Help Kulanu Support the Lemba Jews of Zimbabwe
Welcome to our fundraising page for Lemba Jews of Zimbabwe!
Please partner in our most important undertaking in our organizational history, that of inaugurating the ingathering of the Lemba Jews of Zimbabwe. This major group of “lost” Jews is exciting and important. They were cut off from mainstream Judaism for over 1,000 years and have maintained their Jewish practices and customs throughout their exile in Africa, orally and in secret. An extraordinary partnership between the Lemba and Kulanu is being forged. The needs of the Lemba are different. For them, the mission is to reinvigorate their ancient faith and to reconnect them with the Jewish world before their faith is lost in the modern world. The total Lemba population of Zimbabwe has been estimated at 100,000 with more Lemba living in South Africa. So the stakes are high!
Some Recent Highlights:
- Construction of the Great Zimbabwe Synagogue in the village of Mapakomhere is well underway. One can already see walls going up and excitement is building.
- Lemba leader Modreck Maeresera visited the United States on a seven state speaking tour in the winter of 2012 and was converted with Orthodox credentialed rabbis during the trip.
- The cyber learning program organized by Jack Zeller from Israel two years ago has grown to include many teachers. They include: Rabbi Micha Lindenberg and his wife Miriam, the first teachers to reach out to the Lemba, and Rabbi Aaron Rehberg from Israel; Phil Alcide, who teaches via his facebook page House of Prayer on the parasha of the week, from Miami; Idit Benmor-Piltch, who teaches Hebrew from Norfolk, Virginia, and Joel Yan, who teachers prayers and songs, from Canada.
- In March of 2013, a second seder was held in Mapakomhere with board member Sandy Leeder once more in attendance. In a report to the Kulanu board, Sandy wrote: “As important as I was organizationally and Kulanu financially, I was for the most part only an observer at the actual seder. This year there were 142 people at the Seder 70 adults and 72 children, double the number from 2012. The importance of the seder to the Lemba cannot be overstated. This year elders came from many villages to participate.”
- A second synagogue in Harare is now a reality. Jack and Sandy rented a house out of their own funds to serve as a synagogue, community center and guest house to jump start the project. Kulanu has since taken over the rental.
- Rosh Hashanah in Harare had 70 attendees, including 7 elders, Yom Kippur services had 55 attendees including 4 elders.
- A recent Shabbat service in Harare had 32 in attendance although there was a competing political rally.
- A Lemba Jewish Religious Practice Committee has been formed and members are interviewing Lemba elders all over Zimbabwe, documenting Lemba religious practices, traditions and prayers.
- A Lemba musician is adapting Kabbalat Shabbat songs into Zimbabwe rhythms.
Thanks for your support.
If you want to help the Lemba Jews of Zimbabwe simply click "make a donation" at the top of this page to contribute toward our goal. If you prefer to send a check, write it to "Kulanu" and mail it to Kulanu, 165 West End Ave, 3R, New York, NY 10023. Write "Lemba Jews of Zimbabwe" in the memo field. Your donation will be listed on this page with your name unless you send Kulanu an alternate display name (anonymous, your initials, etc.).
You can also pass this page on by email, Facebook, or Twitter - ask your friends to go to http://tinyurl.com/LembaJewsofZimbabwe and check out our project.
To learn more about Kulanu, a nearly all-volunteer 501(c)(3) organization that supports communities all over the world, click here!
To learn more about Kulanu's work with the Lemba of Zimbabwe, click here!