Jewish Community Life in Congo Returning to Normal; Synagogue Reopened

Community life for the 700 Jews in Elizabethville is gradually returning to normal according to a report received by the World Jewish Congress here from the Jewish Congregation of Katanga. The report is from two community leaders, Mr. J. Soriano and Mr. J. S. Capelluto, the president and general secretary of the community, respectively.

All religious services at the local synagogue have been resumed and the community center is “coming back to life, little by little,” the two community officials report. A census of the Jewish community is still incomplete but the number of Jews in Elizabethville is put at 700, a decrease of about 20 percent over last year’s figure.

Recent celebrations marking Israel’s 13th anniversary, in which the Congo Government leaders participated, have been an impetus to community activity. The report notes that the Society of Jewish Women, WIZO, Maccabi, Habonim and the Zionist Organization are all resuming their work. In addition, a new group is active, a mutual aid committee, whose task is to help rehabilitate those who suffered damage in the recent past. The communities in Elizabethville has not yet been able to establish regular contact with Jewish communities in other Congo centers. Under the Belgian Government, the Congo Jewry totaled 2,500.

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