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February 29, 2016 7:54 am

Bulgarian Immigrant to Israel With Hemophilia Risks Life for Circumcision to Complete Conversion to Judaism

avatar by David Daoud

The Mayanei Hayeshua Medical Center in Bnei Brak. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The Mayanei Hayeshua Medical Center in Bnei Brak. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

An 18-year-old with a rare type of hemophilia risked undergoing a circumcision in order to fulfill his dream of completing his conversion to Judaism, the Israeli news site Walla reported on Monday.

Stefan Stoyanov moved to Israel from his native Bulgaria in 2010, joining his mother, Sarah, who had been there for two years. In 2014, after learning Hebrew and spending time studying in a yeshiva, Stefan decided he wanted to convert to Judaism. However, multiple doctors refused to circumcise him because of his medical condition.

But Stefan was undeterred, said Walla. With the help of his rabbi, Dov Kook, he connected with Professor Uriel Martinovich, the founder of the Israel National Hemophilia Center at the Sheba Medical Center/Tel HaShomer, who agreed to perform the operation.

Last week, Martinovich and a medical team he brought together operated on Stefan at the Mayanei Hayeshua Medical Center in Bnei Brak. Though the risks were high — and Stefan said he had been afraid he would die on the operating table — the circumcision was successful and he was finally able to complete his conversion, taking the Hebrew name “Yosef.”

Rabbis and public figures came to visit and bless Yosef for becoming, in his words, “a kosher Jew.”

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