The Abayudaya Jews in Uganda. Kippot for Hope supports them by selling their colourful handmade kippot worldwide and using the profits for income generating and sustainable programs. Please visit http://www.kippotforhope.org
תולדות היהודים[עריכה | עריכת קוד מקור]
History of Jews in Uganda
In 1919, a Christian Ugandan leader called Semei Kakungulu, decided that he felt a stronger connection to the Old Testament than the New. When he was told that that is the Book of the Jews, he proclaimed, “Then we will be Jewish”. He declared his entire tribe to be Jewish and circumcised his sons and himself.
In the early 1920s the community was visited by an American Jew who stayed with them for six months. He taught them about the festivals, the calendar, and the laws of kashrut. He was also instrumental in the establishment of a school with the purpose of passing on Jewish knowledge and teaching skills. These people became known as The Abayudaya (“The People of Judaea”). However, during the persecution of the Idi Amin era almost 90% of this population was forced to convert to either Christianity or Islam. Approximately 300 members remained, committed to Judaism and worshipped in secret.
Today there are almost a thousand Jews of the Abaudaya, divided into six small communities spread across 100 kilometres in the east of Uganda. There is a central community that has its own guesthouse. It welcomes visitors and is eager to increase the community's knowledge of Judaism and the outside world. The community are passionately Jewish, they all have Hebrew names, and the men and boys wear their brightly coloured handmade kippot with pride. They pray and sing with excitement and great enthusiasm.
The Rabbi of the central community, Rabbi Gershom Sizomu, was ordained in 2008, becoming as the first Rabbi of the Abayudaya and Chief Rabbi of Uganda.