The news these days is simply too weird.
Until recently he was the greatest "returnees to Judaism" [Baal Teshuva] Rabbi...he married an ultra-Orthodox woman via a shidduch [arranged match] and together they raised a daughter of Jerusalem. But the man who preached every night for young Israelis to approach the religion of Moses and Israel, he led a double life and actually lived in a Palestinian village.
The Story of A, according to estimates was responsible for helping bring thousands of young Israelis closer to Judaism, has shaken ultra-Orthodox world. "All who heard this story were in total shock," said Rabbi Eliyahu Abrzil, father of the Regional Rabbinical Court in Jerusalem, who handled the divorce case of A. "If you post the name will be an earthquake in Israel."
A., 45, was born a Muslim in a small village near Jerusalem called Abdullah. 15 years ago he decided to flee from his village, came to Jerusalem, fell in love with Judaism and decided to convert. After seven years of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem he completed the conversion process.
Slowly gaining a crowd of followers and a reputation among "returnees to Judaism", his appearance and lectures were not to be missed. He filled synagogues and halls regularly.
About seven years ago, he met a ultra-Orthodox young woman through a "shidduch". He did not disclose his past, except that he had undergone a conversion. The match was successful, they were married and had a daughter. "Everyone adored him," said the stunned woman. "He was a model for the baalei teshuva. They believed every word out of his mouth." It did not occur to the woman that A was rarely home during the day because of his frequent trips to his home village. He explained his absences in that he was studying very hard.
A. never abandoned his former life: during the day he used to go back to his Palestinian village and take off his Orthodox costume, and return home at nights.
He recently confessed to his shocked wife, and that when his family learned that he was Jewish and they threatened his life. She said he drove her to the village and locked her in a shelter. Their daughter is hidden away with a relative in Jerusalem. The woman tried to kill herself, and A. had to take her to a hospital in Jerusalem.
After her release from the hospital, the woman escaped and came to the house of a Rabbi, revealed the story and asked him to file for a divorce from A.
A few days ago, A. was found in his village. He was convinced and agreed to sign the divorce papers on condition that he immediately be returned to his village. On his way to the Court, A. had to pass through several military checkpoints, and the rabbinical court headed by Rabbi Abarjil rushed him to sign the divorce papers. [Maariv/NRG]
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