Shana Tova! From “all of us” at Kulanu – Happy 5777!

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.

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.


Kulanu’s 2016 Speaking Tour: Jewish Madagascar

August 15, 2016

The Kulanu 2016 Speaker’s Tour

Meet our 2016 speaker, Elysha from Madagascar

Elysha Netsarh- photo by Joshua Kristal for Kulanu, 2016

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.

Harare Lemba Synagogue Emergency Food Program – Can You Help?

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…)

Upcoming Trips Led By Friends of Kulanu

There are two exciting upcoming trips to India that are led by our friends!


Early Bird Deadline – Madagascar Speaking Tour

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

Madagascar in the News

Our work in Madagascar has caught the attention of the Jewish press. Deborah Josefson’s JTA article has been picked up by dozens of news sources worldwide. It has even been translated into Spanish (twice), French, and Norwegian.
Elysha Netsarh of Madagascar, Kulanu's 2016 speaker.

Elysha Netsarh of Madagascar, Kulanu’s 2016 speaker.


In October we will welcome Elysha Netsarh to the USA from Madagascar as she headlines the Kulanu 2016 speaking tour. Want to hear Elysha speak at your synagogue, school, university, or other institution? Find out more here or send us an inquiry!

YouTube Updates

We have been busy updating our YouTube channel. Stop by @kulanuvideo to check out our newly updated playlists that include videos about the various Jewish communities that Kulanu works with around the world. Find out more

Interns and Volunteers

This summer we are continuing Kulanu’s summer internship program.  Meet our two interns for Summer 2016!

Job Opening

Thanks and best wishes to Evan Davidoff, who has moved on from Kulanu to a full-time position at Jewish Veg. We now have a job opening for a new Programming and Development Coordinator! Based out of our New York office, this 3-4 day per week position requires skills in organizational and resource development, marketing, volunteer and office management, and program coordination. This is a vital position within Kulanu’s infrastructure and offers an exciting career development opportunity for an experienced and qualified candidate. Please share this job opening with people who might do great work for Kulanu!


Announcing the 2016 Kulanu-Madagascar Speaking Tour!

Elysha Netsarh of Madagascar, Kulanu's 2016 speaker.

Elysha Netsarh of Madagascar, Kulanu’s 2016 speaker.

Dear friends,

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.
Click here to inquire about booking your event now!
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

The 2016 Kulanu-Madagascar Speaking Tour will run from October 26 through December 5 in the United States and possibly Canada. Click here to inquire about booking an event.Please share this announcement with your networks, including your local organizational leader or event programmer! If you are outside of the U.S. or Canada, please pass this announcement along to your American and Canadian friends and colleagues. Thank you so much!

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 (available early June) 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. Thank you!

Harriet Bograd, President

Kulanu, Inc
165 West End Ave, 3R

New York, NY 10023