Historic Masorti Bet Din in Lisbon

 from left: Rabbi Reuven Hammer, Rabbi Chaim Weiner, Rabbi Jules Harlow, Juliana and Edgar

On April 26 in Lisbon, Portugal, a historic Masorti Bet Din (Rabbinic Court) gathered in Lisbon to oversee the halachic conversation of two young adults.
Juliana Fernandes da Silva and Edgard Pimentel studied for several years with Rabbi Jules and Navah Harlow who have been leading and mentoring the small Masorti kehilla there through almost 30 visits and many hours of online study.
After a well received talk about Lisbon by the Harlows in Washington, DC, a group of people organized a trip to Lisbon led byRabbi Chaim Weiner, the Executive Director of Masorti Europe and a Jewish heritage  tour guide.  Once the trip was planned the group quickly realized that there would be a Bet Din comprised of trip participants Rabbi Weiner (who also serves as the Av Bet Din for Masorti Europe), Rabbi Harlow and Rabbi Reuven Hammer, former RA Israel president.  The conversion was part of an entire Shabbat celebration spent with the congregants of Kehillat Bet Israel and the tour group.
A member of the group summed up her feelings in an email “What the shul lacks in numbers, it makes up for in spirit… What a joy to see such involved and enthusiastic synagogue members, especially the teenagers who wholeheartedly led Adon Olam…The highlight of our trip was celebrating the conversion of Edgard and Julianna, who had just come before the Beit Din.  Their sincerity and commitment to grow Jewishly was inspiring.   While we on the study seminar felt privileged to welcome them to the Klal Yisrael, … Whether congregants stay in Portugal or move elsewhere, they will become pillars of their synagogues and communities.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves!
Click here to read the article about the Bet Din in Haaretz.Picture on right:  Juliana and Edgar with Navah and Rabbi Harlow