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  • Journey to Uganda: Hunger, thirst and happiness

    By David Suissa

    August 20, 2014 | 5:44 pm

    It was  a scene that repeated itself every time we arrived at a new village in rural Uganda. First, the villagers, who were expecting us, came running toward us as we unloaded our tired bodies from our large, rickety van after hours of slogging on dirt roads — roads that made you...

  • Anti-gay persecution abroad demands U.S. action

    July 8, 2014 | 12:37 pm

    Every parent imagines and treasures a child’s first words, first steps, first love. Our children will graduate high school and then college, find their passion, marry their sweetheart, have children of their own.

    There are also things a parent privately dreads. In 2010,...

  • Op-Ed: A miracle in Uganda

    April 11, 2014 | 2:16 pm

    As we celebrate Passover, it is important to remember that as great as the miracle of the Exodus was, freedom was only the beginning. I know this from reading the Torah, but I also know from personal experience.

    I was born in Uganda to Jewish parents at a time when it was illegal...

  • Israelis pay to send deported African kids to school in Uganda

    By Simone Wilson

    March 26, 2014 | 2:48 pm

    Among the 1,000 students who attend two brightly painted boarding schools in Kampala, Uganda, is a group of 72 South Sudanese children who speak perfect Hebrew on the playground.

    “It is unbelievable,” said Alex Gumisiriza, head of academic programs at the Trinity Schools Uganda...

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  • In rural Uganda, small Jewish community splits over conversion

    March 24, 2014 | 12:13 pm

    On Fridays at sundown, the Jewish residents of this village set amid the lush hills of eastern Uganda gather in the synagogue to greet Shabbat.

    The room is bare, the light is dim and the Conservative prayer books are worn. But the spare surroundings do little to diminish the...

  • Israel confirms sending migrants to third country

    March 5, 2014 | 10:10 am

    Following reports that Israel was sending African migrants to Uganda, Israeli Interior Minister Gideon Saar confirmed that Israel is sending migrants to a third-party country.

    “The departure for third countries, on the basis of agreements we have reached, is of limited scope, in...

  • Israeli NGOs bringing their expertise to meet Africa’s needs

    February 27, 2014 | 10:09 am

    When they first arrived in northern Kenya in 2011 at the height of a massive drought, the Israeli refugee aid organization IsraAid planned to offer food and other core necessities to the 100,000 residents of the Kakuma refugee camp.

    When the drought subsided a year later,...

  • Congresswoman ‘disturbed,’ ‘saddened’ by Ugandan anti-gay bill

    By Ryan Torok

    February 25, 2014 | 4:28 pm

    Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-37th district) has denounced the decision of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to sign into law a bill that criminalizes specific forms of homosexual activity.

    “I am deeply disturbed and saddened that President Museveni decided to sign this...

  • Jewish group condemns new Ugandan anti-gay law

    By Ryan Torok

    February 24, 2014 | 4:55 pm

    After Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Monday signed into law a bill assigning a life sentence to some forms of homosexual activity, the American Jewish World Service (AJWS), which has made LGBT rights its foremost issue, swiftly responded.

    “By signing this draconian bill...

  • Clergy reflect on Proposition 8

    October 30, 2013 | 12:37 pm

    On a wall of the Autry National Center — among Los Angeles Jewish immigrant artifacts, biographies of Hollywood Jewry, above a case of kippot from Uganda — a white banner proclaims in crimson letters: “Beth Chayim Chadashim, Jewish, Gay & Lesbian & Proud.” The banner, used in gay...

  • Between past and future: Israel, Africa and the Apartheid Canard

    October 10, 2013 | 3:38 pm

    Israelis were not surprised by the terrorist attack by last month’s Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabaab Nairobi’s Westgate Mall, killing 67 people. They had been on alert against such dangers since two attacks on Israeli targets in Mombasa in 2002. Indeed, there were reports that Israeli...

  • Violence in Eastern Congo is our problem

    December 5, 2012 | 3:26 pm

    We’re staring down the barrel of another full-scale war in Congo. The M23 rebellion, launched in March 2012, last week stormed and seized Goma, a crucial town in eastern Congo. The M23 rebels already had been responsible for the displacement of more than half a million civilians —...

  • New violence in the Congo: Having a conscience means working overtime

    November 21, 2012 | 9:46 am

    With rockets raining down on Israel, it’s hard to focus on anything else. Our families, our friends, our compatriots are under attack, and our hearts ache for them. But Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis, who co-founded Jewish World Watch, reminds us that the needs of our own families and...

  • Let there be light

    By Susan Freudenheim

    October 3, 2012 | 12:04 pm

    We take light for granted. But in the Torah’s opening chapter of Bereshit, it was God’s first gift.

    It seems fitting, then, that when a local synagogue committed itself to helping an impoverished village in rural Uganda, the first gift would be to turn on the lights — to give the...

  • The Other Side of ‘Kony 2012’

    By Susan Freudenheim

    March 14, 2012 | 5:54 pm

    I wrote a column this week about my sense that ‘Kony 2012’—which has kids all excited about getting engaged—should redirect our thoughts to programs we know are more reliable and doing work in Africa that we can become involved with beyond just Tweeting. Organizations like Jewish...

  • Beyond 'Kony 2012'

    By Susan Freudenheim

    March 14, 2012 | 12:47 pm

    A week ago last Monday, my daughter brought her laptop to the dinner table and insisted, “We have to watch this.” This never happens in our house. We don’t watch TV at dinner, nor does my very independent 16-year-old tend to share. But her urgency was palpable, so we let her...

  • American Jewish Organization Confronts LGBT Issues in Uganda

    May 25, 2010 | 4:41 pm

    As the United States struggles with the issue of gay marriage, countries around the world face their own challenges in discrimination against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) community.

    In Uganda, the issue has come to a head as political...

  • Volunteers seek Jewish way to serve in Africa [SLIDESHOW]

    August 25, 2009 | 5:00 am

    Here in this humid and leafy village in eastern Uganda 20 minutes from the Kenyan border, 16 American college students sit in a circle. They are protected by the shade of a straw thatch structure adjacent to the complex where they have been living for the past month.

    It is the...

  • Freshly-ordained Ugandan rabbi gets ball rolling on returning home

    By Roberto Loiederman

    July 17, 2008 | 12:45 am

    Rabbi Gershom Sizomu, the first black sub-Saharan rabbi ordained at an American rabbinical school, has had a very busy time since returning to Uganda in June, after not having lived there for five years. Among other activities, the American Jewish University graduate recently...
  • VIDEO: Jews of Uganda —the Abayudaya—dream of Israel

    July 1, 2008 | 11:57 pm

    The Abayudaya, only Jewish community in Uganda, are hoping to emigrate to Israel. It’s a move that requires preparation, so some US Jews help them get ready.
    The video is from France 24, the French CNN.

  • Ugandan Gershom Sizomu ordained as first black sub-Saharan rabbi

    By Brad A. Greenberg

    May 21, 2008 | 4:01 pm

    Gershom Sizomu has had a wonderful five years—four spent enjoying the for-granted luxuries of Los Angeles and one indulging in the spiritual gravity of Jerusalem—and now he is set to return home to lead a small Jewish community in rural Uganda.

    The final step in his preparation...

  • Briefs:  100th birthday for Workmen’s Circle; ‘Kosher’ is numero uno

    January 3, 2008 | 7:00 pm

    A Century of the Workmen's Circle

    Under the banner of "For a more beautiful and better world," the Workmen's Circle in California will mark its centennial with Yiddish songs, historical anecdotes and tributes to noted community members.

    Actor and social activist Ed Asner will...

  • Ugandan Rabbinic Student Up for Grammy

    By David Finnigan

    February 10, 2005 | 7:00 pm

     

    University of Judaism rabbinic student Gershom Sizomu is deciding what he and his wife will wear to the Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 13. "I'm confused," said Sizomu, 35. "Some people say I should put on Ugandan clothes; others say I should put on a tuxedo."

    Red-carpet choices...

  • Ugandan Jews Keep the Faith in Isolation

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    May 6, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    In the documentary, "Moving Heaven and Earth," an American Jew describes spying an African, Gershom Sizomu, amid the white expatriates in a Nairobi synagogue in the 1990s.

    "After curiously sitting next to him for a while, I finally whispered, 'What are you doing here?'" the...

  • Out of Africa, Into the Valley

    By Gaby Wenig

    February 26, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    When his father was arrested for building a sukkah at a time when Idi Amin had outlawed Judaism in Uganda, Gershom Sizomu paid the arresting scout five goats for his father's freedom.

    "My father was kicked and slapped and mishandled in front of us," said Sizomu, who spoke to The...

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