JERUSALEM (JTA) — A Polish-language guide to the holiday of Shavuot will be distributed to thousands of hidden Jews in Poland.
The guide, prepared by the Shavei Israel organization, explains the meaning and significance of the holiday, and presents holiday songs and recipes.
"In recent years, an increasing number of Poles have rediscovered their Jewish ancestry, seeking to reclaim the precious heritage that was so brutally taken from them and their forebears," said Michael Freund, Shavei Israel’s chairman and founder. "It is our hope that this book will, in some small way, enable a new generation of Polish Jews to celebrate Shavuot with joy, as well as gain a better understanding of our eternal faith."
About 4,000 Jews are officially registered as living in Poland, but according to various estimates there are tens of thousands of others who have concealed their true identity or simply are unaware of it, according to Shavei Israel.
Many of the hidden Jews lost contact with Judaism due to the extreme anti-Semitism that they encountered after the Holocaust, while some converted. Others concealed their Jewishness from the Communist authorities and now feel free to resume living as Jews.
In addition, Jews hidden by Catholic families and institutions or their descendants have begun to rediscover their Jewish identities, the organization says.
Two of Shavei Israel’s emissaries to Poland, Rabbis Yitzchak Rapoport and Boaz Pash, prepared the guide.