Serge Etele’s Visit to the United States

image: Serge Etele wearing tallit designed for him by Susan  Schorr

Serge Etele wearing tallit designed for him by Susan Schorr
(Photo credit: Harriet Bograd)

It was a great joy to host Serge on his visit to the United States and to see things through his eyes. He approached America and the Jewish community with an open heart and deep appreciation. I can report that his six weeks here were filled with many memorable experiences and a number of firsts.

In addition to his public speaking events, Serge took his first airplane flight, saw and held a Torah, visited several major U.S. cities, helped a Jewish scribe repair a Torah scroll, prayed at the world Chabad headquarters, visited two Jewish museums, had a coaching session on public speaking, attended classes at several rabbinical schools and colleges and met with students to share stories about his community and their embrace of Judaism.

image: Serge Etele speaking with students at Temple Aliyah, Needham, MA

Serge Etele speaking with students at Temple Aliyah, Needham, MA
(Photo credit: Harriet Bograd)

In addition, he was hosted by Jewish families in several states, prayed at orthodox, conservative, reform and reconstructionist synagogues and visited Jewish religious schools and community centers.

Most importantly, on Wednesday, February 22, 2012, Serge Etele formally converted to Judaism, presenting himself before a three judge Beit Din (Jewish court) and submerging himself in a mikveh (ritual bath).

To read more of Harriet's reflections on the first Kulanu-Cameroon Speaking Tour, click here for her April 2012 post on the Kulanu Blog (www.kulanu.org/blog).

image: Serge Etele at the Chabad headquater in Brooklyn for Mincha prayer and study.

Serge Etele at the Chabad headquater in Brooklyn for Mincha prayer and study.
(Photo credit: Rabbi Gerald Sussman)