Kulanu Looks Back on 2012…

Dear Friends,

Kulanu means “all of us” in Hebrew. Please join Kulanu in reflecting on what “all of us” accomplished together in 2012.

We are delighted to share with you these selected highlights of our work over the past twelve months, as we continue to grow:

Three Abayudaya children. Photo by joyofcolor.com

Three Abayudaya children in Uganda.
Photo by joyofcolor.com

In Uganda (Abayudaya)…

  • Kulanu continued to support the community’s primary and secondary school, which successfully educate nearly 800 Jewish, Christian and Muslim students. (Yearly cost: $76 per student).
  • Kulanu continued essential school nutrition programs, which increase students’ attendance and performance at school. (Yearly cost: $41 per student for breakfast and lunch).
  • We created an online Tribute Journal honoring Abayudaya leaders Naume Sabano and husband Aaron Kintu Moses; proceeds from this ‘ad book’ benefited the two Abayudaya schools and the school meals program in Uganda.
  • The Kulanu-Abayudaya Speaking Tour brought Aaron Kintu Moses of Uganda to congregations, schools, and Jewish centers in 13 cities across the U.S. to raise support for the Abayudaya Elementary and Semei Kakungulu High schools.

In Cameroon (Beth Yeshourun)…

  • Kulanu lent $22,500 so that the Cameroon Jewish community could purchase 250 acres of land and plant the first crop in a new cocoa farm that will provide employment and a better life for the Jewish community there.
  • Serges Etele, a young leader of the Beth Yeshourun community in Cameroon, made his first visit to the U.S. for a one-month Kulanu-Cameroon Speaking Tour in February.
Student in El Salvador reviewing new texts. Photo by Kimberly Duenas, 2012.

Student in El Salvador reviewing new texts.
Photo by Kimberly Duenas, 2012.

In El Salvador (Armenia)…

  • With help from visiting Kulanu volunteers, the emerging Jewish community in Armenia, El Salvador and nearby communities are developing a host of educational and religious activities. They now have religious services and beit midrash (study sessions) every evening. They are using the industrial oven that Kulanu donated to make pizza for youth activities, challah, and matzah.

In Ethiopia…

  • With support from Kulanu, the Ethiopian North Shewa Zionist Organization created its own web site (check it out at www.enszo.org), and paid for a security guard and an Internet connection at their synagogue.

In Guatemala (Adat Israel)…

  • With Kulanu support, Rabbi Devorah Lynn traveled to Guatemala for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur to lead the Jewish community of Adat Israel, the first time in 15 years that the community had a rabbi for the High Holy Days.

In Zimbabwe (Lemba)…

Passover Seder in Mapakomhere, Zimbabwe. Photo by Sandy Leeder, 2012.

First modern-day Passover Seder in Mapakomhere, Zimbabwe, led by Kulanu board member Sandy Leeder.
Photo by Sandy Leeder, 2012.

  • Inspired by board members Jack Zeller and Sandy Leeder who journeyed to Zimbabwe in 2011, the foundation has been dug for the Great Zimbabwe Synagogue, first synagogue in the Lemba community for hundreds of years. Fundraising continues for this project.
  • The Harare Cyber-Learning Program is growing, as lessons are being distributed in the countryside. A new Facebook page, “Lembas for Judaism”, contains educational material on Judaism.
  • Weekly Shabbat services are held at the Mapakomhere School near the site of the new synagogue, under the leadership of Rabson Wuriga, a Kulanu colleague and leader of the Jewish community.
  • Board member Sandy Leeder traveled to Zimbabwe where he provided food and wine for the first Lemba Passover seder in modern times. (Read his story on the Kulanu web site, here).

On the home front…

  • Kulanu welcomed two new board members: Marcy Stein of New York City and Stuart “Sandy” Leeder of Tzfat, Israel.
  • Three strong new regional coordinators joined us: Daneel Schaechter for Latin America, Rabbi Elyse Goldstein for Guatemala, Jim Michaelson for China.
  • Jerry Krasny completed his first full year as an administrative volunteer, and continues to be a great help around the Kulanu office in New York. Thanks Jerry!
  • We assisted three participants – one from Uganda and two from Kaifeng, China – to come to a month-long program of Jewish living and learning for young adults at Brandeis Collegiate Institute in California, and planned to bring several more participants for 2013.
  • Our online learning volunteers continue to tutor students living in El Salvador, China, Cameroon and Zimbabwe who study Hebrew, Jewish rituals, traditions, culture, and history.
  • Kulanu published three e-books by Jewish scholars from Nigeria, Zimbabwe, and Ethiopia, about the history and traditions of their respective communities. (See www.kulanu.org/books)
  • Editor Judy Manelis published two extraordinary issues of KulanuNews (the Fall 2012 issue is hot off the press now – click here to read it online now, in full-color!).
  • We continued to share information about our communities on our web site (www.kulanu.org), blog (kulanu.org/blog), Facebook page (facebook.com/kulanu), YouTube channel (youtube.com/kulanuvideo), and photo albums (kulanu.phanfare.com).
  • Bequests of $31,000 each from Lynne Elson in 2011 and Roslyn Stone in 2012 allowed us to say “yes” to new initiatives. (Please consider Kulanu in your planned giving – contact us to find out how).

Today, I’m asking you to donate generously to Kulanu, an organization which relies primarily on volunteers to support Jewish communities around the world. Your commitment to Kulanu is essential to the success of our projects. My deepest thanks for your contribution.

And this year, please consider committing to a monthly, quarterly, or annual donation through our new Recurring Gift feature on our online Donate page, to help us plan for the future with confidence. Click here to set up your giving schedule now!

Many thanks for getting involved with Kulanu’s work around the world and helping “all of us” strengthen our Jewish lives. It really means a lot to know we have you as a partner and a friend.


With all best wishes,


Harriet Bograd, President

Kulanu, Inc: Supporting isolated and emerging Jewish communities around the world