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Find a map of the world.  Put your finger on Israel.  Now, trace a distance of 2000 miles….south.  That should put you just about at Mbale, Uganda, home of the Abayudaya Jewish community and the U-TOUCH Center.  A Jewish community in the Pearl of Africa does sound a bit incongruous.

The Abayudaya is a warm and welcoming community deeply committed to their Jewish culture and their study of the Torah.  This community is also stricken by poverty and isolation.

Abayudaya is a Luganda (tribal) word for “People of Judah”.  The Abayudaya trace their origins to the late 1800’s. Although not genetically or historically related to other ethnic Jews, their numbers reached upwards of 3,000 until Idi Amin persecuted them.  Jewish rituals were outlawed.  Synagogues were destroyed. The surviving group of about 300 members isolated themselves, worshipping in secret, and called themselves the surviving Ugandan Jews — “She’erit Yisrael”. 

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Today, about 2,000 Abayudaya live in a cluster of villages that have grown to eight Jewish communities. Synagogues welcome spiritual practices for weekly Shabbat services and all other traditions carried out by Jews around the world.

The Semei Kakungulu High School students are an integral part of the community gaining technology skills at the U-TOUCH Center for not only academic purposes but also for future employment as well as for the youth group of 300, in developing activities for improving their community and connecting with youth around the world.

Following an intensive course, students receive their U-TOUCH certification.  The computer training, access to the Internet, and life skills, job skills, goal setting, entrepreneurship, health education and Women/Girls Empowerment classes empower and transform the lives of the Abayudaya and community at large. Being a co-exist community the Abayudaya U-TOUCH Center welcomes everyone with diversity from Mbale and other distant  communities. The U-TOUCH Center has improved education, employment, entrepreneurship and connections world-wide, providing opportunity where there was none. U-TOUCH is honored to partner with the Abayudaya community.

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