British Columbia

Sheep heading to Israel thanks to Abbotsford, B.C. farm

"Israel doesn't have these sheep at the moment and we believe we are returning a part of ancient history and a part of Jewish culture back to its source," says Gil Lewinsky.

Jewish couple started with 4 animals, now they have the largest flock in Canada

Abbotsford farm to return Jacob sheep to Israel

6 years ago
Duration 2:05
Couple breeding ancient, biblical sheep in B.C. to repopulate them in Holy Land.

Abbotsford, B.C. is playing a central role in bringing an ancient breed of sheep — Jacob sheep — to Israel.

"They have a description that the bible has for them," said Gil Lewinsky, who along with his wife Jenna have made it their mission to raise the animals and take them to the Holy Land.

"They have speckled spots and knee bands and also they are horned breed of sheep, both males and females giving them a goat like appearance."

Jacob sheep raised on a farm in Abbotsford B.C. where the Lewinskys have increased their flock to 100 animals. (Tim Seacare/Mustard Seed Images)

The sheep are named after the biblical patriarch who is said to have received the "speckled and spotted" animals as wages.

The couple — who learned about the sheep by chance — started with just four animals they found on a heritage farm in Vernon, B.C. 18 months ago, but now have the largest flock in Canada at 100.

"[It is] because of our faith in God that we continue to do this work and we believe that it is very important in Canadian values to conserve animals," said Jenna.

"Israel doesn't have these sheep at the moment and we believe we are returning a part of ancient history and a part of Jewish culture back to its source," added Gil.

Over hundreds of years the animals spread around the world as part of trading and commerce, but have long been extinct in Israel according to the Lewinskys.

The Lewinskys have been raising money through their website to finance their project, but they've also enlisted the help of volunteers like Cheryl Paterson.

"I'm the baby fan," she said. "They're all just so cute and unique and love to cuddle when you feed them. So they [have] all got little different personalities."

In February, Israel's ambassador to Canada visited the farm and the Israeli embassy in Canada has been busy setting up agreements between the two countries so the animals can travel there.

The Lewinskys hope to take the sheep to Israel sometime in July on a specially out-fitted airplane and establish the animals at a heritage park there.

with files from Meera Bains


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