NOAM Shlichot in Uganda

This past April, three Masorti Shlichim from NOAM Israel visited the Abayudaya Jewish community in Uganda to volunteer as teachers and youth group instructors. The NOAM leaders, Ayala Shrell-Fox, Einat Shrell-Fox and Katherine Leff spent six weeks in Uganda teaching Hebrew, Torah, and cantillation to students of all ages, and holding informal educational projects for youth.

Their primary goal was to teach Hebrew—both in order to improve people’s ability to read from the Torah and siddur, but also to there was a special push to teach spoken Hebrew to community members slated to participate on the first-ever Birthright trip for members of the Abayudaya Jewish Community. The shlichot visited the “Hadassah” school where they held semi-weekly Hebrew instruction sessions, and they also held informal educational activities designed to integrate Hebrew into games and activities.

They taught “leining” and cantillation to members of the community in the year leading up to their Bar and Bat Mitzvot, and also met with leaders of the AYA, the Abayudaya Youth Association (a member of the NOAM Olami network) to discuss ways to organize more frequent activities for the youth . In the short time they were in Uganda, she shlichot managed to raise awareness in the community for the importance of informal education and youth groups, and upon their return to Israel they will meet with NOAM Olami staff to discuss ways to strengthen NOAM’s presence in Uganda.

The community embraced the shlichot with open arms and are currently looking into the possibility of sending a shaliach to Uganda for an entire year.