The Beth Yeshourun Community
Rabbi Gerald Sussman teaching the Mitzva of Teffilines in Cameroon.
(Photo: Serge ETELE)
A relatively "new" community, Beth Yeshourun was founded in 1998 when its leaders turned away from Christianity. Increasingly observant and deeply committed to Jewish rituals and practice, the 50-member community has made amazing progress, educating themselves through the Internet by downloading Jewish liturgies and prayers, and studying Judaism, Hebrew, and Torah on Jewish websites.
Isolated from mainstream Jewry, the community had its first visitors when Rabbi Bonita Sussman, a Kulanu board member, and her husband Rabbi Gerald Sussman went to Cameroon during the summer of 2010. These emissaries from Kulanu were welcomed warmly. Their reports reflect astonishment at the level of Jewish knowledge and practice they observed during their ten-day visit. You can read about the Sussmans' visit in their article, below.
Beth Yeshourun community member making challah in Cameroon.
How "All of Us" Can Help
In the summer of 2012, Kulanu, Inc - thanks to the help of many generous donors - advanced funds to the community to purchase farm land so that the members can grow cocoa, Cameroon's leading crop, with the realistic goal of supporting themselves through this community-owned and community-run farm. Serge Etele, a brilliant leader of the community, began working the land before the end of this season, and has sent us photos of the already-budding plants! However, more funds are needed to finish planting and acquire the rest of the supplies, as well as to pay the workers for their labor. Want to support this emerging African Jewish community? Contribute today through our online Fundraising Page for the Beth Yeshourun community cocoa farm at tinyurl.com/cocoafarmfund - then let your friends and family know about this great opportunity to help others help themselves. Thank you for getting involved!
In addition to this community economic development project, Kulanu supports community Jewish education for Beth Yeshourun by funding their Internet connection and providing volunteers to teach Jewish subjects online. Members now have better access to online resources as well as contact with Jewish educators, opening doors to the wider Jewish world and enabling formal conversion in the future, a goal of the community. We are currently seeking more online teacher volunteers so that a greater number of willing and sincere Beth Yeshourun students can learn Hebrew and chant Torah. Interested in teaching, or know someone who might be? Click here or go to www.kulanu.org/volunteer to find out how to apply!
Thank you for your support!
Cameroon Articles and Links
- From Cameroon to Israel By Serge Etele (2014)
- What’s Happening in Africa: Cameroon, Kenya, Ghana, Uganda, Zimbabwe By Judy Manelis (2013)
- Kulanu Cameroon Cocoa Farm Proposal with Budget By Harriet Bograd (2012)
Donate to the Beth Yeshourun Community Cocoa Farm Fund now at tinyurl.com/cocoafarmfund
- Serge Etele’s Visit to the United States By Harriet Bograd (2012)
- Cameroon’s Beth Yeshourun Community Welcomes First Jewish Visitors By Rabbis Bonita and Gerald Sussman and Serge Etele (2010) Introduction by Judy Manelis
- Website of the Beth Yeshouroun Community Learn more about the Beth Yeshourun community by visiting their own website (external link)
- Photo Album of the Beth Yeshourun Community, Cameroon - slideshow of photos and videos (Kulanu album on phanfare.com, 2010) (external link)
- Cameroon Music - Lecha Dodi (wma file)
- Cameroon Music - Yismach Moshe (wma file)