How a Kuwaiti Muslim discovered his Jewish roots

by Michael Sax

Imagine growing up as a Muslim in Kuwait learning that Jews are monsters. And then imagine finding out that you are one of them. Would you look into your Jewish roots? What Mark Halawa decided to do is unbelievable.

Mark Halawa – living as an Arab in Kuwait

Mark Halawa was born in Kuwait to a Palestinian family. He always knew that his grandmother was Jewish, but didn’t think that he was. As a child in Kuwait, Mark attended private schools. His father tried to protect him from the rampant hatred against Jews and Christians. In fact, the poisonous atmosphere convinced Mark that Jews are monsters. He was taught that Jews were planted in the Arab world to prevent Arab unity.

Coming to Canada

In 1998, Mark moved to Canada and enrolled in a university. He enjoyed the multiculturalism there. One day he met a Jew. It turns out this Jew was Dr. Block, a retired professor who studied at Harvard. The two spoke. Mark revealed that his maternal grandmother was Jewish. Then Dr. Block explained that according to Jewish law, Mark was Jewish! Mark explained that his grandmother converted to Islam. However, Dr. Block explained that even if a Jew converts ten times, they still remain Jewish.

Exploring Jewish roots

Mark Halawa spoke with his mother and grandmother. He researched the topic on his own as well. And he concluded that Dr. Block was correct – he was Jewish! Mark decided to go to synagogue. He met wonderful people there and his journey began to fascinate him. They were from Egypt and Yemen and Poland – and they were all Jewish!

Mark then began to learn about Purim, the miraculous story of God delivering the Jewish people from the evil Haman. He greatly admired Mordechai and Esther. Mark eventually went to Israel and continued learning about Judaism. He married and started a family of his own. Mark Halawa is building his own Jewish family now, one that his grandmother could never have imagined. What an inspiring story! Everyone needs to hear this, especially Arabs raised on lies.

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