web analytics
May 30, 2015 / 12 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


It’s Never Too Late

Rabbi Aryeh Wuench

Rabbi Aryeh Wuench

This piece is a follow-up to a column I wrote on June 21 involving a man incarcerated in a Florida prison.

It is said there is a pintele yid, a divine spark, linking every Jew to the Creator. Sometimes that spark can be a slight flicker, a mere hint of light, but it is never extinguished.

A body can be locked up. The soul can still soar. Life-changing moments can happen in the most unexpected circumstances.

The Aleph Institute supports Jews in two very diverse areas of life. Aleph serves Jews in the military. It also serves Jews who are in prison. Several years ago Rabbi Menachem Katz, Aleph’s director of Prison and Military Outreach, was ministering to Jewish inmates in Blackwater Correctional Facility in Milton, Florida. His words were overheard by a nearby prisoner, Pablo Manuel Diaz.

Diaz asked the rabbi a question. Rabbi Katz wondered why Diaz was interested. Diaz replied that his maternal grandmother had confided to him that she was Jewish. There are pivotal times in life. This was one of them. Katz took out his tefillin. A journey had begun.

Pablo Diaz has had rough times. He is serving a life sentence in prison for very serious crimes. He decided he wanted to make a change.

Diaz began to pray and put on tefillin. He explored his heritage. He read the Jewish-themed magazine Aleph Institute distributes to prisoners. He was riveted by an ad he saw in the pages of the publication.

The ad was from Brit Yosef Yitzchak, a group dedicated to providing circumcision to all Jewish males, of any age, free of charge. The procedure is performed by experienced mohels in a medically correct setting. The motto of the organization is “It’s Never too Late.”

Diaz petitioned the Florida Department of Corrections to allow him to undergo the procedure. His appeal was turned down. Students and professors from Stanford Law School helped with the case. Diaz eventually was given permission.

Three weeks ago, Pablo Manuel Diaz became an official “member of the tribe.” The brit took place in the prison infirmary. Mohel Rabbi Aryeh Weiss and sandak Rabbi Aryeh Wuench, BYY volunteer and development director, were joined by the facility’s staff nurse.

There were tears of joy, singing and dancing. Diaz recited the Shema Yisrael. The participants sipped grape juice. “This was an incredible example of achdut by the Jewish community,” said Rabbi Wuench. “The mohel is Satmar. I’m Lubavitch. Jews from every walk of life were involved in working on the case.”

Brit Yosef Yitzchak has performed over 42,000 circumcisions throughout the world. There are international headquarters in Israel, Russia and the Ukraine. The brit is traditionally performed on the eighth day of a baby boy’s life. There are many reasons and many circumstances, however, that can interfere with the ceremony taking place in a timely fashion.

The vast majority of men BYY accommodates are from the former Soviet Union. There are hundreds of thousands of Jews in this category. “This situation is unique to our generation,” said Wuench. “We have to step up to this challenge. The need is great.”

For further information or to contribute, contact Aryeh Wuench at 305-992-7701 or the toll free at 1-877-BRIT MILAH.

About the Author: Shelley Benveniste is South Florida editor of The Jewish Press.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “It’s Never Too Late”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
What's happened to NYC's Celebrate Israel Parade?
Israel Rejects as ‘False’ UJA Federation’s Claims about Israel Parade ‘Inclusion’
Latest Sections Stories
Respler-logo-NEW

When I complain, she tells me it is retail therapy.

West-Coast-logo

Tal Dimenstein has been selected to present her ELI Talk about Appreciation during this year’s conference in Chicago.

How is it possible that some of our people cannot see what I see, the miracle of the existence of the state of Israel?

Birobidzhan railway station sign is the world’s only one spelling the town’s name in Yiddish letters

She’s seen as a poster child for The Jewish Home’s efforts to reach beyond its Orthodox base.

Girls don’t usually learn Gemara. Everyone knows that.

Mordechai and his men shared a strong mutual loyalty.

“Can I wear tefillin in the bathroom?” That was the question US Private Nuchim Lebensohn wrote to Mike Tress, president of the Agudath Israel Youth Council, in a letter dated November 18, 1942. Lebensohn was not your typical young American GI. Polish by birth, he was forty-three years old and married when he was drafted […]

To what extent is your child displaying defiance?

This therapist kept focusing on how “I could do better,” never on how we could make the marriage work.

Mistrust that has lingered after the fiasco in Ferguson, Missouri, has edged the issue forward.

“The observance of a kosher diet is a key tenet of Judaism, and one which no state has the right to deny,” said Nathan Diament, executive director for public policy of the Orthodox Union.

More Articles from Shelley Benveniste
South-Florida-logo

Mistrust that has lingered after the fiasco in Ferguson, Missouri, has edged the issue forward.

South-Florida-logo

“The observance of a kosher diet is a key tenet of Judaism, and one which no state has the right to deny,” said Nathan Diament, executive director for public policy of the Orthodox Union.

Two weeks of intense learning in the classroom about Israel culminated with Yom Ha’Atzmaut. Students attended sessions with their teachers and learned about history, culture, military power, advocacy, slang, cooking, and more.

Rabbi Yisroel Edelman, the synagogue’s spiritual leader, declared, “The Young Israel of Deerfield Beach is looking forward to our partnership with the OU. The impact the OU has brought to Jewish communities throughout the country through its outreach and educational resources is enormous and we anticipate the same for our community in Deerfield Beach as well.”

They may have taken the required courses, scored well on the tests, and earned good grades.

“We wanted to shed light on the mystery that surrounds biblical interpretations. This really is an eye-opening course.”

“This added dimension helps the girls with their hashkafa and ability to educate their children. The added light of chassidus helps combat the darkness children are exposed to on a daily basis.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/community/south-florida/its-never-too-late-2/2013/10/24/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: