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Guardian of Israel in action

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This version of Shomer Yisrael performed by the very talented Aharon Razel has followed me around since I first heard it in the summer of 2005, while the protests and the fight for Gush Katif was going on during, what my then circle of Jewish friends called Israel’s Orange Days.

This song was playing while I watched the news reports of the evacuation of Gush Katif residents, knowing that my brothers and sisters are on both sides: some IDF soldiers that are enforcing the evacuation, some Gush Katif settlers being evacuated. A summer later this song was playing as I watched the first news report of the Second Lebanon War, just an hour after receiving a text from my kid brother that he is not coming home for the weekend.

I was listening to this song when my dad messaged me a few days ago about my four foster siblings. Vitalik, Alla, Yuval and Arik have been living with my dad and step-mom since their parents and eldest sister passed away while visiting their native Ukraine/Russia last summer. Vitya is now 12 years old, and he is very excited about his bar mitzvah next year, however, while their dad was definitely Jewish, their mother’s Jewishness, as defined by Halacha, and as per the chief rabbinate, was debateable. Her extended family, who all moved to Israel in the 90’s and since, as many not-so-Jewish former Soviet Union olim, moved on to the USA and Canada, are born again Christians and classic Baptists, and were not too enthusiastic about a proper conversion for the kids. However, now two things are for sure: the kids can stay with my parents, as outlined in the will of their father, and as legal guardians they can go t hrough with the kids’ conversion if needed, or, can access records to determine if they are halachially Jewish. It seems the only relative of the kids, who actually cared to visit them since the parents’ deaths, an aunt from Tustin, CA is okay with it as well. Wether the kids can be legally adopted by my parents is still an issue–my dad is over 60–but it seems that Vitya will get his bar mitzvah celebration!

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