We started a campaign to save the historical home of our father and mother, the late Rabbi Abel and Mrs. Sarah Respes. We appreciate your support and thank you kindly. Sincerely Elkanah, Joel and Gamliel Respes
Thank you so much for your generosity in helping our campaign. Please feel free to spread the word as any amount is appreciated.
**Campaign to Save the Home of Rabbi Abel and Sarah Respes**
Rabbi Respes spent a lifetime urging Jews of Color to find their roots.
Rabbi Respes began his path to Judaism through a series of signs and dreams. He believed the dreams and signs were a message. For example, he dreamt that he was in a Jewish bookstore and later he found himself in front of that same bookstore. In another dream, he heard the words, “ Seek G d “. When visiting his Grandmother in the hospital, he reached for the hospital Bible and was told that was not their Bible. Later on his father would tell him their family was Jewish. As a young man he married Sarah Respes and worked for the Campbell Soup Company. He was passionate about studying Judaism. He taught himself how to read and write Hebrew. He turned his home in Philadelphia into a synagogue but due to racism and anti-semitism, he moved his family and congregation to Hammonton, NJ where he built a synagogue and five homes.
The late Rabbi Rackman and Rabbi Bomzer, both distinguished Rabbis from New York, met with Rabbi Respes and were in awe of his depth and passion for history and Judaism. His fascinating story prompted them to work with him to create a space for other Jews who lost their identity. He diligently worked on the Jewish Welfare Board of America and began his quest in finding other Jews of color in the Delaware Valley area. Both Rabbi Rackman and Rabbi Bomzer had great admiration for Rabbi Respes. When he wanted to make aliyah to Israel, the Rabbi’s did not make Rabbi Respes, his family and congregation members go before a beit din. They deemed him to be a learned Rabbi who through his extensive studying and knowledge paved the way for other Jews of color from New York, Delaware Valley and around the country to learn from his teachings.Rabbi Abel Respes spoke to congregations throughout the country, and he even hosted his own radio broadcast. Members of the family and congregation went into the Mikvah as a reaffirmation. Years later after his death, members of his family have traced their DNA to Iberia, Iberia Peninsula where in history a huge population of the crypto-Jews of the Spanish Inquisition came from.
Rabbi Respes and Sarah were guiding lights in their community and their historical home serves as a historical site of their determination and perseverance. The Respes family story and legacy are not just for Jews of Color, but for all Jews and for all people. Please help our brothers and sisters save this piece of history in order for generations to come to learn about Rabbi Abel Respes and his remarkable legacy.
Saving our parent's historical residence. My brother and I have started a campaign to save the historical home of our late father and mother, Rabbi Abel and Sarah Respes. We are grateful for any amount you give and ask that you please share with others. Every little bit helps. Thank you in advance.
Elkanah (Al) and Joel Respes
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The average share raises $97.