Judaist Leader Installed in Mbale

The Jewish community in Mbale on Thursday installed the first Rabbi (teacher), Gershom Sizomu, to lead the Judaism sect in Uganda.

Sizomu was installed by Rabbi Bradley Artson during a colourful ceremony on Kakungulu Hill in Namanyonyi sub-county after completing a five-year course at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in the US.

He becomes the first black Rabbi in East Africa and will lead about 800 followers spread out in Mbale, Namutumba, Bugiri, Budaka, Pallisa and Apac districts.

?I will greatly support both formal and informal education because in Judaism, we believe that it?s through education that God enriches the mind. We have already started technical, primary and secondary schools that will cater for our communities,? Sizomu said.

Sizomu pledged to work with other religious groups to ensure peace in the country.

?Peace gives glory to God and we should strive to make Uganda a model peaceful country.?

Bradley said the installation of Sizomu would create a foundation for the spread of the religion in Uganda and Africa.

Mbale LC5 chief Bernard Mujasi said Sizomu had made the Bamasaba proud, considering that Mufti Sheikh Shaban Ramathan Mubajje also comes from the Bugisu region.

Judaism was first introduced in Uganda in 1919 through the British colonial administrator, Semei Kakungulu. By the time of his death in 1928, Kakungulu reportedly left behind about 3,000 followers.

The followers believe in the Jewish traditional customs like the circumcision of male babies eight days after birth.

Judaists pray on Saturday, do not believe in the trinity and only preach from the books of Old Testament.

During the Idi Amin regime, the sect was banned and followers persecuted. About 10 survivors revived the religion after Amin?s ouster in 1979.

The Rabbi will preside over weddings, initiate youth into leadership and slaughter animals for the consumption of the followers.

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