Kulanu ("All of Us" in Hebrew), founded in 1994, is a non-profit organization which engages with isolated, emerging, and returning Jewish communities around the world and supports them in their desire to learn more about Judaism and connect with other Jewish communities.
Kulanu raises awareness and support for these communities - many of whom have long been disconnected from the worldwide Jewish community - through education, research, networking, fundraising, and publications about their histories and traditions. Our connections help 'all of us' enrich our Jewish lives.
Watch this 5-minute video and follow the links below to learn more about Kulanu's work:
Click here to download a PowerPoint presentation about the Jewish communities that Kulanu works with around the world. (Contact Kulanu if you want to use this to teach your students, friends, family, and colleagues about global Judaism!)
Who are we?
Kulanu includes "all of us". We are a network of people with a variety of backgrounds and religious practices. We do not proselytize: groups and individuals ask for our help; we do not seek them out.
Click here to meet our Board and other active volunteers.
Who are these dispersed and emerging Jewish groups?
Kulanu works globally to help dispersed remnants of the Jewish people. See the full list of groups we support on the Communities page.
During the course of Jewish history, large segments of the Jewish community were “lost” as a result of war, exile and forced conversions. A great part of the Jewish people was “lost” in the eighth century B.C.E., when the ten northern Israelite tribes were conquered by Assyria and the captives were forcibly resettled. Today the descendants of these Ten Lost Tribes can probably be found in India, Burma, Afghanistan, Pakistan and China.
Another large group of Jews was "lost" during the period of forced conversions to Christianity in Spain and Portugal starting in the 15th century. Many of these so-called “Anousim” (also known as Conversos or Crypto-Jews) continued to practice Judaism in secret. Today their descendants can be found in Brazil, ElSalvador, the southwestern United States, and Majorca, as well as mainland Spain and Portugal.
On occasion Kulanu assists communities without ancestral Jewish background who desire to embrace Judaism. One example is the Abayudaya, a group of Ugandans who have been practicing Judaism since 1919 when their leader, a local governor named Semei Kakungulu, studied and meditated on the Old Testament and adopted the observance of all Moses’ commandments. Over the next seven decades, the Abayudaya were visited by American, European and Israeli Jewish travelers who instructed them in post-Biblical Judaism. During the 1970s, they endured Idi Amin’s virulent anti-Semitism. Kulanu delegations first visited the Abayudaya in 1995. In 2002, we arranged for a rabbinical beit din that allowed hundreds of Abayudaya to affirm their Judaism so that they are now recognized by world Jewry. To this day we collaborate with them on twenty or more education and sustainable development projects.
Where are these groups located?
The red dots on the map below represent communities with whom Kulanu connects. Go to www.kulanu.org/communities for a list of the Jewish communities we work with, including links to their own pages of articles, stories, and more.
What else does Kulanu do?
In addition to supporting Jewish learning, practice, and leadership around the world, we also work hard to inform our networks about our projects and accomplishments, and to educate international audiences about the emergence and development of Jewish communities around the world and how they can get involved in this work. These activities include:
- keeping our website, blog, and other social media sites (see facebook.com/kulanu and twitter.com/kulanu_inc) packed with resources and information;
- distributing a monthly e-newsletter with news and updates about our communities and volunteers;
- publishing and distributing a fascinating semi-annual magazine;
- maintaining email discussion groups that serve as global Jewish forums;
- organizing international speaking tours and other educational experiences for community members and groups;
- reaching out to youth, individuals, groups, educators, and congregations about Kulanu Mitzvah Projects and other tzedekah progams;
- operating an online boutique where we sell community crafts, books, and music (see kulanuboutique.com);
- encouraging visitors and overseas volunteers in the communities with whom we work (see www.kulanu.org/volunteer/overseas); and
- supporting scholarly research of Jewish communities through the Kulanu Academic Cohort (see kulanu.org/kac).
Kulanu does all of this with two part-time staff members, an active volunteer board of directors, regional coordinators, and a widespread community of supporters and volunteers.
To read more about Kulanu's work and accomplishments, check out our Annual Reports page.
What can I do?
If you would like to participate in Kulanu's work, check out our Get Involved page to find out what YOU can do to support us and connect with Jews around the world! Kulanu appreciates the hard work of our volunteers (see www.kulanu.org/volunteer or www.kulanu.org/volunteer/overseas), and the donations we receive from individuals, families, congregations, foundations and others. Please contact us to let us know how YOU would like to get involved!
What is Kulanu's tax-exempt status?
Kulanu, Inc is a a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. Click here to read Kulanu's IRS tax exemption letter. You can see our Form 990s by clicking the links below. Form 990 is the annual report that US nonprofit organizations must submit to the Internal Revenue Service.
View Kulanu's Form 990s (in pdf format):
Articles about Kulanu
- Where Have All the Torahs Gone? The Journey of the Seven Kulanu Torah Scrolls, By Bonita Nathan Sussman (2015)
- Matchmaker, Matchmaker Make Me a Match: Kulanu as Yente, By Harriet Bograd (2015)