Born in Kiev in 1971, ordered in November 2004 and first female Rabbi to be part of the Religious council Mevaseret Zion, in 2012, PhD from the University of Tel Aviv in Talmud and ancient texts, has been the guiding of the conversions at Ohel Jacob from May 2014, since its nomination as a sponsored Rabbi for Spain and Portugal (EUBD).
“All good things, or most of them, happen to us by chance or by the Divine Providence [hashgaha pratit], as a pleasant surprise we have not been waiting for. So my connection with Ohel Yaakov does too.
In May, 2011, I visited Lisbon for the first time. We have been on family vacation planning to travel north to O Porto. As we stayed for Shabbat in Lisbon, I have looked for a liberal synagogue for Kabbalat Shabbat service. This is how I found Ohel Yaakov and this is how our connection started, with a family vacation and a casual service 🙂 .
Since then we have been in touch thanks to the modern technology. Specific questions about Jewish practice or more general ones about theology, hesitations about personal issues, festival greetings, discussing conversion process…
This is how, once again in May, but 2014, I found myself teaching the conversion course helping Anusim from Portugal and Spain to return, being a sponsoring rabbi for conversions for the EUBD in Iberian and visiting Ohel Yaakov to provide rabbinic mentoring.
So why would a rabbi who lives and works full time in Israel bother? (We do not have direct flights from Tel Aviv to Lisbon except in summer). Nobody can stay indifferent when one learns about the 80 years history of Ohel Yaakov and its members’ determination to maintain Jewish living. Their commitment is admirable. Small group of people caring for each other and Jewish tradition.
Ohel Yaakov is the only Ashkenazi and liberal congregation in Portugal. Its collection of Torah scrolls brought by the Polish Jewish refugees running from the Nazi regime won’t shame any historical museum. It includes the part of the Torah scroll which survived Kristallnacht.
But the most valuable treasure of Ohel Yaakov is its members. Good natured humble people with much sense of humor.”
Rabbi Alona Lisitsa
Read full CV HERE.