Bet-Levi, Peru, 2003

Bet-Levi, Peru, 2003

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This family lives in the Amazonian jungle of Peru. You can see the refl‰ection of the rainforest just outside their house. You can also see symbols of Jewish identity on their door. Photographer Zion Ozeri explains the family’s history: “Moroccan Jews came to Peru for the rubber industry about 100 years ago. The rubber industry died out, and they married indigenous Indian women, but they still kept their names and they feel Jewish and want to belong. And some of them have gone through conversions because by the second or third generations they may not be halachically [according to Jewish law] Jewish. This is the family of Bet-Levi [‘the House of Levi’].”


 Sample Texts:

וְעָשִׂיתָ מְנרַֹת, זָהָב טָהוֹר; מִקְשָׁה תֵּעָשֶׂה הַמְּנוֹרָה, יְרֵכָהּ וְקָנָהּ, גְּבִיעֶיהָ כַּפְתּרֶֹיהָ וּפְרָחֶיהָ, מִמֶּנָּה יִהְיוּ. לב וְשִׁשָּׁה קָנִים, יצְֹאִים מִצִּדֶּיהָ: שְׁלֹשָׁה קְנֵי מְנֹרָה, מִצִּדָּהּ הָאֶחָד, וּשְׁלֹשָׁה קְנֵי מְנֹרָה, מִצִּדָּהּ הַשֵּׁנִי.

You shall make a lampstand of pure gold; the lampstand shall be made of hammered work; its base and its shaft, its cups, calyxes, and petals shall be of one piece. Six branches shall issue from its sides; three branches from one side of the lampstand and three branches from the other side of the lampstand.
– Exodus (Shemot) 25:31-32


וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָה, אֶל-משֶֹׁה לֵּאמרֹ. הַקְרֵב, אֶת-מַטֵּה לֵוִי, וְהַעֲמַדְתָּ אתֹוֹ, לִפְנֵי אַהֲרןֹ הַכּהֵֹן; וְשֵׁרְתוּ, אתֹוֹ. וְשָׁמְרוּ אֶת-מִשְׁמַרְתּוֹ, וְאֶת-מִשְׁמֶרֶת כָּל-הָעֵדָה, לִפְנֵי, אהֶֹל מוֹעֵד–לַעֲבדֹ, אֶת-עֲבדַֹת הַמִּשְׁכָּן.

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: “Advance the tribe of Levi and place them in attendance upon Aaron the priest to serve him. They shall perform duties for him and for the whole community before the Tent of Meeting, doing the work of the Tabernacle.”
– Numbers (Bemidbar) 3:5-7