September Update

It’s not too late to support our new year fundraising campaign – help us continue our work in 5778 with a donation. Thank you! And thanks to those who have donated already!

Kulanu in the New York Times

Our 5778 is starting in style at Kulanu – we’ve been featured in an article in the New York Times! Merissa Nathan Gerson’s full-pate article in the Fashion and Style section focuses on the Namutumba Abayudaya in Uganda.

It offers a story of a mass Jewish wedding, the process of rabbinical ordination training in sub-Saharan Africa, and how the Abayudaya celebrate in style by honoring local and Jewish traditions.
Picture: from the NYT article. “From left, Naomi Namusoosa, Rachael Naigaga, and Naume Lunyato were three of the five Jewish brides who married Aug. 8 in the Namutumba District of Uganda.”Our congratulations to the brides and grooms and the whole Namutumba community, to our partner Rabbi Leila Gal Berner and her Ezra Uganda Assistance project for supporting this, to Rabbis Gershom Sizomu and Yafa Chase for their rabbinic leadership, and to journalist Merissa Nathan Gerson for her brilliant reporting!
If you want to donate directly to the Namutumba community, please click here! You can also follow the community on Facebook to keep up to date with their goings-on.

Join us in Connecticut on Oct. 1st

Please join us in Southbury, CT on Sunday October 1 at 2pm for the Western Connecticut Jewish Film Festival.
Not one but TWO Kulanu-related films will be shown: “Journey to Judaism” and “Doing Jewish: The Film”, about the Madagascar and Ghanaian Jewish communities respectively.
Afterwards, there will be a Q&A session with distinguished guests Harriet Bograd (President of Kulanu), Loren Berman (rabbinical student at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah recently returned from Ghana), and Joshua Kristal (filmmaker of “Journey to Judaism”).
Please click here to RSVP and for more information.
You’ll be able to buy challah covers and Kente Cloth tallitot from Ghana, Ethiopian baskets, and CDs from Uganda. Please bring cash or check to make your purchase. We’ll also have an after-party with light refreshments. If you are in the area, we’d love to see you at this great event!
Picture: filmmaker Jenn Mason, the mind behind “Doing Jewish”, in action on site in Ghana.

 

Happy New Year

Thanks for supporting Kulanu in 5777
Will you help us make 5778 another amazing year?
Happy Rosh Hashana from “all of us” at Kulanu! As this Jewish year comes to an end and we transition to 5778, we recognize some incredible moments among our communities and supporters:

  • Five Kulanu Global Teaching Fellows have returned home from Brazil, Guatemala, Uganda, Ivory Coast, and Ghana for the Holidays.
  • 114 Nicaraguans celebrate their first Rosh Hashana since their Kulanu-facilitated conversion.
  • Communities in Ivory Coast, Uganda, Nigeria and Gabon have improved access to technology, which will enhance their Jewish learning and contact with other communities in the coming year and beyond.
  • 11 Abayudaya camp counselors returned to Uganda after sharing their knowledge and experiences in the US over the summer.

 

 Please consider making a donation so that our work can continue next year. We rely entirely upon your generosity for all that we do, and our partner communities around the world thrive thanks to your donations.
At this time of year, diverse Jewish communities across the globe all partake in the same practices. Here’s a video of Alexandre Cornet from Abidjan, Ivory Coast, blowing the shofar in 5775/2014.
Shofar Blowing from Ivory Coast Jewish Community

Shana tova u’metuka from “all of us” at Kulanu,
and thanks for supporting our mission!

Kulanu Gathering in Jerusalem

Kulanu Jerusalem Meet and Greet

Kulanu Jerusalem Meet and Greet

From Steven Klein in Haaretz:

With little fanfare, a member of Uganda’s Abayudaya community, which embraced Judaism in the early 20th century, attended the Schusterman Foundation’s ROI program earlier this month. Just before returning to Uganda the participant, Namudosi Rachel, held a meet and greet in Jerusalem through Kulanu, a nonprofit organization (www.kulanu.org) that supports isolated, emerging and returning Jewish communities around the world at Kehilat Yedidya, a liberal Orthodox synagogue in Jerusalem. The meeting included former Israeli ambassador to Uganda, Arye Oded, who has written the authoritative history about the community.
read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.801270

JTF funds water and soil conservation project

Receiving the grant in San Francisco

Receiving the grant in San Francisco

Two Jewish Teen Foundations of the San Francisco Federation recently voted to award two grants to assist Lemba environmental efforts, totaling $18,000.

The grants will allow this Zimbabwean Jewish community to improve their agricultural self-sufficiency through a water and soil project. This should help even in times of political strife or drought.

Thank you to everyone who assisted with this fundraising effort, and thank you to the young people who selected Kulanu and the Lemba to receive this important contribution.

Kulanu Global Teaching Fellows

Miriam Liebman teaching about tefillin in Nasenyi, Uganda

Miriam Liebman teaching about tefillin in Nasenyi, Uganda

We are so proud of our team of Global Teaching Fellows who have served this summer in five global Jewish communities.

They are:

Miriam Liebman in Uganda
Loren Berman in Ghana
Eliyahu Freedman in Cote d’Ivoire
Natan Freller in Brazil
Margo Hughes-Robinson in Guatemala

Each of these rabbinical students comes from a different personal and religious background, embodying our vision of a pluralistic approach to Jewish belief and practice. They are supported by Kulanu board member Rabbi Elie Lehmann.

Keep up to date on what they’re doing via our Facebook page.

114 Conversions and 24 Weddings in Nicaragua!

Nicaraguan Brides by Ashira Slija Mejia

Nicaraguan Brides by Ashira Slija Mejia

This story was beautifully reported in Josefin Dolsten’s JTA article, “114 people just converted to Judaism in Nicaragua.”

Thanks to Kulanu’s vice president, Bonita Sussman, and her team of rabbis and lay helpers who worked tirelessly to welcome these new members to our Jewish family.

Kulanu Meet and Greet in Jerusalem, July 6th, 2017

JOIN US!
Kulanu is excited to announce its first ever Jerusalem Meet and Greet on July 6th, 2017!

Rachel Namudosi Keki and Simcha Butchart

Rachel Namudosi Keki and Simcha Butchart

Our meet and greet will feature Rachel Namudosi Keki, a representative of the Abayudaya community in Uganda. Rachel has worked with Kulanu for years, and is visiting Jerusalem for the Schusterman ROI Summit.

You will also meet Simcha Butchart, a native of Zimbabwe currently living in Jerusalem. Simcha is a member of the Harare Lemba Synagogue, and she studied at Pardes the past year.

Please join us, meet with other Kulanu supporters and volunteers, and learn about Simcha and Rachel’s stories.

JOIN US! July 6 @ 7:30PM
Kehillat Yedidya
Nakhum Lifshitz St 12, Jerusalem, Israel

RSVP so that we know you’re coming! Space is limited.
Light refreshments (strictly kosher) will be served.

New film about Nigeria’s Igbo Jewish community

A new short film is available on our YouTube channel!

Created by Kulanu board member Ari Greenspan, it features musical life in Igbo Jewish communities in Nigeria, accompanied by beautiful images and videos.

Don’t forget that there are dozens of films and hours of footage available on our YouTube channel, sorted into playlists by community and theme.

Kulanu’s New Board Members

We are delighted to introduce two new additions to our Board of Directors!

Elie Lehmann, Kulanu Board Member

Elie Lehmann, Kulanu Board Member

Rabbi Elie Lehmann

Recently ordained by Hebrew College, Rabbi Elie Lehmann previously served as rabbinic fellow at Tufts University Hillel and has recently been appointed as rabbi at Boston University Hillel. Elie spent a month in the Kisuku Jewish community in Kenya last summer, and he has spearheaded our new Kulanu Global Teaching Fellows program.

 

 

Dr. Ari Greenspan, Kulanu Board Member

Dr. Ari Greenspan, Kulanu Board Member

Dr. Ari Greenspan

Dr. Ari Greenspan is a U.S. trained dentist who currently lives in Efrat, Israel, with his wife, Shari, and their three children. He works in Jerusalem as a dentist and is also a mohel, shochet, and sofer! Over the past two decades Ari has been exploring diverse Jewish customs and traditions from around the world. Ari has lectured globally for dental groups and for many synagogues and Jewish schools, and is a frequent contributor to Mishpacha magazine. Aside from his work with the board, he will serve as Kulanu’s new regional coordinator for Nigeria.

Welcome, Ari and Elie!

Spring 2017 Magazine Available Now!

The front page of this magazine issue

The front page of this magazine issue

We are excited to announce a wonderful new issue of Kulanu’s magazine!

The Spring 2017 issue (volume 14, no 1) is available in full online.

Simply follow this link to explore stories on diverse topics including…

  • A new internet cafe that opened in Abuja, Nigeria
  • A seasonal article on Pesach in Italy
  • Information on a Noahide community in India
  • Updates from Kulanu’s board members, staff, and volunteers
  • and much more!