It was already dawn when I received a message from Jacqueline, the wife of Rabbi Gilberto Venturas, inviting me to a Brit Mila ceremony at the Ohel Avraham community in Recife. Brit Milah, meaning “circumcision alliance,” is the religious ceremony within Judaism in which the foreskin of the newborn is cut on the eighth day after he is born, as a symbol of the alliance between God and the people of Israel.
The rest of my evening was filled with words, teas, and preparations to advance the next day’s tasks as much as possible and thus be able to accept Jacqueline’s invitation with ease.
Soon, I was in front of house number 315 on a residential street in Recife. The house would go unnoticed were it not for the discreet star of David carved in cement in the doorway and a Mezuzah set in the portal. A lady opened the gate and I entered.
Honestly, it seemed that the curtains of time were opening right in front of my eyes, transporting to that moment and that place all the essence of a people that always aimed to be what it is and travelled so many different paths to get there. A people who mixed up, dyed their skin in different colors, learned to speak with different accents, but never had to rediscover themselves because they always were what they were, what they are meant to be. The power of “meant to be” is uncanny.