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If Romney wins: Five things every Jew should know about Mormonism

October 19, 2012

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney at a campaign rally in Westerville, Ohio, on Sept. 26. Photo by REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney at a campaign rally in Westerville, Ohio, on Sept. 26. Photo by REUTERS/Brian Snyder

1. Devout Mormons can be found all across the political spectrum.

The Mormon Church doesn’t endorse candidates or political parties, and although most American Mormons are Republicans, a Mormon Democrat has served as the Senate Majority Leader for the last five years. Owing to our history of persecution and emphasis on self-reliance, there is also a noteworthy group of Mormons with libertarian sympathies who do not easily identify with either party.

Mormons can be found on all sides of most issues. On immigration, for example, many Mormons tend to be more liberal than other Republicans (or Democrats, for that matter). Many of us have served missions abroad, and tend not to be too judgmental of people who come here seeking a better life. Although Mormons generally agree on many important moral issues (see below), there is no consensus on economics and the proper role of government. We all agree, for example, that we have an obligation to help the poor. However, the extent to which government should help meet their needs by taxing others is a point of contention among followers of most faiths, including ours.

2. Mormonism is part of the Judeo-Christian tradition.

Our church (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) bears the name of the Christian Savior, we believe in the God of Israel, we accept the Hebrew Bible and New Testament as Scripture, we worship in chapels and temples, and we consider ourselves to be covenant Israelites. Mormons follow the Ten Commandments and are Noahides. In addition, the Abrahamic Covenant is central to our faith. Like Jews, the family is central to our faith, and our idea of heaven is to live with our spouses and families for eternity.

3. A Mormon president would not take orders from Salt Lake City.

If Mitt Romney wins, he’ll undoubtedly have the same arrangement with top church leaders that other Mormons have with local leaders: They don’t tell us how to do our jobs, and we don’t tell them how to run the church. Even Romney’s most intractable foes haven’t accused LDS church headquarters of drafting Romneycare in Massachusetts, and it’s safe to assume that church leaders aren’t behind Harry Reid’s shameful promotion of Las Vegas gambling interests in Washington. Mormons are used to looking to their leaders for spiritual advice, not professional guidance. While I would certainly expect Romney to consult with Mormon leaders as part of his general outreach efforts to faith communities (including Jewish leaders), I am confident that he will be his own man when it comes to formulating policies for the nation. I am also confident that Mormons will not be overrepresented in his administration, as Romney has a history of hiring capable people from all backgrounds to work for him.

4. On moral issues, Mormons are not extreme right-wingers.

A closer look shows the views of most Mormons on these issues to be much more nuanced. Let’s take abortion, for example. The LDS church is very much against it but does allow for possible exceptions in the case of rape, incest, a threat to the mother’s life or when the baby is not expected to survive childbirth. That’s pretty much Romney’s campaign’s abortion platform.

On gay issues, it is accurate to say that Mormons oppose state-sanctioned, same-sex marriage. However, it is both inaccurate and insulting to say that we are anti-gay. We can and do support many other issues that are important to gays. For example, former LDS Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) introduced a Senate bill that would have added sexual orientation to the list of protected categories for hate crimes. Every Mormon I know is opposed to discrimination against gays in education, employment and housing. We also support rights for same-sex couples regarding hospitalization and medical care, probate rights, etc., so long as the integrity of the traditional family is not affected. As for theology, the LDS church teaches that homosexuality is not sinful in and of itself, as long as one remains chaste.

Although Mormons tend to have more children than the national average, our church doesn’t take a position on birth control. In addition, the church takes no position on capital punishment, stem-cell research, evolution or global warming. As a result, faithful Mormons are advocates for positions on all sides of these issues.

5. Mormons are philo-Semites and pro-Israel.

One of our basic Articles of Faith affirms: “We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes.” In 1841, LDS Apostle Orson Hyde offered a prayer on the Mount of Olives dedicating the Land of Israel for the gathering of the Jews. Israel went on to receive at least 11 apostolic blessings before the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. For more than five decades (1870s-1920s), the church seriously considered establishing a Mormon colony in Palestine. Today, Brigham Young University has a beautiful center on Mount Scopus with the best view of the Old City in Jerusalem.

In the United States, Mormon pioneers arrived in the Utah territory in 1847. The first Jews arrived two years later, in 1849. The first Jewish worship service was held in 1864 in Salt Lake City. Rosh Hashanah was celebrated in Temple Square (the city center) in 1865. Brigham Young donated his personal land for a Jewish cemetery in 1866. In 1903, church President Joseph F. Smith spoke at the ceremony for the laying of the cornerstone for the state’s first Orthodox synagogue, which was largely paid for by the church. The second and third Jewish governors in the country were elected in Idaho (1914) and Utah (1916), the two states with the highest percentage of Mormons. Salt Lake City had a Jewish mayor by 1932, more than four decades before New York City.

Most Mormons in this country are very pro-Israel, and Romney is no exception. He has a close, decades-long personal relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who looks likely to be elected to another term. If Romney is elected, Jews and Israelis can be assured that they will have a true friend in the White House.

Mark Paredes writes the Jews and Mormons blog for the Jewish Journal and is a member of the LDS church's Jewish Relations Committee for Southern California. Read the Jews and Mormons blog

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A Mormon Girl Among Jews

At Sunday school, I learned about the Israelites and end-times. Then bar mitzvah season began.

By Joanna Brooks|August 8, 2012

Before I met any Jewish people, I learned about Jews in my Mormon Sunday school classes. But no one used the word “Jews.” Instead, it was always “Israel,” or “the tribes of Israel,” or “Israelites.” Or maybe even “Hebrews.”

During sacrament meeting on Sunday morning, I would trace the movements of the Israelites charted on the colored maps at the back of my scriptures. Perhaps the most important of these movements, I learned, was the exodus of a small family of Israelites led by a righteous man named Lehi away from the land of their ancestors and across the ocean to the Americas, where they grew and divided and clashed and became the civilizations of the Book of Mormon.

In Sunday school, I studied the colorful Arnold Friberg Book of Mormon illustrations that my teacher propped up on her knees as we all sat in our little semicircle of child-sized chairs. The Israelites in these pictures were tall, dark-haired, and heroically muscled. Their expertly crafted wooden ships parted the waters as they approached some unspecified American coastline. At the center of the painting stood Lehi, the white-bearded patriarch, looking toward the heavens in prayer as the rest of the traveling party strained to see land on the horizon; his wife, Sariah, clung to him and silently rested her head upon his shoulder, eyes closed.

After church, because our family kept the Sabbath, I was not allowed to watch secular television, only Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments. Sunday afternoons, my sisters and brother and I would watch the Israelites—mostly tall and sculpted (Charlton Heston, John Derek) or lovely and lithe (Yvonne DeCarlo)—act and reenact their epic journey from slavery and across the sea and the deserts to freedom.

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The Passover Haggadah

A brief overview of the book that serves as guide, script, and liturgy of the Passover seder.By Rabbi Louis Jacobs

Excerpted with permission from The Jewish Religion: A Companion, published by Oxford University

Rabbi Louis Jacobs Press.Haggadah--"the telling"--[is] the book containing the passages dealing with the theme of the Exodus recited at the Passover seder. The reading of the Haggadah is based on the verse, "You shall tell your son on that day: it is because of what the Lord did for me when I came forth out of Egypt" (Exodus 13:8).

Although the Talmud mentions some features of the "telling" by the father [or other leader] at the seder, no formal Haggadah was produced until the Middle Ages, when the current form was established in essence and became universally accepted.

The Haggadah now contains passages from early and late sources dealing with the Exodus, instructions for the conduct of the seder, Psalms, and other songs of praise, grace before and after meals, concluding in the Ashkenazic version with a number of table songs.

It has been estimated that no fewer than 2,000 different editions of the Haggadah have been published. No other Jewish sacred book has enjoyed such popularity. The Haggadah is, of course, a sacred book. Its theme, the delivery of the people of Israel from Egyptian bondage, is more than a celebration of freedom as such. It is a celebration of the freedom the people of Israel attained in order to become God's people and receive His Torah.

Yet even secular Jews enjoy the Passover Seder and read the Haggadah as the ancient manifesto of liberty for all. Very few secular Jews, however, have gone so far as to produce an edition of the Haggadah, like the notorious "Godless Haggadah," from which all the references to God and His deliverance have been removed.

Many Haggadot have been published with commentaries by outstanding scholars and many are richly illustrated. Illuminated manuscripts and early editions of the Haggadah are now highly prized collectors' items.

Rabbi Dr. Louis Jacobs (1920-2006) was a Masorti rabbi, the first leader of Masorti Judaism (also known as Conservative Judaism) in the United Kingdom, and a leading writer and thinker on Judaism.

Joseph Smith Papers website

Now access the new site at This is a wonderful addition to the LDS online presence. The intent of this new site is to "compile, transcribe, annotate and publish all of the known papers of Joseph Smith, including his revelations, journals, sermons, correspondence, business documents and other papers written by him or by others under his direction".

The Prophet Joseph Smith's Presidential Platform

With the 2012 elections coming up next year, we'll hear a lot about presidential promises and political posturing. Here's the official platform of the Prophet Joseph Smith when he formally decided to be a presidential candidate on January 29, 1844. What did he hope to accomplish?

A central banking system owned by the government, with the mother bank at Washington and branch banks in the several states.

The annexation of Texas upon her application, and the extending of an invitation to Mexico and Canada to become parts of the USA.

The immediate occupation and settlement of the Oregon region.

The reduction of the National Congress, the House tw-thirds and the Senate one-half.

The freedom of the slaves through purchase by the Federal Government, the funds to be obtained by the sale of public lands.

A reform of the prison system, which would make the prisons workhouses and seminaries of learning.

The building by the government of a dam across the Mississippi River at Keokuk and the construction of locks to aid shipping around the rapids.

A reform of the strict military punishment for desertion in time of war.

A high tariff to protect young industries.

From: The Restored Church, William Edward Barrett

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Review: Benite’s The Ten Lost Tribes

Nine tenths of those who come into this Church are the pure blood of Israel, the greater portion being purely of the blood of Ephraim. He was the first-born, and the first blessing of old Jacob was upon Ephraim. Joseph was a saviour to the house of his father, and will be to the whole house of Israel in the last days. We are Israel, we are already a portion of that venerable house. . . . You will never see a man called to preside in the Priesthood of God on the earth who is not purely of the blood of Abraham. –Brigham Young.

Mormon Israelism is peculiar, both in regards to the indigenous population of the American continents as well as to persistent beliefs, readily observed in the patriarchal blessings of each member, that most members are descendants of and heirs to the ten lost tribes of Israel. It is consequently no surprise that Mormonism figures prominently in Zvi Ben-Dor Benite’s recent world history of the ten tribes. However, Benite fundamentally miscomprehends Mormonism in relation to his subject.

Benite’s stated task is a world history, tracing the ten tribes across time and place, from the kernels of historicity to the most developed modern myths and beliefs. Overall, he succeeds in communicating that history. The story of the tribes is vast, spanning millennia of cultural evolution and exchange. After introducing his volume, Benite begins with the foundational narrative of the Bible, which describes the political division of Israel and Judah, followed by Assyria’s subsequent defeat and depopulation of Northern Israel. Importantly, Benite uses extant Assyrian records and up-to-date scholarship to contextualize not only the actual events but the consumption of their interpretation within the self-reinforcing framework of contemporary Assyrian propaganda. This framework then expands as the known world expands from the Persian and Islamic spheres of influence and then to the New World.

The significance of the ten tribes to various religions and their spiritualization is also a key theme throughout the work. Perhaps due to the popularity of authors such as Margaret Barker, the idea of Josiah’s reformation with its crafty Deuteronomists may not be as unpalatable to Mormons as it might have been just a few years ago. Benite shows just how such reformations transformed the lost ten tribes into a spiritual (and political) force. The lost tribes as a contiguous people, however, do not really exist until after the Jewish Bible. “The rudiments of a tale about the loss of an Israelite group were encoded in the biblical era,” writes Benite, “but the emergence of a distinct entity known as ‘the lost tribes’ or the ‘ten tribes’ is a legacy of the postbiblical period, and it is only then that the ten tribes come into being as a distinct collective category within ‘the people of Israel’ and are assigned a distinct place within world geography and a role in world history” (58). Perhaps the most significant development in the history of the tribes was the creation of the book of 2 Esdras, a pseudepigraphal work, which, building upon other apocrypha, elucidated the theology and geography of the tribes.

Through reinterpretation, rabbinic and other, the tribes chose exile for purity’s sake and became a powerful people. Midrashic sources describe their return, from across a sabbatic river and from deep within the earth. The history is punctuated with pivotal appearances by characters, frauds–pious or not–that expanded the myth and for some, gave it concrete reality. The current state of Israel naturalizes the Falasha (Jewish Ethopians) based on the association of Ethopia with the tribe of Dan by Eldad ha-Dani, one such ninth-century trickster.

Christian interest in the ten tribes is of rather late vintage. It was not until the second millennium C.E. that Christians engaged the tribes, exchanging knowledge with Jews, with each crafting narratives favorable to their own perspectives. Christians associated the tribe with the myth of Prester John. Benite shows how, with the expanding world, both Protestants and Catholics sought for the ten tribes, first on the borders of the Old World, then in the Canary Islands, and then in the New World. The belief that native peoples in the American continents were the lost tribes was common well into the nineteenth century. Benite also addresses the origins of British Israelism, another important context for Mormonism (see here).

Benite’s unfamiliarity with Mormonism, however, is betrayed by casual mistakes: referring to the Church as “the Mormon Church of the Latter-day Saints” (187) and dating the Kirtland Temple theophany to 1831 (186). He relied heavily on R. Clayton Brough’s The Lost Tribes  for the bulk of his Mormon sources. This volume, while somewhat useful, is dated and historiographical flawed. Benite frames the tribes in a theology of loss (14–22) which the author rightly recognizes as being reflected in Mormonism (185 & 198). The garden of Eden, Zion (both ancient and modern), and Israel were all just beyond the reach of early Mormons and served as archetypes for the Restoration. However, Benite does not see this broader resonance and is not clear in his explication of the Book of Mormon, framing it as an attempt to save the history of the ten lost tribes and their American landing from science, which was beginning to dismantle such theories:

As revelations, Mormon claims are immune to any scientific challenge—not the case with the Jewish Indian theory, which relied on ethnographic findings. Nevertheless, scientific challenges to Mormonism have been an integral part of its history since its inception. And for its part, Mormon science is interested in proving the correlation between the various nations mentioned in the Book of Mormon and, for instance, the mound builders. (187)

Though many nineteenth-century authors such as Ethan Smith asserted an American geography for the ten tribes, the Book of Mormon does not. The bulk of its narrative revolves around Hebrews which traveled to America before the Babylonian captivity. True, the Book of Mormon incorporates the history of similar refugees led by God from before the Assyrian deportation and after the tower of Babel, but all the characters of the Book are outside of the lost tribes.
Furthermore, as evidenced in the opening quotation of this review, Mormons not only saw Hebrews in Native Americans, but also in themselves. Benite acknowledged early Mormon discourse regarding Zion and Israel, but he failed to see the prominent and intense belief that Mormons are literally descendants of the lost tribes. Related to British Israelism, early Mormons generally viewed the tribes as assimilated in the cultures of the world. Their descendants were indistinguishable from the unmixed populations except by their reaction to the gospel. Two years after the organization of the Church, the Evening and Morning Star printed “The Ten Tribes,” an article, which delineated the early Mormon view, based on tradition but also heavily influenced by the Book of Mormon’s allegory of the olive tree (Jacob 5), that God scattered the tribes all over the world. 

Joseph Smith and other early Mormons did appear to believe in the traditional eschatological return of the remnant tribes from “the northern countries,” but it is not until the early and middle twentieth century that Mormon leaders invested more heavily in the myth, with many believing in supernaturally obscured intact tribes.   By J. Stapley
Search this interesting blogsite:  A 2010 article

The 13 Articles of Faith - LDS

We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.

We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression.

We believethat through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.

We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.

We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.

We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.

We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.

We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.

We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.

We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.

We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

The Prophet Joseph Smith

History of the Church, Vol. 4, pp. 535—541

A sourcebook for understanding Jewish life

A sourcebook for understanding Jewish life
Reprinted with additions. $10. Order today!

Jewish celebration in Ghetto

Jewish celebration in Ghetto
Archive photo - 18th Century

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Palm it from Russia east or west to see remainder of world's geography,

Get Ye Understanding...

In the beginning God didn't rest until He created man in His own image. In the end He won't rest until man creates in himself the likeness of God. Joseph Smith, Jr.
Marlena's websites:
http:// Info re firesides, see and order books, ebooks, Judaica, links to Jewish sites, much more. - link to Israel Historical References. Eleven articles from Church scholars on Israel, Jewish migrations, Arab-Israeli conflict,etc.
Order my novel- Historical fiction - Ukraine Holocaust story. My books are $10. I mail the items. To order, click on first website. All funds go toward republishing.

Charming Video of Jewish Girls' Thoughts on God

Approximate Timeline of Hebrew Events

The Talmud teaches that there are three things that can change the course of a person's life -

Teshuva (correcting your mistakes between you and the Almighty, and between you and your fellow man), Tefillah (heartfelt prayer), and Tzedakah (acts of righteousness, charity).

Check out my friend Mark Paredes' wonderful blog:

He writes well and is timely concerning issues of the Mormon and Jewish communities.

International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies, Inc.

LinksInternational Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS)

Government Archives With Documents/Index On-Line

Australian National Archives
Austrian National Archives
Library and Archives of Canada
France National Archives
German National Archives
New Zealand on-line vital records
Poland's National Archives
ScotlandsPeople – National

Government Source for genealogical data for Scotland National Archives of the United Kingdom
General Interest Avotaynu / Cyndi's List of genealogical sites Family History Library Family History Library Pilot for new data on–line Easy Google Genealogy / Hebrew Immigrant Aide Society (New York City) Jewish Encyclopedia NY Public Library Digital Collection- Photographs and
Maps / Phone Book of the World Variety of helpful tools

European Websites / Internet Archive of Jewish Periodicals (German) 1806 -1938 Federation of Eastern European Family History Societies Grand Duchy of Lithuania Project Jewish Historical Institute (Warsaw,
Poland) Museum of Family History A virtual, multimedia website
created by Steven Lasky dedicated to those searching their Eastern European roots. The Project_Virtual Shtetl Museum of the History of Polish Jews Poor Jews Shelter (Site for immigration from
Eastern Europe to South Africa with temporary stay in England) Foreign Directories, Yizkor Book Search- Logan Kleinwaks Free and pay site on different databases Jewish sites in
Poland / Miriam Weiner's Roots to Routes Eastern European Archival

Holocaust Websites Auschwitz Database Alternate Auschwitz Database Site Warsaw Ghetto Database Tracing Service- Bad Arolsen Documentation Center for Austrian Resistance Steven Spielberg's Shoah Foundation Entrance Yad Vashem Central Database Shoah
Israel Websites genealogy
Beth Hatefutsoth - Douglas E. Goldman Genealogy Center In Israel Yad Vashem Jewish National Library Central Zionist Archives of Israel

Latin America Websites Center for Studies Latin American
Immigration—Buenos Aires (Spanish) Buenos Aires, Argentina Jewish Cemetery Indices
(Spanish) AMIA= Buenos Aires Kehila Brazil immigration indexed database
arrival records for the Port of Santos (Portuguese)

Maps Library of Congress Map Library Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection David Rumsey Historical Map Collection Google Maps University of Toronto Map Collection

Newspapers Canadian Jewish Review Google Newspapers historical archives Library of Congress Chronicling America Historic American
Newspapers Newspapers archives on line NYState Newspapers including Brooklyn Eagle to 1950 and
NY Times to 1920’s Directory of newspapers on-line free and pay sites

Sephardic Websites Sephardic Genealogy Resources / Sephardic Name Search Engine plus more

South African Websites South African Jewish Database-Kaplan Centre for Jewish Migration and Genealogy Studies Poor Jews Shelter (Site for immigration from
Eastern Europe to South Africa with temporary stay in England)

United States Websites American Jewish Archives (Cincinnati, OH) Castle Garden (New York City) / Center for Jewish History (New York City) Houses American Jewish Historical
Society, American Sephardi Federation, Leo Baeck Institute, Yeshiva University Museum and the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research Ellis Island (New York) Google Newspaper Search ( some are fee for service) NYC Public Library Dorot Jewish Collection NYC Municipal Archives - NYC and LI index to vital and naturalization records National Archives (USA) NARA Genealogy Site NARA database military records (USA) military records US Personnel Center St Louis
MO (USA) genealogy United States Citizenship and Immigration Service

Prepared by Jan Meisels Allen, Director, IAJGS on 7/02/09 for 29th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy Resource Room

Copyright 2000-2009, International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies, Inc.
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Adventures With the Angels of Love

Adventures With the Angels of Love
Perfect gift for teens, young adults

Missionary and Marlena at her fireside

Missionary and Marlena at her fireside

Bound for Glory

Bound for Glory
A Restored Mahzor (Jewish prayer book)

My historical fiction novel of 1940's in Europe

My historical fiction novel of 1940's in Europe
Meet the two families - read their stories

Wailing Wall At Dusk

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Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem

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Belarus, Ukraine

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Fireside in Kirkland - March '09

Fireside in Kirkland - March '09

13 Uplifting Stories of LDS Converts

DVD - My Fireside March 2009


May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord make His face shine upon you.
and be gracious to you.
May the Lord turn His face toward you,
and give you peace.
Numbers 6:24-26

Map Of Israel

Map Of Israel
...and the remnant shall be gathered again...

Surprises in every section!

Surprises in every section!
Stories, psalms, essays, more

Morning beauties

Morning beauties

The Hasidim (Pious Ones)

The Hasidim (Pious Ones)
Frederic Aranda

Angels are always in our midst...

Angels are always in our midst...
Have you blessed another life today?