A message from Harriet Bograd, President of Kulanu

Dear Friends,

2009 has been a year to remember as Kulanu completed its sixteenth year of outreach to isolated and emerging Jewish communities around the world. It continues to be a joy for me to serve as President of Kulanu, working with you and “all of us.” This year we continued to sustain long-time relationships and develop new ones. As I look back on 2009, here are some highlights of Kulanu’s work.

Overseas

In Uganda:
· Kulanu continued to support the Abayudaya primary and high schools, which together educate 700 Jewish, Christian, and Muslim children, and their nutrition programs that feed hungry students.
· Kulanu volunteers initiated and supported a variety of projects in the Abayudaya community. Lorne Mallin, a Canadian journalist, spent six months living and teaching in the community. He helped with a grant application to the US Embassy that raised $10,000 for a chicken coop that will provide an important source of nutrition and income. Dr. Liz Feldman, a Family Practice Doctor from Chicago and and Hedy Cohen, an activist who makes yearly visits, worked on health education and public health programs including HIV screening and counseling, cervical cancer screening, and water purification. In addition, Dr. Feldman raised significant amounts of money for the Kavule Parents School For The Deaf. Yale University student Raffi Magarik taught for a month during the summer. David Wise expanded the math skills of the teachers at Hadassah Primary School and helped the students at Semei Kakungulu High School prepare for national exams.
· Kulanu helped the Mirembe Kawomera/”Delicious Peace” interfaith, fair-trade coffee cooperative, created by master farmer JJ Keki and Kulanu Coordinator Laura Wetzler, win a $250,000 facilities and farmer development grant/loan package from USAID. Thanks to our partners at Thanksgiving Coffee for their extraordinary support of this project.

In Ethiopia:
· Dana Eitches spent a month in Kechene, visiting the Beit Avraham, a community of previously secret Jews. She contributed to our knowledge of the group by photographing their work .
· In January, 2010, a group of Kulanu board members and friends will visit the Beit Avraham in the Kechene area to assess their needs and explore Kulanu’s future relationship with them.

Elsewhere:
· Rabbi Larry Goldstein, Kulanu’s coordinator for Puerto Rico, teaches classes in Judaism to potential converts. He participated in the first Orthodox beit din in Puerto Rico in November. Rabbi Goldstein also works with three communities in El Salvador who want to convert.
· Board member Jacob Steinberg has been working with Jews in Suriname to support a new mikveh, and to bring more visitors, volunteers, and other resources to this community.
· Kulanu provided international publicity for the Fraternité Judéo-Noire, an organization of Black French Jews, and introduced Kulanu’s readers to this new group.

On the home front
· We expanded the Kulanu board, adding Judy Manelis of Brookline, MA and Matt Feldman of Philadelphia. Judy has stepped into the role of vice president and is our new newsletter editor.
· Kulanu now has a Facebook page with more than 460 fans from 20 countries and is steadily growing. The photos of our Facebook fans highlight the diversity of our supporters.
· Our annual Abayudaya speaking tour has been a great success. This year’s presenter, JJ Keki, spoke to more than 3,200 people across the U.S and Canada at over 35 venues including synagogues, schools, universities, and Jewish community centers
· The Kulanu Boutique has expanded its merchandise and is now offering discounts on select bulk purchases.
· Kulanu has greatly expanded our multimedia resources. Our new multimedia manager, Dan Knapp, documented this year’s Anousim conference organized by board member Rabbi Stephen Leon in El Paso, TX, and posted six videos to YouTube. Our online photo albums at kulanu.phanfare.com continue to expand. And you can view a new Powerpoint presentation about Kulanu on the About Kulanu page of our web site.

Today, I’m asking you to join me in continuing our support of this organization that is so important to so many. We are able to do so much, even with small amounts. As an example, $75 pays to feed 700 children in the Abayudaya schools for one day. We know that this year has been a challenging one economically for many. We ask you to help us maintain our programs by giving as generously as you can. My deepest thanks for your generous support.

With all best wishes,

Harriet Bograd
President

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