Petition to the Jewish Agency on Behalf of the Abuyudaya Jews of Uganda

Petition to the Jewish Agency on Behalf of the Abuyudaya Jews of Uganda

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Achvah: The Partnership for Abyudaya Rights started this petition to Dr. David Breakstone and

Dear Dr. Breakstone and Mr. Silberman,

We the undersigned are writing in support of the Aliyah and student visa rights of the Ugandan Abuyudaya Jewish community that are being regularly denied by the Israeli Ministry of the Interior.

We are well aware of the Israeli Ministry of the Interior’s refusal to recognize the Jewish status of the Abuyudaya despite the Jewish Agency’s recognition of the community members as Jews with the right to make Aliyah and to be accepted into Jewish study programs in Israel.

Therefore, we ask: How can the Abuyudaya’s conversion under Masorti/Conservative auspices outside of Israel not confer Jewish status on this community under the provisions of the Law of Return? How can the Ministry not follow these provisions?

As Jews concerned about all of Kelal Yisrael we ask: Why must the Ministry of the Interior be brought to Israel’s Supreme Court before it recognizes the Abuyudaya and other converts from “emerging communities”, mostly those of color? Is it because the conversions are for the most part conducted by non-Orthodox movements? Is it due to racism on the part of the Ministry?

We also are aware that conversions that took place in Uganda under Orthodox auspices spearheaded by Rabbi Shlomo Riskin have gone unrecognized. We ask: Why? Is the claim that the Orthodox Abuyudaya have no rabbi at present valid for rejecting their right to recognition as Jews? Or is the issue of “Who is a rabbi?” at play?

We ask: How can an Abuyudaya community member who is Jewish enough to make Aliyah according to the Jewish Agency be denied the right to participate in programs of the Agency or other programs of Jewish learning because the Ministry of the Interior does not recognize their status as Jews? Shouldn’t the Jewish Agency, which oversees one’s first steps to Aliyah and the Masa program, have its recognition of the Abuyudaya and members of other recognized “emerging communities” at least be respected by the Ministry of the Interior?

Aliyah and Jewish study are keys to increasing the Jewish population of Medinat Yisrael and to deepening Jewish identity. Preventing members of the Abuyudaya community from participating in these activities by declaring them non-Jews must be rectified for the sake of our Homeland and the world Jewish community.

The Jewish Agency that recognized them has the duty to support their rights by conducting serious and vigorous conversations with the Minister of the Interior, the key members of the Ministry, and with any other parties that can secure those rights.

 

 

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