How Chai from China became a Hasidic Jew
What brings a young man born in modern, communist China to move to Israel and convert to Judaism? In a black hat and suit, Aaron Waldman talks about his long search for the truth and his family’s difficulty accepting his metamorphosis.
The guy sitting in front of has all the characteristics of an ultra-Orthodox person: A hat, a suit and a beard. His name is Aaron Waldman, but his parents, his grandparents and their grandparents were not born in Europe and likely never set foot in Israel.
Like Abraham, the father of the Jewish people, Chai left his homeland of China in favor of the land which was promised to a different people, far from everything he knew. Chai – “firewood” in English, “vald” (woods) in Yiddish – chose the name Waldman, “man of the wood.”
He see himself as a “rootless tree,” as “in modern China we were not educated with tradition. We were cut off from the root. I feel the spiritual emptiness.”
So what brings a young man born in modern, communist China to the State of Israel and to Hasidic Judaism? In fluent English (he also speaks “biblical Hebrew”), Waldman talks about his long search for the truth and his family’s difficulties accepting his metamorphosis.
You’re like superstitious, you’re stupid. In university I was taught that the universe has a beginning, called Big Bang. If you do not believe that the universe has a beginning, you are stupid. What’s the truth?
“When I was young, communism was the truth. After the research, I realized that it cannot be. At the end of university, I was approached by this English teacher who was a Christian missionary in disguise. He told me that a man who died on a cross, he was the truth. Who’s
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