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.
Please join us in welcoming Elysha on her first trip to North America. Her multi-media presentation will include videos of the celebration of the conversions of members of the Madagascar
Jewish community and the joyous Jewish weddings that followed.Through fabulous pictures and music that will accompany her presentation, audiences of all ages will learn about the fascinating little-known country of Madagascar, populated by a warm vibrant people challenged by poverty, and home to an emerging Jewish community that will continue to grow and thrive with our recognition. We are requesting your help in identifying possible venues for this year’s Kulanu-Madagascar speaking tour which will run October 26th to December 5th, 2016. Schedules fill up fast, so please act soon to reserve your spot this fall.
This is an opportunity to make a special multilayered contribution — educating your community about the Jews of Madagascar, helping the Malagasy Jewish community grow their relationships with the wider world, and providing support for Madagascar and around the world.
About Elysha Netsarh
Elysha, a researcher and teacher who earned a PhD in plant chemistry at the University of Paris, was raised in Antananarivo, Madagascar’s capital city. At a young age, she became interested in probing her country’s history, as well as the history of her own family, who, in response to colonial pressures, practiced Christianity along with the majority of the country’s residents. When her grandfather revealed the family’s Jewish origins, she began to study Judaism in earnest. Her formal conversion in May is the culmination of her search for identity, the fulfillment of a “permanent spiritual thirst.”
As a leader of the Jewish community of 150 people deeply committed to Jewish practice, Elysha is in the process of preparing a Hebrew-Malagasy prayer book and compiling a Hebrew-Malagasy Chumash. The distinctive headscarf she wears elicits questions from students and colleagues at the University of Antananarivo, allowing her to share her Jewish principles as a counselor for young people about to embark on careers.
Married to a researcher on soil management, Elysha has high hopes for her new-born community, as she contemplates establishing a Hebrew school for children and inaugurating chevruta (partnered) study of Jewish texts.
About the Kulanu-Madagascar Speaking Tour
Members of the Jewish community in Madagascar live Jewish lives, studying Torah and Hebrew, and observing mitzvot, Shabbat, and holidays. In May, Kulanu sent a delegation to Madagascar. Our delegation included a bet din (rabbinic court) of three Orthodox rabbis who supervised the conversions of more than 120 candidates. After the conversions, a dozen couples had Jewish weddings ceremonies under the chuppah and happy celebrations. During our stay, Kulanu also organized an international symposium co-sponsored by Florida International University. Professor Tudor Parfitt gave the keynote address, while Malagasy speakers discussed the historic roots of a people who, they demonstrated, may be an offshoot of ancient Israel. All of these historic events were videotaped by two filmmakers who will produce a documentary. To learn more about this community, please visit www.kulanu.org/madagascar
The 2016 Kulanu-Madagascar Speaking Tour will run from October 26 through December 5 in the United States and possibly Canada.
What is required of host locations?
Please know that you are welcome to seek co-sponsors to share your event. Synagogues of all denominations, Jewish community centers, Jewish and secular schools and universities, and other groups have all joined together to co-sponsor Kulanu speakers. Kulanu speakers have been welcomed at Brown, Cal State, Howard, Washburn, Wellesley, Northeastern, and Yale Universities. Within universities, many departments have co-sponsored, including history, religion, music, Jewish studies, African studies, campus ministries, international development, and diversity offices.
Here is what we ask of event hosts:
- An honorarium of $1,450 per event, which includes travel expenses. (Note: We are offering a $200 discount to those who reserve a date and pay a $250 deposit by July 31, 2016.)
- A primary contact to be responsible for the event and for Elysha while she is in your city.
- Accommodations, meals, and local transportation for the speaker (home hospitality is great!)
If you would like to host the speaker, what should you do next?
Complete our online inquiry form to let us know of your interest and how to reach you. If you are able, please list three possible dates between Wed., Oct. 26 to Mon, Dec. 5, 2016 that might work for you.
Please consult our online calendar to see which dates have already been assigned to other groups, and which dates have tentative requests.
Check out Kulanu’s online Event Planning Kit to get an idea of what is involved in hosting a successful speaking tour event.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Please feel free to pass this on to other groups that might be interested in hosting Elysha Netsarh this fall.