that I have arrived where I am and thank the world Bnei Akiva, that thanks to you I experienced all of Israel's multifaceted dimensions".