I wish you and your loved ones a Happy Purim, Chag Purim Sameach!
Please enjoy this excerpt from the 2016 Purim play by children in the Tikkun Olam School and high school students in the Abayudaya village of Namutumba in Uganda. Here Mordechai is telling Esther that the Jews are in danger, and then Esther invites the King and Haman to a dinner. I especially love the sugar cane machine guns held by the palace guards!
Click here to watch the video, made by Yoash Mayende.
We are excited to share Irene Orleansky‘s new documentary film “Bal Ej: The Hidden Jews of Ethiopia”. A free screening is scheduled for 1pm this Sunday, February 12th at the Jewish Museum of Maryland. A Skype Q&A with Irene will follow.
We are excited to share our latest magazine with you! The Winter 2016 issue is attached to this email. Please open this PDF attachment to read the full issue.
This has been a great year for Kulanu, and we are pleased to highlight our May trip to Madagascar. You’ll also find the Harare Lemba synagogue’s own newsletter included in our magazine, alongside book reviews, a report of Boni Sussman’s talk at an Anousim conference, and updates from many of our partner communities around the world.
We hope you will share this magazine with your friends, family, colleagues, and anyone who might be interested in engaging with global Jewry.
Tickets are going on sale today for the New York Jewish Film Festival. We are excited that Doing Jewish: A Story from Ghana will have its New York premiere with two showings on January 11 at 1pm and 6.30pm at the Walter Reade Theater. The director and producer, Gabrielle Zilkha and Jenn Mason, will be here – and we’re hoping that Alex Armah from Ghana will get his visa to join us as well! Check out the trailer here.
Book your tickets now since they may sell out fast! (Links to purchase are on the right side of this webpage.)
Alex Armah from Ghana reads the Torah
Please save the date for a Kulanu-sponsored party after the evening performance. Watch this space for more details, including time, place, and RSVP info.
It’s that time again: time for “all of us” to look back on the memories and the accomplishments of the past twelve months. This has been a wonderful year for Kulanu! We have continued to build Jewish knowledge, leadership, and practice across the globe.
Kulanu’s 2016 trip to Madagascar – photos by Joshua Kristal for Kulanu, Inc
As we continue to welcome new partner communities from around the world to the global Jewish community, we ask that you consider making a donation to support our ongoing work. Please donate online, or send a check payable to “Kulanu” in US$ c/o Harriet Bograd (address at the bottom of this email). Here are some of the ways that donations were put to great use over the past twelve months:
121 people were formally converted to Judaism by three Orthodox rabbis who journeyed to Madagascar with Kulanu’s support. Twelve Jewish weddings followed. During that trip in May, Kulanu organized and led study groups, a technology workshop, a conference on Jewish roots in Madagascar, and a class on Jewish burial and mourning. The community received a laptop to keep in touch with Kulanu and the global Jewish community, as well as mezzuzot, shofarot, talitot, tefilin, siddurim, songbooks, kiddush cups, and a student Torah scroll. Kulanu’s trip to Madagascar garnered much media attention. Enjoy our video by filmmaker Josh Kristal.
Kulanu’s annual Fall speaking tour has been a resounding success, with Elysha Netsarh from Madagascar leading 22 events across the USA. Additionally, Yehuda Kimani from Kenya did a 16-stop speaking tour of the USA before his month-long stay at Brandeis Collegiate Institute in California.Other presentations have been given by Remy Ilona from Nigeria, Rachman Nachman from Uganda, and David Wise and Bonita Sussman from the USA.
Kulanu volunteers taught in Kenya, Uganda, India, and Nicaragua.
In Kenya, Kulanu provided a computer classroom and funded electricity and internet access to Jewish study websites. Students received school tuition assistance, uniforms, school supplies, and food to support educational success.
The Harare Lemba synagogue in Zimbabwe received support for its ongoing operations, as well as $6000 for emergency food during a time of environmental and political crisis, and funds for a sustainable irrigation program to ensure access to food long-term. Their leader, Modreck Maeresera, spent three months in Israel studying at Rabbi Shlomo Riskin’s rabbinical school, Ohr Torah Stone.
An educational census of the Ugandan Abayudaya community was successfully completed with the help of the local community in each village. At the Kulanu-supported Abayudaya Elementary School, 386 students (of which 207 are Jewish, 91 Muslim and 88 Christian) are currently enrolled with 42 staff members. Purchases of chairs, desks, a photocopier, textbooks, and a laptop have improved student and teacher productivity. The school water pump and tank have been repaired and kitchen stoves replaced to keep students healthy and safe. Students have had success in music, dance, and drama at the national level. A new bookkeeping process is in place .
A generous donation and sales of challah covers and tallitot have provided funding for a guest house in Ghana’s Tiferet Israel community, to be named after Michael Gershowitz, z”l. The community is preparing a long-term sustainable business plan with Kulanu’s assistance. Recent Kulanu-supported projects include repairs to the synagogue’s roof and a new laptop for internet access.
Vice President Bonita Nathan Sussman spoke at a conference on Anousim co-sponsored by Kulanu and another on Black Jews at Florida International University in Miami. Our Kulanu Academic Cohort produced a new volume, In the Shadow of Moses. New Jewish Movements in Africa and the Diaspora (eds. Lis, Miles, & Parfitt) and contributed to Becoming Jewish: New Jews and Emerging Jewish Communities in a Globalized World (eds. Fisher & Parfitt) . We have a new Kulanu Filmmakers Forum page on our web site.
Kulanu hosted home gatherings to bring together “all of us” in person in New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Silver Spring MD.
Children at the Harare Lemba Synagogue during an emergency food distribution event funded by Kulanu
Photo by Modreck Maeresera
Please help us continue to serve our partner communities around the world with a generous donation today. Multi-year gifts give us more freedom to plan ahead for the future. Use the form below to mail in a check, or donate online. Any amount will be greatly appreciated – and as you can see, it really does make a difference.
Rosh Hashanah connects us to our beginnings, and our global Jewish communities – such as the Bene Ephraim from India, pictured below.
Members of the Bene Ephraim community of Andhra Pradesh, India enjoy an “Apples and Honey” party. Photo courtesy of Sadok Yacobi.
“All of us” at Kulanu are grateful for your ongoing support and commitment to Jewish diversity. Help spread our mission so that we can make 5777 our best year yet, by simply sharing our social media posts and emails with your friends, family, and colleagues!
Best wishes for a sweet, happy, and healthy new year from “all of us” at Kulanu, Inc.
Each year, Kulanu brings a speaker from an isolated Jewish community to tour the US, offering synagogues, schools, universities, and other institutions the opportunity to learn about Jewish global diversity first hand.
Later this year,Elysha Netsarh will join us from Madagascar to share her story of the process that led to her formal conversion in May 2016 along with the rest of her community. A multimedia presentation will bring to life her experience of practicing Judaism on this African island.
A researcher and teacher, Elysha earned her PhD in plant chemistry from the University of Paris. Fluent in three languages, she is in the process of preparing a Hebrew-Malagasy prayer book and Chumash. Elysha leads a women’s chevruta (partnered) study group on Jewish texts. She hopes to establish a Hebrew school for children in the future.
Zimbabwe is currently in a state of crisis as drought has struck the nation. Poor harvests, high unemployment, political unrest, and the restructuring of the agricultural sector have left a significant proportion of the country in food poverty. The statistics speak for themselves:
Maize production was down 51% on the previous year
Rural poverty is approaching 80%
1.5 million Zimbabweans cannot meet their basic food needs
Over 70% of the population live on less than $1.25 per day
Protein is hard to come by, stunting growth in ⅓ of children (more…)
Our fall speaking tour is filling up, and the earlybird deadline is coming July 31. Events are already booked near Miami, FL, Fairfield, CT, Boston, Washington, DC, Harrisonburg, VA, Chicago, Los Angeles, and probably Burlington, VT. All of these early responders have had our speakers before and loved partnering with Kulanu! Please circulate this post to your friends, colleagues, and email lists – and especially to places near her route.
Elysha Netsarh of Madagascar, Kulanu’s 2016 speaker
Kulanu is excited to announce our 2016 Kulanu-Madagascar speaking tour. Yes, Madagascar! We met our speaker, Elysha Netsarh, during our journey to that far-away island country off the east coast of Africa.We were immediately struck by Elysha’s outgoing personality, her intellect, and her command of English, as she interpreted for us from her native Malagasy language and French. More
Kulanu (Hebrew for "all of us") is a non-profit organization based in the USA which operates around the world to support isolated and emerging Jewish communities around the world. Visit our web site at www.kulanu.org to learn more about our work and how you can get involved. Thanks!