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Zooming with Uganda

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
A Zoom like this I never experienced before: a lecture to the Jewish community of Uganda in Africa. Approximately 60 Jews live there, mostly Israelis, with a variety of life paths that brought them there. When I asked Yocheved and Moshe Raskin, Chabad emissaries in Uganda, what was the character of the community, they told me that first of all they needed to create one, to create a feeling of connection and mutual responsibility. In the course of the lecture I told them the following story, on the importance of each and every person, especially in small communities.

In a certain town in Europe, there were just ten Jewish families, and among them only ten men. One day something wonderful happened: one more Jewish family moved into the town so now there were eleven men instead of ten. And what happened the next morning? For the first time, no one came to pray. Each individual felt less responsibility for completing the minyan, felt someone else would take his place, and simply excused himself from showing up. There is no substitute for the feeling of commitment and community obligation, for the awareness that every little thing you do makes a difference. In small communities this is felt acutely, yet we can only imagine what it would be like if all of us lived with this feeling of being indispensable, as if there were a minyan that depended on us.


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