Lily Mandell, our Kochavim Programmer, was doing programming research about Israel and global Jewry to introduce campers to Kochavim’s unit theme, k’lal Yisrael (Jewish peoplehood). While conducting research, she discovered many articles on the issues that Ugandans have faced in attempting to make aliyah including the story of Kibita Yosef. As a strong believer in Reform Judaism and the big tent of who and what makes a Jew, Lily wondered why more people weren’t talking about this.

Second Session, Lily was paired with Sarah Nabagalaa, one of our counselors from Uganda, and they took the opportunity to teach the Kochavim campers and staff more about global Reform Judaism. Sarah is friends with Yosef, and she shared more about his story with Lily and the entire Kochavim unit. Sarah taught about global Jewry in an engaging program where campers wrote letters to children in Abayudaya that Sarah will bring back. The pair also decided to work with Lindsey Aranson, one of our video specialists, to create a PSA with the campers that they hope will bring the message to an even broader community.

Coleman started its relationship with Abayudaya community in 2015. We have been pleased to have 4 members of their community serve on our staff and share their experiences with our campers, and we look forward to continuing the partnership. One former staff member, Shoshanna Nambi, will tell you that it was at Coleman where she decided to pursue Rabbinic studies at HUC-JIR.