Jews of Cameroon

Close to 15 years ago, The Beth Yeshourun community of Cameroon were still Pentecostal Christians. They were more than 2000 members of a congregation divided in more than 6 communities in different towns of Cameroon. The community of Saa where Serge Etele's father, Moreh Nachman became the leader, was one of them and had nearly 100 members. The congregations had one or more annual communal meetings when all those communities met. The national leader was very charismatic but divisive which led to Beth Yeshourun to break off into its own community.

Serge contacted in 2010 Kulanu, an organization that deals with returning, emerging and isolated Jewish populations. Kulanu was one of the first Jewish groups to respond to Serge's outreach efforts. In the summer of 2010, Rabbi Gerald and Rabbanit Bonita Sussman, volunteers with Kulanu, travelled to Cameroon and became the first Jews that the community ever met. Rabbi and Mrs. Sussman were surprised to see Jewishly knowledgeable they were impressed by their level of mesirut nefesh (dedication). Serge and the community studied Judaism and Jewish practice online, primarily through Orthodox web sites. Since 2010 several scholars and photographers have visited. In 2014 Kulanu donated a Torah to the community and Serge, the head of the community has received a visa to study in a Yeshiva in Israel. These photos taken by Rabbanit Sussman in 2010 retell the story.

Beth Yeshourun

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