The world watched on in horror this week as Polish officials determined the fate of 50-year-old Gavriel Lavi of Bnei Brak.
Lavi has been unjustly held in Polish prison for three years without trial after his identity was allegedly stolen and used for fraud. Rav Chaim Kanievsky was involved last year in efforts to secure Lavi a trial, which only came into fruition this month.
During his absence, Gavriel’s wife Sigalit was left to raise their four children alone.
The verdict of the long-awaited trial was that Lavi would be released, on the condition that a steep $150,000 fine be paid by Monday, June 10th. If the fine is not paid, the father of 4 will remain in prison indefinitely.
Sigalit Lavi went public with their story on Wednesday, in a desperate attempt to free her husband. The campaign boasts a signed letter from Rav Kanievsky on the family’s behalf, as well as the Rav’s blessing to donors that they be protected from tragedy themselves.
Contributors around the world have taken this rare opportunity to do the mitzvah of pidyon shvuyim. The coming hours, however, are crucial: if the whole of the sum is not raised before the entrance of shabbat, Lavi will remain as he is – a frum Jew, in a European prison – for an undetermined amount of time.
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