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Many accept African converts

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To the Editor:

We at Be’chol Lashon are glad to see that the JTA covered the important story of Rabbi Gershom Sizomu’s candidacy for National Parliament in Uganda. It is a historic event to have a rabbi run for national office outside of Israel and as such deserves the attention of Jews worldwide. Furthermore, Rabbi Sizomu’s message of religious tolerance and intercommunity cooperation is one that provides a model for Jews the world over.

It is unfortunate, however, that you chose to end the short piece with a note that “Israel and Orthodox Jews in the Diaspora do not recognize the Abayudaya as Jewish.” The statement is misleading in its broad, all-encompassing nature. Many in Israel and around the world do welcome our African brothers and sisters, as well as the thousands of other converts to Judaism worldwide.

The journey of the Abayudaya to Judaism is powerful and worthy of interest, but not the story today. Rabbi Sizomu’s campaign is a tribute not only to the strength of this great Jewish leader but a testament to his entire community and their vision for moving Africa forward.

Rabbi Ruth Abusch-Magder
Rabbi in Residence, BecholLashon.org

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