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

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!

Announcing the 2017-18 Kulanu Anousim Speaking Tour!

May 30, 2017


Announcing the 2017-18 Kulanu Anousim Speaking Tour!

Kulanu is delighted to announce our first Anousim speaking tour! Building on years of successful speaking tours, we are excited to introduce you to Jonatas Chimen, who will be speaking across North America from October to June. Jonatas is a Brazilian-American Jewish artist who expresses his experiences as a member of the Bnei Anousim community through his creations, especially the Jewish experience of being a refugee or immigrant in exile. He engages with his identity through painting, sculpture, performance art, and writing.

Jonatas’ family come from the Crypto-Jewish tradition in Spain/Portugal, and he is descended from victims of the Inquisition who were forced to convert from Judaism to Christianity. You can learn more about Jonatas here.

Bring Jonatas to your community
Jonatas’ tour will include a presentation of some of his original artworks in a format to suit your needs and wants. He will discuss the story behind each piece’s creation and how it relates to his personal and community experiences of Judaism and Bnei Anousim. Expect to learn plenty about this special Jewish community, to think deeply with Jonatas about what it means to be an immigrant, and to experience beautiful and moving works of art. Get in touch to start the process.

You can bring Jonatas to your community for a weekend talk, and  we are excited to offer other kinds of add-on interactive experiences in your community such as an art exhibition, art auction, or workshop. Simply click here to fill out an inquiry form and let us know what you’d like your community to learn from Jonatas!

In the past, Kulanu speaking tour events have been hosted in houses of worship of all different religions and denominations, as well as universities and community organizations. We also encourage co-sponsorship events to spread the costs and responsibilities. Here is what we ask of our event hosts:

  • An honorarium of $1,450 per event, which includes travel expenses. An early bird special of $1,250 is offered if you confirm an event by June 30th.
  • A primary contact to be responsible for the event and for Jonatas while he is in your area.
  • Accommodations, meals, and local transportation for the speaker (home hospitality is great!)

If you’re interested, please complete these quick and easy next steps:

  • Complete our online inquiry form.
  • Consult our online calendar to see Jonatas’ availability. If you have specific dates in mind between October 2017 and June 2018, please let us know your preferences on the inquiry form.

We support our hosts by providing a comprehensive online Event Planning Kit detailing technical requirements and hosting guidelines. You’ll also find resources to maximize your audience, like sample posters and press releases.  Look out for this in mid-June!

Abayudaya school success

Abayudaya school success
A happy student is congratulated by her family after receiving her exam results.

The Hadassah Primary School in Uganda recently achieved outstanding national exam results, with 100% of students placed into the top two categories. These exams are taken by every student at the end of their primary education. As a result, applications for next year have risen substantially – from Jews, Muslims, and Christians.Thanks to ongoing support from Kulanu via our donors, Kulanu has been able to provide steady support since 2001 for teachers’ salaries, the  nutrition program, and infrastructure improvements.