Maryland Raises $10K And Counting To Help Ugandan Jews Amid Famine

Women and children carry Torah scrolls from an old synagogue building to a new building in Nabugoye, Uganda. (Be’chol Lashon)

The Maryland Jewish community has raised thousands of dollors in an emergency fundraising campaign to help Uganda’s small Jewish community amidst an ongoing famine in East Africa.

Members of the Jewish Federation of Howard County, Maryland, partnered with the Howard County Board of Rabbis and raised more than $10,000 in less than a week, the Baltimore Sun reported.

The federation will keep the campaign open through the end of August, the Sun reported. Funds are sent to the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee humanitarian organization and then distributed to Be’chol Lashon, an American Jewish outreach group which has been involved with the Abayudaya for decades.

The Abayudaya number around 2,000 and have been practicing Judaism for around a century, with most of its members converting under Conservative Jewish rabbis about 15 years ago. The community is led by Rabbi Gershom Sizomu, a California-trained cleric who was also elected to Ugandan parliament last year.

At least two members of the Abayudaya community have died from malnutrition amidst the widespread drought.

“I felt that as a Jewish community we could do something to alleviate the suffering that’s taking place there,” Ralph Grunewald, the interim executive director at the Jewish Federation of Howard County told the Sun.