Kulanu Speaking Tour: Introducing the Lemba Jews of Zimbabwe!

Kulanu is pleased and privileged to announce the first US speaking tour of a member of Zimbabwe’s Lemba Jewish community! Modreck Zvakavapano Maeresera of Harare, Zimbabwe, whose articles on the Lemba Jews were featured in the most recent issue of KulanuNews, will be visiting the United States from February 7 – March 11, 2013. 

Kulanu is requesting your help in identifying possible venues for this year’s tour. Host communities will learn about the fascinating history of the Lemba Jews and their desire to reconnect with the Jewish world. Mr. Maeresera, who has a diploma in journalism and media studies, has taken a leadership role in the Jewish renaissance of this ancient Jewish community.  His talk will provide an insider’s view of the history and practice of the Lemba Jews, and their story of perseverance and commitment to Judaism over hundreds of years. He will also discuss the cyber-learning program of Jewish studies that was initiated in the fall of 2011, and give updates on the training of Lemba religious leaders and the community’s plans to build a synagogue in Zimbabwe.

Scroll down to find out how to invite Modreck Maeresera to your community!
Many writers have recorded the claims of Jewish descent by Lemba leaders from Zimbabwe and South Africa; they have pointed to Lemba religious observances as proof of their origins. In the last ten years, advanced DNA research has identified a priestly “Cohen” gene haplotype in more than 50% of all males in the Buba clan which, in Lemba oral tradition, had a leadership role in bringing the Lemba out of Israel. This figure is the same or a little higher than the percentage for Cohanim (priests) in Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jewish groups around the world. These results appear to validate Lemba’s oral tradition.

For more information about the Lemba Jewish community visit www.kulanu.org/lemba

What is required of host locations?

You are welcome to seek co-sponsors to share your event. Synagogues and social action committees of all denominations, Jewish community centers and day schools, and secular universities have all joined together to host Kulanu speaking events. Kulanu speakers have been welcomed at Brown, Cal State, Howard, Washburn, Wellesley, Northeastern, and Yale Universities; within universities, many departments have co-sponsored, including history, religion, education, Jewish studies, African studies, music, campus ministries, international development, and diversity offices.

Currently we are only expecting to schedule events in the United States, so if you are outside of the U.S. please pass this announcement along to your American friends and colleagues!

Here is what we ask of event hosts:
•    An honorarium of $1,450 per event including an initial deposit of $250. Tour proceeds benefit Kulanu’s work with the Lemba Jewish community. (*Note: We are offering an “early bird” discount of $200 if you pick a date and send the deposit by August 31, 2012!)
•    A primary contact to be responsible for the event and for Mr. Maeresera while he is in your city.
•    Accommodations, local transportation, and meals for the speaker. Home hospitality is great! (He eats vegetarian/fish in non-kosher homes and meat only in kosher homes.)
•    Event set-up requirements are detailed in the online Event Planning Kit (available soon).

If you would like to host the speaker, what should you do next?

•    Please first consult our work-in-progress online calendar to see which dates have already been assigned to other groups, and which dates have tentative requests.
•    Complete our online inquiry form to let us know of your interest in participating and how to reach you, and, if you can, provide three possible dates that might work for you.
•    Check out Kulanu’s Event Planning Kit for guidelines on hosting a successful speaking tour event. (Kit available soon!)

This is an opportunity to make a very special, multi-layered contribution:
educate your community about the Lemba Jews of Zimbabwe,
help the Lemba Jewish community extend their relationship with the wider Jewish world, and,
provide support for Kulanu’s work.

Please feel free to notify other groups in the U.S. that might be interested in hosting Modreck Maeresera of the Lemba Jewish community of Zimbabwe during his upcoming tour. Thank you!