web analytics
November 28, 2014 / 6 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



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.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
IDF Chief Rabbi Rafi Peretz delivers lecture.
IDF Chief Rabbi: Nothing is Holy to Muslims on Temple Mount except Al Aqsa
Latest Sections Stories
West-Coast-logo

Lester Crown, a perennial member of the Forbes 400 list since 1982 and founder of the prestigious Covenant Foundation, took the stage in Washington, D.C. before a room of high-powered dignitaries, philanthropists, and innovators.

Collecting-History-logo

Not as well known, however, is Keller’s involvement with Jewish and Israeli communities.

Creativity without clarity is not sufficient for writing. I am eternally thankful to Hashem for his gift to me.

This core idea of memory is very difficult to fully comprehend; however, it is essential.

Sometimes the most powerful countermove one can make when a person is screaming is to calmly say that her behavior is not helpful and then continue interacting with the rest of the family while ignoring the enraged person.

“Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples shall divide within you.”

Divorce from a vindictive, cruel spouse can be a lifelong nightmare when there are offspring.

There were many French Jews who jumped at the chance to shed their ancient identity and assimilate.

As Rabbi Shemtov stood on the stage and looked out at the attendees, he told them that “Rather than take photos with your cellphones, take a mental photo and keep this Shabbat in your mind and take it with you throughout your life.”

Yeshiva v’Kollel Bais Moshe Chaim will be holding a grand celebration on the occasion of the institution’s 40th anniversary on Sunday evening, December 7. Alumni, students, friends and faculty of the yeshiva, also known as Talmudic University of Florida, will celebrate the achievement and vision of its founders and the spiritual guidance of its educational […]

The yeshiva night accommodates all levels of Jewish education.

More Articles from Shelley Benveniste
South-Florida-logo

Yeshiva v’Kollel Bais Moshe Chaim will be holding a grand celebration on the occasion of the institution’s 40th anniversary on Sunday evening, December 7. Alumni, students, friends and faculty of the yeshiva, also known as Talmudic University of Florida, will celebrate the achievement and vision of its founders and the spiritual guidance of its educational […]

The yeshiva night accommodates all levels of Jewish education.

Recently, Fort Lauderdale has been the focus of international news, and it has not been about the wonderful weather.

Rabbi Sacks held the position of chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth for 22 years until September 2013.

The event included a dvar Torah by student Pesach Bixon, an overview of courses, information about student life and a student panel that answered frequently asked questions from a student perspective.

When non-practicing or non-affiliated Jews actually go to a Shabbat dinner, they want an authentic experience.

The popular Thai Treat Restaurant, now in its 12th year, serves incredible Thai food and is a favorite spot for kosher diners from all over the world.

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: