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Ugandan rabbi runs for parliament

(JTA) — Native-born Ugandan Rabbi Gershom Sizomu is running for the country’s national Parliament.

If elected in the February 2011 vote, Sizomu would be the first Jew elected to national office in Uganda and also the first rabbi to be seated in a nationally elected government outside of Israel, according to Be’chol Lashon, an American-based organization committed to strengthening the Jewish people worldwide.

Sizomu, the chief rabbi of Uganda, has been endorsed by the Forum for Democratic Change party and is waiting for his candidacy papers to be approved by the National Electoral Commission.

The rabbi ministers to Uganda’s native Jewish community, called the Abayudaya, 300 of whom converted to Judaism in 2003 under Sizomu’s initiative. Israel and Orthodox Jews in the Diaspora do not recognize the Abayudaya as Jewish.

Sizomu is an ordained Conservative rabbi.