Madagascar Community Members Convert to Judaism

The emerging Jewish community in Madagascar is bursting with pride this month. A group of 11 from the Ampanotokana community in Madagascar completed the process of conversion to Judaism on November 11, two years after 121 men, women and children converted to Judaism there, facilitated by Kulanu.

Rabbi Moshé Yéhouda, a rabbi originally from Belgium who now lives in the area and is affiliated with the Dor Daim stream of Orthodox Judaism and the Charedi Beth Din of Paris, officiated together with two learned and observant elders from the surrounding area. Following months of intensive study and a firm commitment to Jewish practice, the group became Jews according to halacha (Jewish law) with a mikvah (ritual bath) ceremony. The men, who had previously been circumcised, also underwent a “hatafat dam brit,” a prick of blood. Inspirational words were then shared over a picnic with some 30 community members.

Plans for the future include a synagogue in the capital city, a summer camp for children and a project in which the community will buy fields to create jobs for financially struggling members.

“Life is not easy and many have difficult financial situations. Despite this, the community is dynamic and full of energy and hope, and with little, they do much,” said Rabbi Yéhouda, whose wife hails from the area.

Recently, a Kulanu volunteer shipped Jewish children’s books to the area, which the Rabbi says was deeply appreciated by them. “They felt being loved by their brothers and sisters worldwide,” he said. Learn more about the Madagascar Jewish community here.

(Photo: Rabbi Moshé Yéhouda speaks to members of the Madagascar community at a picnic and Torah study after the conversion ceremony.)