Adopted African American uncovers Jewish roots

Brandon Roberts discovered that his biological father is a Ukrainian Jew, which explains his lifelong affinity to Judaism and Israel; now considers himself a Zionist Christian of Jewish descent and an African American

Yaniv Pohoriles|
On a journey to uncover his biological roots, Brandon Roberts - an adopted boy from Milwaukee, Wisconsin who grew up in a Christian household - discovered that he is of Jewish descent.
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  • Roberts' biological mother is African American, and his father, a Ukrainian Jew.
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    ברנדון רוברטס בהר הבית
    ברנדון רוברטס בהר הבית
    Brandon Roberts
    (Photo: Masa Israel Journey)
    The adopted American admitted that he felt an unexplained connection with Judaism and Israel throughout his whole life. He said that part of his upbringing was becoming familiar with other religions besides Christianity, because his adoptive parents thought it was important as basis for common knowledge.
    Roberts said that while he grew up going to church weekly and celebrating Christian holidays, he always had an affinity for Judaism and Israel.
    Upon turning 20, Brandon and his twin sister decided to open their adoption file and meet their father for the first time. Turns out, their dad was a 79-year-old Ukrainian-born Jew.
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    רוברטס אוחז בשלט עם המסר "יהודים עומדים בסולידריות לצד תנועת Black Lives Matter"
    רוברטס אוחז בשלט עם המסר "יהודים עומדים בסולידריות לצד תנועת Black Lives Matter"
    Brandon Roberts
    (Photo: Masa Israel Journey)
    After this discovery, Roberts grew closer to the other Jewish students on his college campus, and joined Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life. He started attending Shabbat dinners and holiday festivities, and took part in activism against pro-Palestinian movements and BDS.
    When Roberts graduated, he decided to leave his small business and family behind to come to Israel. He arrived in December and immediately became active in a humanitarian organization that provides aid to war refugees making Aliyah from Ukraine.
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    ברנדון רוברטס בכנסת
    ברנדון רוברטס בכנסת
    Brandon Roberts at the Knesset
    (Photo: Masa Israel Journey)
    This program is set to last about nine months, after which he will have to decide whether he wants to immigrate, or return to the states, where his twin sister and adoptive parents are.
    Roberts considers himself a Zionist Christian of Jewish descent, and an African American. He says he believes in the principles of Christianity, but has a special place in his heart for the Jewish people and for Israel.
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