For most, the Jewish experience is rooted in family, support, and community. For many converts, however, choosing to go in the way of Torah is choosing a life of isolation. Many gerim face disapproval and even abandonment from their non-Jewish families. They then enter into the Torah-observant community, where they are embraced by some, and shunned by others. Bravely, defiantly, they choose to follow their dreams. One such person is Rvika Zitoni, a 26-year-old currently living in Jerusalem.
Rivka was born into a non-Jewish family in Brazil. From a young age, she was fascinated by Torah. Her family did not approve of her choice, but she advanced nonetheless. Two years ago, her learning culminated in the actualization of a dream: she arrived in Israel and converted.Now Jewish, she learns at Machon Roni, a seminary for converts.
Rivka’s journey thus far has been challenging, and she just met her biggest challenge yet: She is engaged, to a young man is also a recent convert. Despite her challenges, the kallah maintains an inspiringly positive outlook, and the young couple are “ecstatic” to, in Rivka’s own words, “build a small Beit Hamikdash in Jerusalem.”
The engagement period is a time when the absence of family is acutely felt. Despite chassan Yissachar’s work, the couple are starting “from nothing” – The expenses necessary to build them a simple wedding, and purchase them the essential for married life (including pots, pans, furniture, etc.) amount to far more than their income.
For Rivka, the significance of her hachnasas kallah fund goes beyond the practical: “Any help that you could give us would be inspiring to me, to know that we are not alone and that the Jewish people will accept us and our home with open arms would be the most beautiful thing in the world.”
Those able to donate to this particularly special kallah fund and to escort Rivka to the chuppah can do so here.