Noahides Study the Noahide Code in Yonkers, NY

Graduation Event for Students of the Noahide Code

A group of 15 Gentiles who identify as Bnai Noach, or “Children of Noah,” and their Orthodox Jewish teacher gathered in the evening on Sep. 5, 20’19, at the Ohel Visitor Center in Queens (Brooklyn, NY), for a unique occasion: a graduation ceremony for those in their group who had completed a course on the Noahide Code that is being taught in Yonkers.

The teacher for this group, Rachel Fajardo, has a fascinating background. Unaware of her Jewish roots, she became very active as a pastor, and over a number of years she opened 14 churches. But then, her mother who was passing away told her and gave her tangible evidence of the family secret that she was a Jew. As Rachel began to investigate her Jewish faith, her oldest son became fully observant, and he pressed his mother to begin teaching about the 7 Laws of Noah.

She took up this challenge to put into practice the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s directives for teaching Gentiles about the Noahide Laws. For her source texts, she chose The Divine Code (the English edition of Sheva Mitzvos HaShem) – a comprehensive presentation by Rabbi Moshe Weiner of Jerusalem on the Noahide Code in Torah law, and To Perfect the World – a compilation and translation by Rabbi Yehoishophot Oliver of the Rebbe’s directives for promoting and teaching the Noahide Code. She also made use of videos of the Rebbe with messages that are universally relevant.

After moving to Yonkers and joining Rabbi Levi Welton’s congregation, she reached out to Dr. Michael Schulman, Executive Director of the organization Ask Noah International which produced those books, to get advice about the class for Gentiles that she was teaching at the location of her shul. He advised her to add another book for the class: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge, also by Rabbi Weiner, which includes the fundamentals of Torah-based faith and Divine service for Righteous Gentiles.

She decided to publicize a graduation ceremony at the Ohel Visitor Center on Sep. 5 for those of her students who were the first to complete their study of The Divine Code during her 8-week course. Titled “Introduction to the Seven Laws of Noah,” it is designed to introduce fundamentals of belief and lifestyle for Chassidei Umos HaOlam (the Pious of the Nations of the World), and the study and practical application of the Noahide Code in their daily lives.

The trip and ceremony were led by Rabbi Levi Welton. Each graduate received a certificate from Mrs. Fajardo and Rabbi Yossi Schulman, Assistant Director of Ask Noah International. The students were led in singing a chassidic melody, and they also wrote down their heartfelt prayers to G-d and read them in the Rebbe’s Ohel. During the event, they expressed their deep gratitude for the guidance they received in the course, and that they felt inspired to spread the message of the Noahide Laws to more of their family members and acquaintances.

Others who attended in support of the event were: Rabbi Avraham Frank – a leader in the Rebbe’s campaign for a daily Moment of Silence in public schools; Rabbi Yerachmiel Altman – an author of Torah-based children’s books, and his wife Sara Chana; Arthur Goldberg – an activist for traditional Torah values and a member of the Beis Din for the Noahide Academy of Jerusalem; Rabbi Mendy Hurwitz, Director of Chabad-Lubavitch of Yonkers; and Rabbi Yitzchok Dovid Smith, Esq. – an activist for the Rebbe’s directives for teaching the Noahide Code.

Rabbis Yossi Schulman and Yitzchok Dovid Smith listen as Rachel Fajardo speaks to her Noahide students at their graduation event.