On the morning of 3 Sivan, 2 bochurim from the Yeshivah Lerabonus in Pretoria, South Africa landed in Uganda’s main airport to bring joy to the budding Jewish community, in and around the capital city, Kampala, during the holiday of Shavuos.
This expedition forms part of The Pretoria Yeshiva’s hafotza program, which services various outlying communities in South Africa and Africa at large.
The bochrim came to help the residing Chabad Rabbi Moshe Raskin, a lively and energetic young man who, together with his wife and two boys, has touched and brought a Jewish spirit to the community there, creating a hotspot for backpackers traveling through Africa in the process.
The joyful atmosphere was really felt during the Yom Tov. There was a braai (BBQ) and learning with the bochurim which was well appreciated. Many backpackers from Israel and around the globe had come for a warm place to stay for Shabbos and the ensuing holiday, and they were incredibly satisfied with the new atmosphere that was present during the celebrations.
The opening event was a celebration of Jewish culture with lively tunes and inspiring words over a delicious Friday night meal. Through bonding over past experiences, all of the guests felt a very homey atmosphere.
This only continued over Shabbos with songs of prayers and Torah learning. On the night of Shavuos, the entire group stayed up all night learning Torah and sharing stories. On Shavuos day, the bochrim led the services with traditional Israeli and Sephardic songs, read the Aseres Hadibros, and gave the priestly blessing to a whopping turnout of 60 people.
An extravagant milchig kiddush followed, with a cheese platter and delectable dairy ice cream, demonstrating how truly easy it is, to get delicious kosher food, even in such a remote place like Uganda. The bochrim, together with the Chabad Shliach inspired the locals who had not yet learned very much about mitzvos.
The atmosphere of learning and growth in connection with Hashem was very prevalent at this event, and it was clear that everyone present enjoyed themselves immensely. The bochurim’s efforts were successful in uplifting the holiday for the shliach’s family and guests. All in all it was a very special Shavuos appreciated by all, with expressed gratitude and interest to continue the relationship in years to come.