"Jacob Sheep Send-Off Gala" Held In Hamilton, Ontario
“The Jacob Sheep Send Off Gala” was held on Monday evening in Hamilton, Ontario and was hosted by the Hamilton Jewish Federation. The event featured many distinguished guests including Rafael Barak, the Israeli ambassador to Canada and Galit Baram, the Consul General of Toronto. Many other notable guests were in attendance including Gil and Jenna Lewinsky, the owners of the Jacob sheep flock, Barb Babij, C.E.O. of the Hamilton Jewish Federation and Michal Ben Drori of the Jewish Agency for Israel.
“Today, we are here because of the work of two amazing people that have brought the past alive, Jenna and Gil Lewinsky,” Ambassador Barak said, referring to how the Jacob sheep story originally began in the Biblical chapter of Genesis. “You sparked the imagination of the entire world, from the New York Times to the South African Sunday Times and media reports in Mandarin and Russian and this became a truly global story.”
The journey of the ancient, rare flock of Jacob sheep is almost complete as they prepare to embark on a nearly 6,000 mile flight to Tel Aviv. “What you’re seeing now is Jewish history being made,” Gil Lewinsky said. “For almost 2,000 years, the Jewish people were wandering around the world without a home, until 1948 when all was changed. Now it is a time for us to welcome the animal of our ancestors, the Jacob sheep, back home with us.”
When the sheep arrive in Israel this September, it will fulfill Biblical prophecy. “Their wanderings have now also come to an end. With the gracious help of the state of Israel, we will soon see Jacob Sheep eating the fertile grass on Israel’s mountains, just as Ezekiel foretold,” Gil said.
The Consul General of Toronto, Galit Baram mentioned the important “symbolic connection” between the shepherd and his flock, referring to how the Jewish people have been associated with shepherding since antiquity.
This is a story that has captivated audiences in many nations. “It was always my dream to wake up in the morning and to be part of a project that’s making a global impact,” Jenna said. “It’s no surprise that people around the world fell in love with this special Biblical flock.”
Ambassador Barak was very pleased to announce that last winter, Gil and Jenna named a baby lamb after him during his visit to the farm in British Columbia.
As the Lewinsky’s make final preparations to move from Canada to Israel, they thanked the countless volunteers over the years who have assisted with helping to make this dream a reality, in addition to numerous government officials for their support.
“The Jacob sheep project had and still has many challenges, but we overcome it by our faith in God,” Jenna said. “Long ago it became apparent to us that we are merely the custodians of Israel’s flock but that God above is the ultimate shepherd of this flock.”
The sheep are currently in quarantine and will be cleared for export as soon as their medical testing is complete. Once in Israel, the Lewinsky’s will create a visitor’s center for the Jacob sheep. “They will be safeguarded in the heritage park in the country’s north so that future generations of Israelis can see a part of their ancient history come back to life,” Gil said.
Ambassador Barak said “people that don’t remember their past is a people that don’t have a future, and for the Jewish people, the past is always present.” He also referenced a French historian who said “to be Jewish is to remember.” For the Jacob sheep flock, not only have they been remembered, but they will also soon flourish once again in their native land.