Rina Barbut

My Jewish Journey

Summer time… Everyone is travelling…

If you still have no plans and ready to have a journey, join to mine… Here it is… Enjoy!

Almost 34 years ago, the third baby of the Barbut Family was born. It was a girl!

Mr. Barbut was suggested by his friends to take his kids to Talmud Tora which is known as Bnei Akiva too. They told him, since he has three kids, it will be a nice atmosphere for them, because in this way, they`ll have Jewish friends, and Kids will learn and play together. Since the Jewish school was far from the Barbut Family`s Home, kids were studying only in a Muslim school and in the weekends they started to go to Talmud Torah.

Kid Number 3 was enjoying so much with her new friends that, she wanted to adapt herself to them and asked her family, if it is ok that she`ll start to keep kosher since her friends do… She was only 10 years old. Her family was fine with it. In this country, anyway Jews used to buy home kosher food in order to keep some Jewish Traditions in a Jewish Home.

The Barbut Family was traditional, they liked doing the basic stuff during Jewish Festivals. Kid Number 3 was around 14 when she became a Madricha in Talmud Torah, this time she was the one who was teaching to other Jewish kids about Jewish History and Traditions. When she turned 18, she was asked by someone in the synagogue, if she keeps Shabbat. The answer was No. The guy was surprised and asked ` How come? Every Friday night, you come to Kabalat Shabbat, every Saturday morning you come to the Synagogue for the prayer and then stay for Talmud Torah and teach and each week you organize Seudah Shlishit and you are here until Shabbat ends, you don`t have time not to keep Shabbat… It was right, He was right… Shabbat became a part of her life that she so much enjoyed that she didn’t even notice that she was keeping it.

Because of her knowledge, she was asked to train mix marriages kids, before their Bar Mitzva. She was so connected to them that she felt like they were her little brothers. They all completed the conversion process successfully.

She was also a Madricha in a Summer Camp in one of the Princess Islands in this Country and brought kids to Bulgaria for a Summer Camp in 2003.

Whatever she was meeting/knowing in Judaism she was loving…

She started to dance Rikudeam – Israeli Folk Dance, she danced for four years (Hava Nagila, Hava Nagila, Hava Nagila Venismeha…)

She loved kids and she loved Jewish festivals, she was helping to a community director for years to arrange songs and theaters for festivals. She was translating songs and sometimes writing her own and also writing plays that kids can perform.

She noticed that youth who are between 15 to 17 years old, became disconnected from Jewish life, she started to build programs for them and ran this programs in her home. It was very important for her that everyone will feel/see the beauty in Judaism.

She started to give Jewish Identity seminars with leadership and communication focus in her country and out of her country.

She performed in a Jewish Theatre (Moiz in Miluim)

She was in the Jewish State first time in her life in 1996 with her family and since then she has been there many times… She didn’t know that time, that she may move there one day. Once she saw a book in this state which is called `Why Marry Jewish` and she got so excited about the title that she felt, she should read this book asap and talk about it in her home country and others that Jews are minority and she did it several times.

She was used to writing in a Jewish Newspaper in her country once a while .

She was invited to a trip of World Union of Jewish Students` which was in five different places (Budapest, Prague, Vienna, Paris, Israel ) -Herzl`s Footsteps – that she started to meet Jews from all over the world. She was excited about the idea of Union Jewish Students and when she returned from this trip, she established with two other good friends, the local Union of Jewish Students and they organized many events to keep the youth, Jewish connected.
Besides kids, she also loved old people, she volunteered two to three times a week for a few years in the Jewish old age home.

She started to be involved in JDC events and she was part of an event for families for JDC as a volunteer and Gesher in different countries for years.

She gave Judaism related sessions in Limmud in different countries.

She grew up in a family where parents speak Ladino or known as Judeo Espanol (Jewish Spanish) language. She loved the Sephardic culture, food and music (Avraam Avinu, Padre Kerido Padre Bendicho Luz de Yisrael…)

In 2007-2008 she studied Jewish Studies in Sweden in an organization which is called Paideia. It was her best experience in life, met amazing and super interesting people, learned from best Scholars from the Jewish State and other places, about various topics of Judaism.

Since she loved religion, she was so interested in Interfaith Dialogue and she led seminars on this topic in different countries.

Life brought her wherever she is now, to the Jewish State. She is there almost in the last eight years and she loves every moment that she is there. She loves being Jewish in any way…. It is center
of her life, born with it and bounded forever.

Hope you enjoyed your journey that you took with me now, hope you found similarities from your own Jewish Journey.
Enjoy this endless, amazing journey…

About the Author
Rina Barbut, made aliyah from Turkey in 2008. In Israel, she’s been working in business and technology related positions at global companies and completed an International MBA. For years she led Jewish educational and social activities in Turkey and Europe. Rina is currently developing JConnect Forum, a network for young Jewish professionals from Israel and Europe to nurture business cooperation.
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