Yaakov Weksler (Romuald Waszkinekl)

“I was born in the middle of the war in February 1943 in Switzani (then Poland, near Vilnius). I grew up in a Catholic family in Poland, they loved me very much. Since I was a little kid, I felt I was adopted by them but had no knowledge of it.

Growing up, I studied to become a teacher, and I became a pastor. I later studied philosophy, and I was a lecturer at the Catholic University in Lublin. When I was 35, I pressed my mom to tell me about myself. Until she told me: “You are a Jew, you were born to a Jewish family in the war. They wanted me to save you, and handed you over to me when you were a few weeks old, and a little while later, the Nazis eliminated the ghetto. I don’t remember the names of your parents”.

I was in total shock! I lived in complete contradiction between two worlds, on one hand I know I am a Jew, and on the other hand I am a Catholic priest. Later in life I was able to discover my family. I immigrated to Israel in 2007, and since then I have been trying to get recognition for my Judaism. Some years passed, which I was agreed to be given a citizenship, but still did not recognize my Judaism. It was very important to me to be Jewish in his country. It is also very important because of my parents, who were murdered during the Holocaust, since I heard that my mother was a Zionist activist in the town. But I had no evidence of the story I was telling. And official systems do not change status without bringing some evidence.

In 2018, while trying to walk through the rabbinical courts, I arrived in the Jerusalem court. There they discovered empathy and suggested that I try to apply to Simanim institute. Maybe through my DNA I would have evidence that I was Jewish. I turned to the Institute of Simanim, and within two weeks I got the result: You have a clear proof of Judaism! I was very excited, we arranged a hearing in the rabbinical court, and they accompanied me throughout the discussion and convinced the dayanim of the results. Until the beginning of the year of 5786 I received a formal Jewish approval! I did a circumcision 76 years late, I came home! I returned to my people and my homeland!”

A summary of my life story can be seen here: