Rwanda: First Israeli Synagogue Opened in Rwanda

Photo: New Times
Rabbi Haim Bar Sella (centre), and his wife Dina during a meeting with Ambassador Ron Adam, the Israeli envoy to Rwanda (right), in Kigali.
6 September 2019

Chabad, an Orthodox Jewish movement, has opened a synagogue in Rwanda.

Chabad is one of the largest Jewish religious organisations in the world. Its members adhere to the Torah (first five books of the Old Testament), as literally revealed by God on Mount Sinai and faithfully transmitted ever since.

The word "Chabad" is a Hebrew acronym for the three intellectual faculties of chachmah (wisdom), binah (comprehension) and da'at (knowledge).

The movement's system of Jewish religious philosophy, the deepest dimension of God's Torah, teaches understanding and recognition of the Creator, the role and purpose of Creation, and the importance and unique mission of each Creature.

The synagogue is located in Kibagabaga neighbourhood in Kigali.

The newly opened centre becomes Rwanda's first synagogue and will be served by a resident Rabbi.

Speaking about the development, Amb. Ron Adam, the Israel envoy to Rwanda, said that getting a synagogue in Rwanda was one of the first things he set his sights on when he had just taken office in May this year because it will facilitate Israelis who want to visit Rwanda.

"It is very important as we are working on making Rwanda a new tourist destination for Israelis. When Israelis visit a place, they look for a synagogue from where to pray on Sabbath and communing with other Jewish people," he said.

He added that it will also be a place where Israelis will gather and share kosher foods.

Kosher are foods that conform to the Jewish dietary regulations, primarily derived from Leviticus and Deuteronomy).

Haim Bar Sella, the Rabbi who will serve the synagogue, arrived in Kigali weeks ago along with his wife Dina, and their 8-month-old son, Shneur Zalman.

According to Amb. Adam, Rabbi Bar Sella travelled to Israel but will be back to Rwanda later this month to observe the Jewish New Year which falls on September 29, among other holidays that will follow.

Rabbi Bar Sella will serve under the auspices of the Chabad of Central Africa led by Rabbi Shlomo Bentolila in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.

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