2016 Annual Report
It’s that time again: time for “all of us” to look back on the memories and the accomplishments of the past twelve months. This has been a wonderful year for Kulanu! We have continued to build Jewish knowledge, leadership, and practice across the globe.
As we continue to welcome new partner communities from around the world to the global Jewish community, we ask that you consider making a donation to support our ongoing work. Here are some of the ways that donations were put to great use over the past twelve months:
- 121 people were formally converted to Judaism by three Orthodox rabbis who journeyed to Madagascar with Kulanu’s support. Twelve Jewish weddings followed. During that trip in May, Kulanu organized and led study groups, a technology workshop, a conference on Jewish roots in Madagascar, and a class on Jewish burial and mourning. The community received a laptop to keep in touch with Kulanu and the global Jewish community, as well as mezzuzot, shofarot, talitot, tefilin, siddurim, songbooks, kiddush cups, and a student Torah scroll. Kulanu’s trip to Madagascar garnered much media attention. Enjoy our video by filmmaker Josh Kristal.
- Kulanu’s annual Fall speaking tour has been a resounding success, with Elysha Netsarh from Madagascar leading 22 events across the USA. Additionally, Yehuda Kimani from Kenya did a 16-stop speaking tour of the USA before his month-long stay at Brandeis Collegiate Institute in California. Other presentations have been given by Remy Ilona from Nigeria, Rachman Nachman from Uganda, and David Wise and Bonita Sussman from the USA.
- Kulanu volunteers taught in Kenya, Uganda, India, and Nicaragua.
- In Kenya, Kulanu provided a computer classroom and funded electricity and internet access to Jewish study websites. Students received school tuition assistance, uniforms, school supplies, and food to support educational success.
- The Harare Lemba synagogue in Zimbabwe received support for its ongoing operations, as well as $6000 for emergency food during a time of environmental and political crisis, and funds for a sustainable irrigation program to ensure access to food long-term. Their leader, Modreck Maeresera, spent three months in Israel studying at Rabbi Shlomo Riskin’s rabbinical school, Ohr Torah Stone.
- An educational census of the Ugandan Abayudaya community was successfully completed with the help of the local community in each village. At the Kulanu-supported Abayudaya Elementary School, 386 students (of which 207 are Jewish, 91 Muslim, and 88 Christian) are currently enrolled with 42 staff members. Purchases of chairs, desks, a photocopier, textbooks, and a laptop have improved student and teacher productivity. The school water pump and tank have been repaired and kitchen stoves replaced to keep students healthy and safe. Students have had success in music, dance, and drama at the national level. A new bookkeeping process is in place.
- A generous donation and sales of challah covers and tallitot have provided funding for a guest house in Ghana’s Tiferet Israel community, to be named after Michael Gershowitz, z”l. The community is preparing a long-term sustainable business plan with Kulanu’s assistance. Recent Kulanu-supported projects include repairs to the synagogue’s roof and a new laptop for internet access.
- Vice President Bonita Nathan Sussman spoke at a conference on Anousim co-sponsored by Kulanu and another on Black Jews at Florida International University in Miami. Our Kulanu Academic Cohort produced a new volume, In the Shadow of Moses. New Jewish Movements in Africa and the Diaspora (eds. Lis, Miles, & Parfitt) and contributed to Becoming Jewish: New Jews and Emerging Jewish Communities in a Globalized World (eds. Fisher & Parfitt). We have a new Kulanu Filmmakers Forum page on our website.
- Kulanu hosted home gatherings to bring together “all of us” in person in New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Silver Spring MD.
Please help us continue to serve our partner communities around the world with a generous donation today. Multi-year gifts give us more freedom to plan ahead for the future. Any amount will be greatly appreciated – and as you can see, it really does make a difference.
Thank you for being part of “all of us”!