In summer 2016, Kulanu facilitated over 100 conversions and a number of weddings in Antananarivo, after the Malagasy community had been developing their Jewish practice for many years. Following an intense two year study period, which Kulanu oversaw, the beit din was headed by Rabbi Achiya Delouya, a Morocco-born Orthodox rabbi living in Montreal. A local river near served as the mikveh.
The community leaders are chazan Touv’yah, Hebrew teacher Petoela, and Ashrey Dayves, president of a group called the Jewish Community of Madagascar. There is no dedicated synagogue building, so the community meet in a local university where they face North towards Israel to pray. The community has an excellent level of Hebrew literacy, and Kulanu volunteers who have visited the congregation report a universally high quality of Torah reading. They also noticed an interest in Kabbalah, and a deep desire for learning opportunities.
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(Photo: Shep Wahnon)
- Jewish Core in Island Lore by Ari Greenspan and Ari Z. Zivotofsky (2017)
- In Madagascar, ‘world’s newest Jewish community’ seeks to establish itself by Josefin Dolsten (2016)
- Mikveh Moments in Madagascar: Immersion and Conversion on the Other Side of the World by Bonita Sussman (2016)
- In remote Madagascar, a new community chooses to be Jewish by Deborah Josefson (2016) syndicated by JTA (reprinted in Jewish publications around the world)
- ‘Joining Fabric of World Jewish Community,’ 100 Convert on African Island of Madagascar by Sam Kestenbaum (2016)
- The Malagasy Secret by William F.S. Miles (2015)
- Gan Eden Rediscovered by Peter Terry, AKA Yakov Zamir (2014)
- Madgascar Groups Seek Closer Jewish Ties by Cynthia Weisfield (2007)