From Kuwait to Jerusalem
Mark Halawa was born into a secular Muslim family in Kuwait. His father owned a successful construction business that provided a privileged life for him and his four siblings. Then the First Gulf War changed his life when he was 12 years old. His father's business was destroyed and the family left Kuwait, moving first to Amman, Jordan, and eventually immigrating to Canada. Although a non-observant Muslim, his father was "rabidly anti-Israel," he says.
But Mark had heard vague family rumors, which proved to be true, that his maternal grandmother was Jewish. While studying at the University of Western Ontario, he met a rabbi who explained that based on Jewish law, which determines religion through the mother, he was a Jew. He then began to explore his religious roots, which ultimately led him to Israel to study Yeshiva. He now balances work with business projects, promoting common values among countries in the Middle East, and sharing his story and hopes for peace through speaking engagements. Join us to share his story of personal discovery.