The Jews of Yemen have a long and rich history of adhering strictly to Torah and mitzvot, despite being surrounded on all sides by violence and hatred of Jews. This finally came to a boiling point last year, when the Israeli government rescued 27 families who urgently needed to flee. This should have been a happy ending. But for the mothers and fathers who risked their lives to impart Torah & mitzvot to their children, it was the beginning of a new nightmare.
The Israeli government placed the 27 families, including 107 children, in an absorption center in the southern city of Be’er Sheva. The absorption centers are extremely modest living conditions, with families confined to a single room. The deeply religious Yemenite families are now living together with Christian immigrants.
With no access to Torah education and surrounded by chillul Shabbat, the spirituality of the families has rapidly disintegrated. Those children who have had the rare opportunity to attend Charedi schools in Bnei Brak have reportedly refused to return home, in tears at the thought of re-entering a fully secular environment. Parents who risked their lives to raise their children with Torah & mitzvos are helplessly watching their children turn away from mitzvot.
An emergency meeting was called in the home of Rav Chaim Kanievsky, together with Rav Dov Landau shlit”a, Rav Shimon Baadani shlit”a, and HaRav Plitz. Their mission was clear & urgent: Issue a fundraising appeal to save 107 children from spiritual destruction.
The situation inevitably brings to mind the tragedy which took place 70 years ago, when Yemenite immigrants were purposely housed in environments which would rob them of their connection to mitzvot. The stakes are high: future of 107 children hinges on the success of Rav Kanievsky’s campaign.