This year Kulanu has chosen to honor Rabbanit Bonita and Rabbi Gerald Sussman, a power couple whose work with Kulanu has had a profound impact on Kulanu communities and on the mission of our organization. In the last four years, Boni and Rabbi Gerald have traveled to India, Cameroon, Nicaragua, and New Guinea on behalf of isolated and emerging Jewish communities. This year alone, they have visited Nicaragua a second time and plan to travel to Madagascar this summer. They are true pioneers and, one might say, holy malachim or messengers on behalf of Judaism. Where there are people who seek to learn about our faith, the Sussmans are there. When a community leader has needed access to Jewish education, they have responded; when a community has looked for Jewish books, a Torah, teachers, the Sussmans are on the front line. Together or separately, they continue to make an impact as they crisscross the world on Kulanu business.
Rabbanit Boni and Rabbi Gerald’s association with Kulanu began seven years ago when they went for two weeks to visit the Bene Ephraim Jewish community in Andhra Pradesh, India. Today, Boni serves as a Kulanu vice president with special responsibilities for emerging Jewish communities. She is a whirlwind of activity with the energy of three people, always in motion, suggesting new projects, networking and assisting Kulanu communities on their spiritual journeys. Rabbi Gerald holds no formal title in Kulanu, but unstintingly gives his time, energy and Jewish learning to promote Kulanu’s mission; he is a true partner in transmitting and spreading Judaism to communities abroad. Currently, he is serving as a spiritual advisor to the isolated community of Madagascar. He has not just accompanied Boni, but he has taken an active role in educating communities on Jewish law and ritual.
There is no way to calculate the number of hours the Sussmans have contributed to building and strengthening Kulanu and extending its outreach efforts on behalf of isolated and emerging Jewish communities. The depth of their commitment to Judaism and on behalf of those who seek us out and ask for help on their journey to Judaism is immeasurable. Their names and reputation are legendary in many parts of the world.
After their visit to Cameroon in the summer of 2010, Serge Etele, leader of the Cameroon Jewish community, wrote to Kulanu, saying, “Thanks to God…our isolation is being broken. We are considering our future now with more hope.” And from Sadok Jacobi of India, came this recent message about the Sussmans: “We never forget their fellowship. Really we miss them. We send whole-hearted congratulations on behalf of the Bene Ephraim community.”And just this week a message from Kurt Preiss, president of Congregacion Israelita de Nicaragua, commenting on the impact of the Sussman’s two visits to his country: “Rabbanit Boni and Rabbi Gerald Sussman will always have a very special place in our hearts and in our community. It is through their great efforts and mitzvahs that an extinct Nicaraguan Jewish community was born again.”
It is clear that the Sussmans have created a lasting legacy for current and future generations of Jews both in the United States and around the globe. They are generous in spirit, devoted to the spread of Judaism and lovers of our faith… And to our isolated and emerging communities, they are beloved. It is for all the reasons stated above that Kulanu salutes Rabbanit Bonita and Rabbi Gerald Sussman as our honorees for 2014.
Please join us in honoring these two special people by contributing to an on-line ad journal to support Kulanu’s important work. The journal will be sent on-line to thousands of Kulanu supporters around the world. Individuals and organizations may join together in purchasing space in the journal or go it alone. You may donate by mail or on-line. The deadline for contributions is April 30, 2014.
To donate by mail, mail the form below with your contribution to:
Harriet Bograd, President, Kulanu, 165 West End Ave., 3R, New York, NY 10023, USA
To donate online click here. In the comment field, please write “Sussman Tribute” followed by the text of your ad (limit 50 words). If you have any questions, or to send any images for your ad, use this link: Justina Shaw.
Please include this form with your check: ________________________________________________________________________________________________
I am pleased to honor Rabbanit Boni and Rabbi Gerald Sussman for their outstanding work on behalf of Kulanu. Enclosed is my contribution in this amount:
- ____ $5,000 (gold page)
- ____ $2,500 (silver page)
- ____ $1,200 (bronze page)
- ____ $600 (full page)
- ____ $250 (half page)
- ____ $125 (1/4 page)
- ____ $72 (1/8 page)
- ____ $36 (listing – name only, no text)
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