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  • Rabbi Leila Gal Berner

Thanksgiving 2021

Updated: 2 days ago

On this Thanksgiving Day when many of us are blessed to sit down with friends and family, let us know that many folks do not share this blessing of bounty.


I recall when I first met a young man from Namatumba.


“In your village, what do you eat for breakfast?” I asked him.

“What do you mean, 'breakfast'?” he replied.

“Your morning meal, my friend,” said I.

“Ah, my brother, we do not eat our meal in the morning.”

“Your meal?”

“Yes, we have but one meal in the day when we come in from working. These are harder times, now.”

“Do you ever have a second meal, my friend?” I inquired.

“Oh, yes!” he smiled. “On Shabbat, sometimes. when we gather to pray, the wives prepare rice for the community from special gifts the rabbi has gotten from our American friends. Rabbi explains to us, 'It is hard to teach Torah to the people on empty stomachs.

We all look forward to Shabbat!'”

These days are hard in Namutumba. There is drought and there is COVID. Many people are sick, and some have died.


Yet, there are many blessings. This year, Ezra Uganda has provided COVID vaccines for the entire village. We have provided for rice on Shabbat. We have helped the village secure safe sources of drinking water.


I want to tell you: We are all grateful for the opportunity to give. We are blessed by all of our supporters and donors. And our friends in Namutumba are grateful for our contributions to their welfare, their health, and their survival.


This year, I am told, they gathered in a new cinderblock synagogue, built with your donations, to give thanks. And learn Torah with food in their bellies, and appreciation in their hearts.


For all we have, and for all we have to hive to others, let us give thanks.

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