A photo of Yael Ruvel

Yael Ruvel

Zefat, Israel


Faith is everything, faith is life, faith is what there is. I believe that without faith we have nothing, there is no life. For me, in my personal experience, God is like a father. A father who worries about you, takes care of you, makes sure that things happen. Even if we don’t hear from Him or speak to Him every day, God is still there inside of me.

Daniel’s Reflection

Yael Ruvel was born in Ethiopia and immigrated with her family to Israel when she was a young child. Yael and her family are observant Orthodox Jews, and even as a young woman in her second year of college classes, Yael’s faith is deep. She believes “without faith, we have nothing.”

I was deeply moved by Yael and her faith and optimism, her gratitude for all of life. In fact, Yael’s gratitude reminded me of my own profound lack of gratitude for so many years as a teenager and young adult. Portraits in Faith taught me that gratitude must be the center of faith and that only a life of being grateful was worth living.

Years later, I corresponded with Yael where she shared: “It was interesting to watch the video. It’s feels like it’s someone else on the video. I am married to a man who doesn’t believe in God and we have two children. I still believe in God and eat kosher food, observe Shabbat, and traditions but unfortunately not like I did in the past. I think that life happens and changes you.”

I honor that each of our journeys change and that even the faith expressed by anyone in this project changes over time. To me that is a beautiful part of faith, not its consistency.

Thank you to Yael Ruvel for reminding me of this lesson of gratitude and that faith is a lifelong journey and challenge.  

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