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By Crystal Schelle

January 31, 2020

When Shadrach Mugoya Halevi was appointed spiritual leader of his Abayudaya Jewish community in his home of Namutumba, Uganda, in 2014 he knew he would need more education. Then 26, Halevi already had a Bachelor of Arts from a university in Mbale, an hour from Namutuma. But he also knew that he needed to expand his religious studies and found ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal Ordination Program... READ MORE

By Sara Toth Stub

October 8, 2019

Before Yom Kippur begins at sundown Tuesday, members of Uganda's Namutumba synagogue will sit down to a festive meal to prepare themselves physically and spiritually for the Day of Atonement. This Jewish custom of the seuda hamafseket is new for this community, whose members have often entered the 25-hour-long fast on empty stomachs owing to drought and food shortages. ...READ MORE


By Mugoya Shadrach Levi and Edward Rensin

November 6, 2017

My name is Mugoya Shadrach Levi. I am a second-year rabbinical student and the spiritual leader of the Jewish community of Namutumba in eastern Uganda. Until quite recently, the presence of Jews in my country was only known to a small number of outsiders. The Jews of Uganda, now widely known by their Luganda name, Abayudaya, have had a fascinating and unlikely if somewhat tormented history, dating roughly from the end of the 19th century. ...READ MORE

A Jewish Wedding In Uganda & How Shadrach Mugoya Levi found ALEPH

October 10, 2017

How does a young man’s dream in a village in Eastern Uganda lead to rabbinical studies, a village wedding celebration with 1,500 guests, securing food for 400 Abayudaya Jews during drought and famine, and forging a deep and loving connection between that young man, his village and the ALEPH world of Jewish Renewal? The story begins about three years ago, when ALEPH’s world was widened as Rabbi Leila Gal Berner, Dean of Students of the ALEPH Ordination Program, noticed an email from Uganda. ...READ MORE

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By Sara Toth Stub

September 28, 2017

The idea of giving up food for 25 hours for the Yom Kippur fast can seem daunting. But for Shadrach Mugoya Levi, it's not so unusual. In his impoverished village of Magada, Uganda, there are many days when there's not enough food to eat. "On Yom Kippur I am asking God to pardon me," Levi says of the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. "On other days when I don't have food, I still pray. I pray that I get what to eat, so that I can continue to live." Levi, the 28-year-old spiritual leader of Uganda's Namutumba Synagogue, had an especially tough childhood. Orphaned at age 7, he raised three younger brothers as well as a sister who later died. ...READ MORE

October 10, 2017

Seven years ago, Shadrach Mugoya Levi drove three hours from his rural village of Magada in the Namutumba District of Uganda to find a woman named Naomi. His friends had insisted he meet her. When he arrived at her house, her mother answered the door and said: “No, my daughter is too young.” . ...READ MORE

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