The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Luba tribe follows a strong Conservative practice. We were introduced to this community through Guershon Nduwa, another friend of Kulanu and the founder and president of the Federation des Juives Noir in France.
According to Kabuika, one of the leaders of the Jewish community, “Members of the Luba tribe are the Jews of Congo. Though it is the largest tribe and millions of the Luba people are aware of their Jewish roots, most feel disconnected and fearful of diving into their own heritage. The religious environment here in the Congo is not very open to anything other than Christianity and so they feel trapped.”
Kabuika continues: “However when you talk one-on-one with people, they do admit wanting to learn more about Judaism. Some are shy but come to attend Jewish holiday events—about fifteen to twenty families join together at these times. Others are passionate about their Jewishness but may not be Jewish in the open, as they live with Christian parents. Quite a few have decided they want to convert to Judaism. While we consider ourselves a Conservative community, we sometimes attend services in Bet Yaakov Kinshasa which follows a Chassidic practice. We are connected to Jewish groups outside of the Congo such as the Federation des Juives Noir in France, and others.”