IsraelNN.com: The Secret Circumcision in Turkey
Tzvi Ben Gedalyah, 7 Teveth 5771 / December 14, 2010u
Antalya Turkey was home to about 50 Jews – until last week when a father overcame his fears of Antisemitism and allowed a secret circumcision on Chanukah of his 30-day-old baby boy, the city's newest Jew.
Antalya is a Mediterranean coastal city of approximately one million people, mostly Muslims, and located near Syria. The father, whose identity cannot be revealed, is a “secret” Jew but was afraid his neighbors would discover his religion if he allowed his new-born baby boy to be circumcised, one of the most ancient and sacred Jewish rites. (Read more...)
This story is bittersweet.
First off, Mazal Tov to the family of this baby, Jewish boy.
Second, Kol HaKavod to the father for risking his and his family's safety to perform this very important misswah (commandment).
We learn that B'rith Milah (entrance into the Covenant with circumcision) is such an important misswah, that besides the bringing of the Qorban Pesah (Passover lamb or goat kid), it is the only positive commandment which requires kareth (being cut off from Am Yisra'el) as a punishment for not fulfilling it.
Unfortunately, this man, along with his Jewish neighbors, do not have much of a Jewish life; they do not have much of a life.
Thirteen years ago, many of the young Turkish Jews I met in Israel ended up back in Istanbul. Life in Istanbul, with all of its creature comforts and business opportunities were much too attractive to them. American Jews often fall into the same trap, and thus, can relate.
However, the situation in Antalya is much different, much more frightening, that Istanbul of 13 years ago. Nonetheless, these Jews are not imprisoned by a Soviet government, nor are they that far away from Israel.
So, why don't they just pack up and come? Do they not have the financial resources to do so?
What is the local Chabba"d rabbi doing about this? Is he encouraging them to make aliyah?
Where is the Jewish Agency in all this?
Too many details seem to be missing here.
Let us pray that these Jews, as well as Jews all over the world, will be able to find their ways here, no matter what the obstacles, be they internal or external.
In the meantime, I would to issue a challenge to the Jewish Agency, to Nefesh b'Nefesh, and other similar, Jewish organizations to investigate the situation of these Jews in Antalya, and to see what can be done about expediting their aliyah process.