Saturday, January 7, 2012

Fodder for laughter, after the fact...

I was reading some one else's aliyah post and for some reason it put me in mind of one of the sillier experiences I had in the process of preparing for my aliyah. When one is planning aliyah there are myriad details that one must take care of.  One of those details is to provide for the reading pleasure of the Jewish Agency a letter written by a Rabbi attesting to one's Jewish identity.

I am fortunate to have as a "friend of the family" a somewhat illustrious Rabbi -- Rabbi Berel Wein.  It was from him that I requested such a letter.  He willingly agreed and wrote and sent me a letter, written in Hebrew, attesting to his knowledge of me, my family, and my Jewish identity.  That letter was written on letterhead from his organization, The Destiny Foundation.  I showed the letter to the Jewish Agency rep who was interviewing me for acceptance for aliyah and she told me that it must be on "synagogue letterhead".  I was incredulous.  This was Rabbi Berel Wein! This was his Foundation!  Nope - not good enough!

I again contacted Rabbi Wein, explained to him what the Jewish Agency had asked.  Again, he willingly wrote me a letter. Actually, this time he wrote TWO letters.  One was on letterhead from Beit Knesset HaNasi which is his shul in Jerusalem, Israel. The other was on letterhead from Bais Torah of Monsey, which had been his shul in Monsey, NY.  Both letters were written in Hebrew.

I showed both letters to the Jewish Agency rep.  This time she said the letters were no good because he wrote that both my parents were Jewish.  She told me that the letter should state that my MOTHER is Jewish!   Absurd!

With some embarrassment, I again asked Rabbi Wein for a new letter, explaining why his two letters were not sufficient.  Rabbi Wein is a paragon of patience. He said not a word but simply rewrote BOTH letters to comply with this latest request.

Again, I showed both these new letters to the Jewish Agency rep.  I waited with bated breath for the verdict:  "mekubal!".  She accepted these letters!  B"H!  

I look at this simply as fodder for laughter after the fact...

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