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The Jewish priest who repented
In middle of priesthood studies in Munich, Daniel Feldstein began searching for his Jewish identity. He found prayer book, hid fringed garment under his robe and began observing mitzvot. 'A Jew will always remain a Jew,' he says
It was only when Daniel Feldstein went far enough from Israel, and began studying for priesthood in Munich, that his Jewish identity began awakening.

 

"I started with a ritual washing of my hands, blessings, and even during the ceremonies I would read from the 'sidur' (prayer book). I would wrap it up so they wouldn't see what it was. Later I also installed a mezuzah in my room," he says.

 

Although he tried to hide the new customs he adopted, his fellow students noticed the change taking place within him.

 

"The arguments with them summed up to one sentence: 'Decide who you are. Decide, because we can see you're not Christian.'"

 

No complaints against Christians

Feldstein was born to a Jewish mother in Ukraine in 1974. When he was 21 he decided to immigrate to Israel on his own and join the IDF.

 

"I was a lone soldier, and I remained lonely afterwards. I was always in a spiritual search because I failed to connect to the country, to the society, to the language."

 

Christianity, he says, served as a refuge from the alienation and loneliness. He began visiting churches and befriending priests and nuns. In 2005 he was baptized in the tradition of the Latin Church in Jaffa, and two years later he decided to leave Israel.

 

"Nothing interested me anymore. I found no solidarity with the country or with what was happening in it," he says.

 

Feldstein began devoting his life to priesthood studies at the Munich church, but the distance raised internal questions of identity. "The fact that I moved there, that I was suddenly disconnected from Israel, changed my perspective," he notes.


Feldstein baptized in Jaffa (Photo: Orot)

 

Feldstein was unsatisfied with the Christian interpretation of the Old Testament, and he began showing an interest in the Jewish Midrash.

 

"I found the website of Machon Meir and began watching lessons there and integrating them into my seminar papers. My teachers perceived it as extremely profound ideas and said it was a great wonder, what a study and what an innovation. So I said, wait a minute, I've always had it – so what am I doing here anyway?"

 

From the moment he was required to decide who he was and what his religion was, everything happened quickly.

 

"The moment I decided to leave it was a huge wonder, a real miracle. They collected money and bought me a ticket back to Israel."

 

Today Feldstein studies at Machon Meir and is certain that he has ended his travails. "I have no complaints against the Christians; I only have complaints against myself," he says. "A Jew will always remain a Jew. There's nothing one can do about it."

 

 

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