Only a few of the guests knew the secret of the bride at this Monday’s wedding in the center of Israel, including activists from Yad L’Achim.
The story began more than 20 years ago, when a young Jewish girl from Ankara, Turkey, married a local Muslim youth. The Rav of her congregation and her anguished family pleaded with her to reconsider, but to no avail.
Two years later, they had a daughter, Nura, who was raised and educated as a Muslim. When Nura was 9, her parents decided to take advantage of their rights under the “Law of Return” and moved to Israel to escape the financial hardships of Turkey.
They settled in a “mixed city” in the center of the country. Since their home was situated in a Jewish neighborhood they sent young Nura to a local public school, where she was exposed to Judaism.
At one point, in response to a Torah class one of her friends took her to, she made the fateful decision to keep mitzvos. She turned to Yad L’Achim, explaining that she was all alone: Her father the Muslim had cut off ties due to her religious transformation and her Jewish mother was emotionally broken due to the beatings she had endured from her husband.
Yad L’Achim responded immediately to the call for help. It found Nura, whose name had since been changed to Sarah, suitable housing and provided her with financial assistance. Activists from the organization’s counter-assimilation department accompanied her every step of the way.
At the same time, she began attending classes on Torah and Judaism given by Harav Farkash at the Midrasha in Bat Yam. During her spare time, she volunteered for a life-saving organization.
Emotions ran high this week when Sarah closed the circle and stood beneath the chuppah with her groom, a G-d-fearing yeshiva graduate, as the two, with G-d’s help, embarked on a new journey toward establishing a faithful Jewish home in Israel.