Despite Worldwide Efforts, Young Jewish Prisoner May Have Lost Chance

[COMMUNICATED]  22-year-old Rivka Zuaretz has been in the news regularly for the past month, as readers have followed her shocking story: Zuaretz was part of a small group of religious Israeli girls who were tricked into traveling internationally with goods that are legal in Israel but illegal elsewhere.

Much to the girls’ shock, they were arrested at the airport in Bulgaria and have since been imprisoned in difficult conditions. The Bulgarian legal system seeks to keep them for 15 years, an extremely harsh sentence. 

Rivka’s family has fought as hard as they could to provide her with kosher food and legal help. Her mother and father are extremely limited in their financial abilities, as they hold regular, middle class jobs. Rivka has wept on phone calls with her parents, terrified by her inability to communicate with those around her. Violent criminals have surrounded the girls, threatening their safety. Many have donated to her pidyon shvuyim fund, and watched closely to see her fate.

This Thursday Rivka’s story will end. Whether the ending will be a happy or tragic one, however, has yet to be seen. The courts have given the Zuaretz until Thursday to reach their goal of $200,000. If the sum of money is raised, then Rivka will be able to walk free and return to her family. If the total is not raised, there is no telling what will become of her.

“We have come too far to give up now,” reads an urgent update made today to the family’s Chesed Fund page.

Those who are interested in partaking in the rare mitzvah of ‘pidyon shvuyim’ (releasing a Jewish captive) can join the family’s desperate mission to reach their goal by Thursday. 




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