Sarah Nantabo


Sarah Nantabo is dead ... we are grieving.
Who can fathom the depths of a Jewish heart?
Who can write a eulogy for the soul of a leader
among the Abayudaya, a mother, a daughter?


I have tasted her oversweet-cha, eaten her delicious matoke,
listened to her chanting the sacred liturgy of her people, our people,
and watched her checking, grain by grain, kilos of rice
for traces of bugs which might render the food she cooked unkosher.
She was our sister.

The loss of Sarah Nantabo is our loss.

All women of the Abayudaya have beauty and grace,
but Sarah was gifted with an abundance of rare talents and genuine charisma.

An Elegy On Sudden Death

Shall I tell them of your blue black hair?
and you crumpled like a leaf.
Talk joy of you, let them share?
and you gone beyond belief.
The shy glad smile, would they care?
and you gone God-knows where.

Shall I tell them of your classic face?
gurgling laughter, the time we had.
Describe your skin, lips and breath?
or the manner of your death.
Herein and thereinafter
forever in that other place
where you've been had.

The death of Sarah Nantabo rocks our firmament
whether we find ourselves in the USA or in Australia or in Africa.

The biggest smile in the world has died.

It is Chanukah and the Halacha forbids eulogies other than those for extraordinary individuals,
and then only if the eulogizing is done during the funeral.

So I will end with the blessing that He who mourns for Jerusalem
the capital city of the world of the heart, of truth, of Shabbes, of peace,
may He comfort us among all the mourners of Zion.


Hershy (Rabbi J Hershy Worch)