Two couples in Beersheba finished their conversion to Judaism and were married by Deputy Religious Services Minister Eli Ben-Dahan on Thursday, despite the city coming under rocket fire during the ceremony.
Balta Ingido, 32, and his bride, Zomnash Balsh, 29, immigrated to Israel from Ethiopia in February 2013. Ethiopian immigrants recognized as eligible for aliya are granted citizenship under the Law of Return, but the Chief Rabbinate still requires most of them to formally convert to Judaism in an accelerated program.
Having completed their conversion course, Balta and Zomnash, along with their four children, immersed in a mikve, or ritual bath, on Thursday morning thereby finalizing their Jewish status.
Although the couple were already married, because they are only now considered Jewish by the State of Israel they were required to marry again in a traditional Jewish ceremony.
Alexander Haim, 38, and Ruth Barebo, 26, came to Israel from Chile and subsequently decided to convert. They recently completed their conversion process as well and immersed in the mikve along with their two on Thursday.
The couples asked that Ben-Dahan, who is a rabbi, marry them, so he traveled down to Beersheba on Thursday morning to officiate at their weddings, and to express solidarity with residents of southern cities under rocket fire.
During the wedding ceremonies Color Red warning sirens sounded to warn of another salvo of rockets fired from Gaza heading toward the city.
Despite the threat, as well as the fact that the sirens were not distinctly heard in the absorption center where the weddings were conducted, the ceremonies continued and the two couples were married “according to the law of Moses and Israel.”
Speaking after the wedding, Ben-Dahan said that the Jewish people would continue its traditions in the Land of Israel, despite the threats from its enemies, and congratulated the two couples on their marriages.
“In these days in which terrorists are trying to disrupt our lives, I came to Beersheba to marry two couples who have just converted in order to show to the entire world that the Jewish people lives,” he said.
“We are strong and will continue the Jewish heritage, we will marry couples and establish homes among the Jewish people, who will remain here forever while all our enemies will not endure,” he continued while promising to maintain the provision of religious services despite the hostilities.
“I came today to support the residents of Beersheba and the southern region for their courageous perseverance. God willing, we will strike heavy blows against Hamas,” Ben-Dahan said.