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Sub-Saharan Jewish communities meet in Abidjan

December 12, 2022

Representatives of Jewish communities in Sub-Saharan Africa gathered last weekend in Ivory Coast to create an umbrella religious organisation for the region.

During a week of activities in Abidjan, the attendees learnt about Jewish practices, such as “kosher” slaughter and burial practices.

“The purpose of this meeting is to bring together all of the emerging Jewish communities that are developing and growing throughout Africa. For example, Nigeria has over 80 orthodox synagogues and it’s growing. And we find this in many countries across Africa. They’ve never met each other. (…) We spent a week together learning and studying the Bible, the Torah, the Jewish traditions and the Jewish law”, explained Arieh Greenspan, co-organizer of the conference.

The event was organized by a Jewish non-profit organization, Kulanu, with the aim of reuniting emerging Jewish communities in Africa.

“They understand that Judaism in Sub-Saharan Africa is sometimes a new phenomenon. Though some believe they are descendants of lost tribes or Israelite tribes in the Bible. Some have found Judaism new. And this group of combined people are practising Judaism, living Jewish lives, and for the first time ever got together to create an alliance”, added Bonita Sussman, known as Rabbanit, president of Kulanu.

On the final day, ahead of the Hannukah celebrations, the group planned to consecrate a new synagogue with the laying of a cornerstone.

The Very Best Sukkah: A Story from Uganda

Read about this new illustrated book written by Shoshana Nam­bi, a young Ugandan woman who has studied in Israel and is currently doing rabbinic studies in the US. She recently spoke at Kulanu US’s High Holiday Zoom event.

Here’s a basic description of the storyline:

“Sukkot is Shoshi’s favorite Jewish holiday. She and her brothers love to decorate their sukkah, the hut where her family will celebrate. But who will win the Ugandan Abayudaya community’s annual sukkah contest? While only one sukkah can be the best, everybody wins when neighbors work together.”

Click here to read all about it!