For weeks, the story has been hogging the headlines of the Lebanese Muslim who posed as a Jew and married into an observant family in Brooklyn. The deception is all the more scandalous since the Syrian-Jewish community is bound by a takana or decree, forbidding marriage with non-Jews. Even marriage with Ashkenazim was not encouraged until recently. Jonathan Sacerdoti reports in the Jewish Chronicle:
The father of an Orthodox Sephardi woman who discovered her husband was a fake Jew after their wedding has warned the groom to “back up a million feet” if he believes he can win his daughter back.
Ali Hasan Hawila had posed as an observant Jew for years before marrying his bride from the Syrian Jewish community of Brooklyn New York.
His true identity as a Lebanese Muslim who had not converted was uncovered just weeks after they got married.
Now the bride’s father, Yosef Kredi, has spoken about the terrible damage done to his daughter and the family by the deception.
Mr Kredi said: “He knows what he did. And he knew before, but he took a risk, he took the chance. He gambled on my account, he gambled with my money, with my own life he gambled.” He added: “He destroyed our life.”
Mr Hawila recently told the JC that he now wants to go to Israel where he intends to convert to Judaism so as to win back his bride.
Spluttering with fury and disbelief at Mr Hawila’s delusional hopes, Mr Kredi said: “I want him to back up a million feet, to go back to where he comes from, to go back as far as he can, not to come near us, not to call my daughter any more, not to try with anything.
“He called her sister last time. And even my daughter. Please, stay far from our family, please.”
Mr Kredi had even taken Mr Hawila to pray alongside him at his synagogue.
The distraught father said: “He acted one thousand percent Jewish.
“What he did is wrong. He passed his limit. He’s smart, but he’s not smart like this. No way what he did can be accepted.
“He hurt me, he fooled me around, he fooled my daughter, he fooled my family. He killed me.” Hawila, 23, adopted the first name Eliya when he emigrated from Lebanon to America in 2015. (…)
Born in Aleppo, Mr Kredi came to the United States in 1983. He said: “I’m from Syria. I was born with Arabs. I came from Arabs, we know the Arabs, we love the Arabs. They come to us on Saturday for Havdalah, they help us, we talk to them, we love them. In this community we have a lot of Arabs on Fifth Avenue.
“We go to them, they know us, we do business together, we joke together sometimes. I want the whole world to hear me. I’m not against anybody, I love everybody. I love the Arabs, I love the Jews, I love the Christians. I wish for everybody the best. But I don’t want nobody to come near my family if they’re going to fool me about like this.”
Mr Kredi’s daughter had met Hawila on a Jewish dating website, and believed him to be Jewish when they got married earlier this year.
Since his deception was uncovered, she has been living apart from him in a safe house, and has even lost her job as a result of all the public attention.
Mr Kredi said: “It’s going to take time. The pain is not going to go away for two, three, four months. This is big pain he caused. Hashem, he knows why this happened. Slowly everything’s going to go back to normal.