Supporting Jewish Communities

The CJC provides direct support to 38 Jewish communities across the Commonwealth. Over 30 are in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean, where our smallest and most vulnerable communities often operate in extremely dangerous environments. Some practice their Judaism without a synagogue building or a rabbi to offer leadership and guidance.
Thanks to direct support from the CJC, Jewish communities around the world are able to maintain their religion and culture, and continue Jewish life even in hostile settings. Small grants are allocated to build capacity, and we help to ensure the delivery and development of skills and knowledge within these communities.

Pandemic Response

The CJC is a lead participant in a multi-stakeholder discussion forum involving the Jewish Agency of Israel, Israel’s Ministry of Diaspora Affairs, and 30 other international Jewish organisations.

The forum was established to address the most pressing needs of Jewish communities worldwide, including the need for assistance during the Covid-19 pandemic, and community recovery afterwards.

International Programmes

The CJC works with important Jewish international partners, including The Shabbat Project, Mitzvah Day, Limmud, and March of the Living, to promote and increase participation from Commonwealth communities. We design programmes, develop templates, and sponsor participation in international programming, helping to leverage their impact when participants return to their home communities. We work to enhance intercommunity activities, contribute to the wider society, and find ways to support local leaders while developing the next generation of communal leadership.

Extending Horizons

The CJC supports tailored Jewish education programmes to meet the specific needs of our affiliated communities. In Mozambique, this meant training for Jewish parents to enable them to teach weekly Hebrew classes to their children. The Ugandan community created a Hebrew literacy programme for over 100 members of the community, which enhanced their ability to learn, read and write Hebrew. In St Lucia, there are now regular weekly classes on Judaism for all Jewish residents and temporary/part-time residents on the island.

The CJC has also made it possible for the Nairobi Hebrew Congregation to employ a rabbi and rebbetzin. This is through a creative partnership with the local community, with a portion of the couple’s time dedicated to working with our affiliated communities in Uganda and Tanzania.

We have been helping several struggling and new communities to develop their programming. In Pakistan, we are supporting two initiatives in Karachi and Lahore that enable Jewish learning opportunities and gatherings. In Uganda, the CJC has supported the fragmented communities in the country to establish an umbrella structure to manage interactions and issues.

Community Development

Our Development Fund has enhanced community activities and programmes across Commonwealth Jewish communities. Our Development Fund has been built by generous donors who wish to see their contribution used to enable and enhance Jewish community development around the Commonwealth.

If you have a good idea which will enrich your community and its activities – perhaps to help members to get more involved in local or international initiatives, improve interfaith or inter-community activity, add warmth, learning, opportunities, or options to Jewish life where you are – then we look forward to welcoming your ideas.

Enhancing Local Relationships

The CJC helps local communities build links with local institutions, in order to raise their profile and enhance local relationships. For example, the CJC sent funds to the Mumbai community in India to host an event commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Taj terrorist atrocity, which included an interfaith dialogue and a children’s art competition ‘Symbols of Peace’. In Jamaica, we supported a tree-planting ceremony on the campus of the University of the West Indies, organized to mark Tu B’Shevat (New Year for Trees) and International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which fell on the same day: 27 January 2021.

We have also extended quality Holocaust education beyond the Jewish community.  For example, we enabled young Jews from Singapore and Mumbai to take part in the March of the Living, who then delivered Holocaust education programmes to local non-Jewish schools on their return.

Creating new activism in communities

The CJC holds several Regional Meetings bringing together the leaders of communities in Africa, Australasia, the Caribbean, and Europe, to help them make the most of our network and share best practices. These meetings were also an opportunity to discuss new ideas and common challenges. Topics included: shared festival resources and programming, how to facilitate meaningful conversations about anti-Semitism with our young people, and ways to upgrade Jewish education in small communities.
Commonwealth Jewish Council
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