Photo Credit: Jewish Press

A Zoom like this I have never experienced.

I recently gave a lecture to the Jewish community of Uganda in Africa. Approximately 60 Jews live there – mostly Israelis – with a variety of life paths that brought them there.

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When I asked Yocheved and Moshe Raskin, Chabad emissaries in Uganda, about the character of the community, they told me that first of all they needed to create one – to create a feeling of connection and mutual responsibility.

In the course of the lecture, I told the Jews there the following story on the importance of each and every person, especially in small communities:

In a certain town in Europe, there were just 10 Jewish families, and among them only 10 men. One day something wonderful happened: one more Jewish family moved into the town, so now there were 11 men instead of 10.

And what happened the next morning? For the first time, no one came to pray. Each individual felt less responsibility for completing the minyan, felt someone else would take his place, and simply excused himself from showing up.

There is no substitute for the feeling of commitment and community obligation, for the awareness that every little thing you do makes a difference. In small communities this is felt acutely. What it would be like if all of us lived with this feeling of being indispensable, as if there were a minyan that depended on us?

(Translation by Yehoshua Siskin)

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