On Monday, the last day of Hanukkah, Guatemalan Ambassador Mario Adolfo Bucaro Flores discovered his Jewish identity at a Temple sacrifice reenactment in Jerusalem.
Heeding the Sanhedrin’s call to the 70 Nations to participate in the consecration of the altar for the Third Temple, the ambassador joined the reenactment as the guest of honor. During his speech, the ambassador said, “This is a truly historic moment. My government is pleased to be partners with the Sanhedrin and with Israel in bringing [the] Messiah.”
Little did Flores know the extent to which this moment was personally historic.
Immediately following the ambassador’s address, Breaking Israel News reporter Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz witnessed one of the rabbis from the Sanhedrin approach Flores, congratulating him on his “very powerful” address and asking him about his connection with the Jewish people. Flores responded, “Yes, the Guatemalan people have a very deep connection with the Jewish people.”
The rabbi responded, “But it seemed to come from a very deep personal place – do you have any personal connection with the Jewish people?”
Berkowitz recalled, “Flores replied, ‘no, no, I’m a Christian – but my Grandmother was Jewish.’”
After learning that Flores had Jewish relatives on his mother’s side of the family (according to Jewish law, Jewish status is matrilineal), the rabbis of the Sanhedrin, recovering from the immediate shock of the discovery they had just made, gathered around the ambassador.
“In the presence of the rabbinic court, Flores was asked several questions about his family and it was determined that he was a Jew,” said Berkowitz. “This came as a surprise to Flores who was unaware that his family connection conferred upon him Jewish status.”
Upon the discovery and to mark the occasion, reported Berkowitz, “the rabbis assisted Flores in donning tefillin (phylacteries) a mitzvah (Torah commandment) of the highest order,” also noting that “non-Jews can perform almost all of the Torah commandments, however, donning tefillin is one of the very few that they are forbidden from performing, so it was a clear sign that the Sanhedrin had entirely accepted his status as a Jew.”
After the ambassador put on tefillin for the first time, said Berkowitz, “everyone began dancing around and singing joyously – it was a very Geula (redemption) moment.”
Similarly, Rabbi Hillel Weiss, the spokesman for the Sanhedrin, noted that it was highly symbolic that such a revelation should come about at the dedication of the altar. “We are on the cusp of the revelation of the Moshiach (Messiah),” Rabbi Weiss told Breaking Israel News. “One of the functions of the Messiah is the ingathering of the exiles. This is not merely people deciding to come to Israel. It is a miraculous process, which is what we saw here. It is God revealing things that are hidden: hidden Jews, hidden connections to Israel, love for Hashem (God, literally, ‘the name) that has been hidden away and not seen since all 70 nations came together to pray to the One God in Jerusalem.”
In the near future, the Sanhedrin plans to visit the Guatemalan government on a political mission after Guatemala moved their embassy to Jerusalem on May 16 of this year, two days after the US opened their embassy in Jerusalem.