An Ashkenazi-Sephardi-Kushite Seder in Brussels!

Rabbi David Kuperman and his family arrived safely in Brussels and my wife Godeberthe and I are blessed to welcome them in our house. When they came out of the security area of the airport, we recognized each other immediately with emotion, and a miracle occurred between Hannah (their young daughter, five years old) and Sylvia (our daughter, eight years old). They recognized each other as sisters, as if they had only been separated by normal circumstance of vacation during a month, and they began to play as they were supposed to do everyday at home; until now they are inseparable.

David and I started to work immediately after they had put down their baggage. We talked and talked and talked. David’s wife Linda was warmly welcomed by my wife and her best friend Rachel. Such we are, among the best of Kushite Jews. Linda, Rachel and Godeberthe started to talk, talk and talk, until we reminded them that Linda, Hannah and David had made a long and hard trip and that they had to rest if we wanted to have them strong enough for the coming hours, before the great event of Havila Pesach Seder.

The Seder turned out to be, as we expected, the most powerful event that occurred in our Jewish life. It was nothing less than a miracle of reconnection and Teshuvah. We led it, David and I. I was really impressed to watch the Kushite guests wearing proudly the kippot that David had brought, even when they were not members of Havila. I knew that there is a great hunger of re-introduction to Judaism among the Kushite Community of the homeland, but I was completely ignorant about the same phenomenon among the Kushite diaspora, since I had not held so wide a religious gathering with them before.

Thank you for the initiative to send us so spiritual a rabbi as David Kuperman. His speech, that I tried to translate for the non-English-speaking of the Tutsi Community, was a strong message of hope and strength. He found the words and the way to empower Havila and my leadership of the Tutsi Kushitic Community. Linda was wonderful while involving the Kush children in the different steps of the Seder, and Hannah was so spontaneously welcomed and integrated among the Tutsi children, especially while eating the Israeli matzoh and then the Kushite Jewish matzoh (made with a non-fermentant flour made from a special cereal called uburo).

David had the insight to interview diverse members of the Community who wanted to tell him their biography and their concerns.

As you can guess, I’m still tired, but am very happy. We go to bed very late, and we wake up very early, as we used to behave since generations of pastors, who are dedicated to take care of the sacred herds of Auburn oxen used for purification and sacrifices in the Temple.

Just one word about my emotion to see over our heads the flag of Israel and the flag of Burundi, at so crucial an event as the first communal Israeli-Ashkenazi-Sephardi-Kushite Pesach organized by Havila in Brussels! The two flags show our common links to Israeli-Kushite national redemption.

Unfortunately our Kushite Israelite flag is in danger. About two weeks ago, the government ruling Burundi today has decided to remove the three Magen Davids from the Burundian flag. The announcement of the decision was published in the local mass media and it has produced great emotion and sorrow among the Tutsi Jewish Community, both in the diaspora or in the Homeland. That is also the reason I’m very happy to have got the opportunity to display the last image of our Kushite Israelite flag, in the presence of a faithful rabbi such as David Kuperman, and at a very spiritual Israeli-Kushitic event.

La-Shanah ha ba be-Yerushalaim.

image: Flag of BurundiFlag of Burundi