The Abayudaya Jews of Uganda

The Star Tribune of 3/24/13 carried a story about a unique Jewish community in Uganda, East Africa. The Abayudaya of Uganda began in 1919 when one African man studying the Bible under the direction of early missionaries decided that the Torah was the true word of God and became the leader of a growing indigenous community of Jews.  Under the leadership of Semei Kakungulu, the Jewish community grew to 3,000 souls.  But then they suffered persecution under Idi Amin who banned the Jewish religion.  The community migrated to the more remote district of Mbale near the Kenyan border where they have been slowly rebuilding.  Today the Jewish community lives in several villages and supports 6 temples, under the leadership of Rabbi Gershom.  Now numbering about 1,500, they run a school to teach the children Hebrew and observe the same Shabbat rituals and Holy Days as Jews around the world.

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