New Synagogue Opens in Uganda

The Abayudaya -- a group of Jews living in a remote collection of villages in eastern Uganda -- have opened a new synagogue, named the The Abayudaya Stern Synagogue and Community Center, after California philanthropists Ralph and Sue Stern, who helped finance the building. The Jewish community represent less than one-hundredth of 1 percent of the population in Uganda, where Judaism was banned in the 1970s under Hitler-admiring dictator Idi Amin.

The building will serve the 2,000 or so Abayudaya, who once were 8,000-strong and have grown since they numbered about 300 under Amin’s persecution. The 7,000 square feet include a main sanctuary, an ancillary prayer room, and a mikvah, a Jewish ritual bath.

The Abayudaya (“people of Judah” in Luganda language) have also received philanthropic attention from Be’chol Lashon (“in all tongues” in Hebrew), a San Francisco-based non-profit that advocates for Jews of color worldwide. To help combat malaria in the community, Be’chol Lashon has sent mosquito nets, built a medical clinic, and financed the digging of clean water wells.

For more details, see Religion News Service, The Sun Sentinel, Tablet Mag, and The Gazette.

Transfer of Torahs from the Moses Synagogue in Anticipation of New Synagogue (Be'chol Lashon)

Transfer of Torahs from the Moses Synagogue in Anticipation of New Synagogue (Be'chol Lashon)

New Abayudaya Stern Synagogue Opening in Uganda (Be'chol Lashon)

New Abayudaya Stern Synagogue Opening in Uganda (Be'chol Lashon)