Update: Marom-Kampala Jewish Community in Uganda
Our beloved congregant Shoshana McKinney, who lives with her husband and son in the Marom-Kampala Jewish community in Uganda, is back in Dallas for a short while and spoke to our Shearith community during Shabbat Morning services this past weekend, offering thanks for our continuing generous support and an update on the current situation.
Your Help is Still Needed
In the last couple of months Shearith Israel has raised funds to help the Marom-Kampala community with their education project to enable 18 students to learn virtually through the continued Uganda Covid lockdown. Each student needs a laptop, headset, a personal internet connection, and writing notebooks to continue in school. The cost is $1,144 per student for a total of $20,591. To date, we have raised $12,110 for this education project, leaving $8481 remaining to be raised.
In the aftermath of Shoshana’s speech to the congregation on Shabbat, one of our congregants immediately and generously committed to an $1,144 donation to take care of the needs of one of the remaining students. Please consider matching his commitment or combining with other family and friends to sponsor a student together. Your contribution will make a huge difference in these students' lives. As Shoshana said powerfully and movingly this past Shabbat, “the People of the Book should be able to read books.” Please, click below to donate to these young Jewish students in Uganda.
Please donate at https://bit.ly/Shearith-Uganda
Back in May, when we celebrated Shavuot, the Shearith Israel Social Action committee organized a fruit drive to evoke the ancient tradition of bringing the first fruit of the harvest to the Temple in Jerusalem. The drive raised money to donate boxes of fruit to The Bridge, a homeless recovery center, which offers individuals without a home in Dallas County a place to get their basic needs met, including hot showers, nutritious meals, and haircuts, as well as intensive services such as physical and mental health evaluations and care management services. Each day The Bridge serves over 800 guests and provides overnight shelter to 300 guests.
The Social Action Committee set a goal of collecting enough money to donate 49 boxes of fruit, one for each day of the Omer. Congregants were asked to donate $36 for each fruit box. The response was overwhelming! Our members donated over $2,000 which was enough to buy about 75 boxes of fruit. Because of this generosity, Shearith has been able to make fruit deliveries every other Friday since mid-May. On the first week of delivery, congregants Arlene Sandgarten and Sharon Kuhr met with Katerah Jefferson, Volunteer Coordinator at The Bridge to oversee a delivery of 1300 servings of pears, oranges, apples, and bananas.
Social Action co-chairs Andrea Solka and Mindy Fagin were thrilled with the donations. Mindy said, “Our Shearith Community provided this abundance of fruit for a very vulnerable population, and we will be able to continue deliveries until August.”
Thanks to all our members who donated and to the Social Action Committee for their work on this project supporting the greater Dallas community.
For the last few years, the Marom Jewish Community in Uganda and Shearith Israel have had a special relationship. Shearith, through generous contributions from our members, helped provide funds for clean, filtered water for the community and sent 11 new pairs of tefillin, purchased specifically for them during a Shearith Community trip to Israel. One of the leaders of the community, Israel Kirya, spoke at Shearith two years ago this month, and many of us know Israel's wife, Shoshana McKinney.
Israel reached out to us this past weekend, telling Rabbi Ari Sunshine, "The situation in Uganda has worsened as we were hit by the second wave of covid. The virus is spreading at a very high speed and the country is unable to handle the situation. People are dying in higher numbers now than even during the first wave. The government announced a total lockdown for 42 days as they assess the situation."
Israel asked for our assistance. "We are kindly requesting your help with some funds to buy food for our community members. This wave has come during a time when most of our community members have lost jobs due to the first lockdown because of covid. Many of our community members are stranded in the city as they can't travel to the country. Please, we will be grateful for any assistance given."
Rabbi Sunshine has pledged a minimum of $2500 from Shearith Israel to help out the Marom Uganda community in this time of need.
Please consider making a donation during these challenging times to the Shearith Israel Social Action Fund.
To donate by check, please note "For Uganda" in the memo line and send to Shearith. Or, donate online HERE
Shearith Israel clergy, staff and congregants share