For thousands of years since successive waves of invaders chased the Israelites from their ancestral home, Jews have carried their religion with them wherever they have gone. Living in the Diaspora, Jews maintained their way of life, gathering in communities to share their traditions. Others were touched by the faith of the Jews scattered among them, or by the words of the Torah, and bound their lives to this enduring heritage. There are less than fourteen million Jews in the world today; most of them live in established Jewish centers like Israel and large cities in North America and Western Europe. But what many do not know is that there are Jewish communities in Africa, Asia, South America, even parts of Europe and the Former Soviet Union, in which the Jewish populations do not have white skin or do not live fast-paced, modern lives. Some of these communities exist in places so geographically and culturally distant from other Jews that they must struggle daily to maintain the religion of their ancestors.
Scattered Among the Nations is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating the Jewish and non-Jewish world about the beauty and diversity of our people. We assist geographically and politically isolated Jewish or Judaism-practicing communities to continue embracing the Jewish religion and culture, while documenting these communities as they are today before they disappear through immigration or assimilation.
Scattered Among the Nations assists geographically and politically isolated Jewish or Judaism-practicing communities to overcome adversity and to continue embracing the Jewish religion and culture. Scattered Among the Nations has helped the Peru’s Inca Jews, India’s Benei Menashe, Ghana’s House of Israel, and Nigeria’s Ibgo Jewish community, and expects also to provide support to Uganda’s Abayudaya. SAN endeavors to embrace the highest level of tzedakah in the Maimonedean ladder of giving — to help communities strengthen themselves.
Scattered Among the Nations helps dispersed Jewish communities connect with people who would like to support them by buying crafts they produce.
GHANAIAN CHALLAH COVERS
Support the House of Israel Community of Sefwi Wiawso, Ghana, by purchasing their embroidered challah covers. The challah covers, each sewn individually, come in multiple colors. Some are predominantly brightly-colored, pattered fabric (for example, in a rust-orange hue) with embroidery in purple, red, and gold. Others are pattered (in black and white) with drums and shofarot, featuring embroidery in red, green and gold.
Embroidered Challah Cover
$35 plus $5 shipping and handling ($40 total)
All funds directly to the community of Sefwi Wiawso, Ghana. The proceeds will be split to compensate both the hard-working tailor and community member, Benjamin Baidou, who makes them, and to benefit the members of the Jewish community and specific community-wide projects.
BENEI MENASHE CRAFTS
For centuries, the Kuki and Mizo people of Northeastern India have specialized in hand-spun textile production of the highest quality. In recent decades, thousands of Kuki and Mizo have identified with the Benei Menashe, a Lost Tribe of Israel, and have begun to practice Judaism devoutly. The Benei Menashe women have turned their natural abilities as weavers toward the production of fine Jewish prayer articles.
Unique, 100% handmade Benei Menashe Tallit
$50 plus $10 shipping & handling ($60 total)
Colorful Benei Menashe Kippah
$10 plus $2 shipping & handling ($12 total)
All proceeds will be sent directly to the community in India.
In addition to selling unique Jewish handicrafts,
SAN helps with:
PROVIDING SUPPORT DURING THE HOLIDAYS
SAN helps the Inca Jews to celebrate Jewish holidays every year, sending funds for the community to buy kosher food for Passover and the High Holidays, and has sent recordings of Jewish prayer services for their self-education.
RAISING BUILDING FUNDS
The Benei Menashe are looking for larger donations so that they can build community centers for their self-improvement, both in India and Israel. Likewise, SAN hopes to assist the Abayudaya to build a community center in Uganda to honor their community’s 100th anniversary in 2019.
SENDING JEWISH BOOKS
Many SAN communities crave a Jewish education above all else, but do not have the resources to purchase Jewish books. Frequently, communities use care-worn photocopies of photocopies of Jewish books they once borrowed from a library in the nearest large city. SAN has helped congregations send many boxes of Jewish books to needy communities around the world.
FACILITATING ALIYAH TO ISRAEL
Peru’s Inca Jews longed to go to Israel to further their Jewish practice, and SAN led the effort in the United States to help hundreds of Peruvian “Inca Jews” gain formal recognition and become fully integrated in the world Jewish community. Most have emigrated to Israel, however, there is more to be done. At the time of this writing, dozens of Peruvians are waiting in Peru to obtain recognition and make aliyah to Israel, which will require outside resources to realize.
ENCOURAGING OTHER PROJECTS
These are just a handful of the needy communities and projects needed for those communities. SAN has no staff and very limited organizational resources, but encourages you to organize your own projects — to visit communities, to pair with isolated communities as “sister congregations,” to send Jewish rabbis and teachers. One generous donor, upon reading an article by SAN’s leaders and consulting with us, was inspired personally to bring a Torah to the Benei Menashe in Manipur, the first in the modern history of that community. It was the most cherished gift they could have received.
Inca Jews in Peru. The last Jewish village in Azerbaijan. The Jewish hill tribes of northeastern India. Visit them all in one stunning photographic presentation by world traveling speaker, writer and photographer Bryan Schwartz. Bryan has lived and prayed with Jewish communities in 30 countries and more than 100 towns and villages on five continents. The slide presentation shares some of the most exciting photos and stories from his book with collaborators Jay Sand and Sandy Carter, Scattered Among the Nations.
Aside from a generalized, world Jewish communities presentation, Bryan serves as a scholar-in-residence, conducting a series of three lectures over a weekend to meet the needs of a community. For example, he might provide a lecture (or drash) during religious services, provide a program for children at Sunday school, and then make a generalized community presentation. Bryan’s talks can focus on a specific demographic (catering to children, to a men’s club, or to a women’s organization), or a particular country or region.
Scattered Among the Nations’ has three traveling exhibitions:
Scattered Among the Nations
Jews of Color: In Color!
Jews of Color: a Renaissance
These traveling exhibits have enjoyed great success at museums, universities, galleries, Jewish Community Centers, and synagogues nationwide.
Jews of Color: a Renaissance
Koret Pavillion, Hillel at Stanford
Writer/photographer Bryan Schwartz, photographer Sandy Carter and journalist Jay Sand have visited dozens of the most isolated Jewish communities in the world in recent years. Their unique photographs and interviews document populations that remain on the geographic and cultural fringes of the Jewish Diaspora. From the Benei Menashe tribes in the hills of northeastern India to the Abayudaya of Mbale, Uganda, from the Inca Jews of the Peruvian Andes to the Jewish community of Rusape, Zimbabwe (with its own Jewish gospel choir), each of these communities maintains its traditions apart from the mainstream Jewish community, struggling to preserve Jewish practice, rituals and culture amidst often harsh surroundings.
In their upcoming book, Scattered Among the Nations, Schwartz, Carter and Sand will introduce readers to the diverse faces and places that comprise the hidden Jewish world at the dawn of the new millennium. With sixteen chapters profiling different communities, and hundreds of large, color photographs and never-before told stories, the book will make readers will feel that, like the artists themselves, they have become intimate friends with Jews in places they never dreamed existed.
TO PURCHASE THE BOOK VISIT:
Use the form below to get involved and support the mission of Scattered Among the Nations.
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Scattered Among the Nations
c/o Bryan Schwartz, President
1330 Broadway, Suite 1630
Oakland, California 94612
THANKS IN ADVANCE FOR YOUR GENEROSITY!
Scattered Among the Nations, EIN 41-2024401, is a registered, 501(c)(3) non-profit and all donations are 100% tax-deductible.