Catholic-raised Poles discover their Jewish roots

The Polish group in Jerusalem (Photo: Shavei Israel)

The Polish group in Jerusalem (Photo: Shavei Israel)

A group of Polish Jews who were raised as Catholics until they recently discovered their heritage, arrived in Jerusalem on Wednesday.

The 16-strong group, aged 18 to 35, attended a seminar organised by Shavei Israel, which connects diaspora Jews to Israel. They will travel across Israel from Masada to the Dead Sea during the trip, which is being run by Polish-speaking rabbis and educators, to enhance the group’s connection to the Jewish state.

Shavei Israel chair Michael Freund said: “Since the downfall of Communism, an increasing number of Poles have sought to reclaim and affirm their Jewish identity. We owe it to them to assist them in any way that we can.”

There are approximately 4,000 Jews registered as living in Poland, but according to the organisation, there may be tens of thousands of Polish people who continue to conceal or are unaware of their Jewish identity.

Last updated: 7:13pm, August 14 2013