Make a Difference and Celebrate with Kulanu (All of Us)
When you light the candles on the Menorah with your family and friends during Hanukah, or go to a seder on Passover, do you know that Jews in Uganda, India and El Salvador are doing so, too?
What is Kulanu?
Kulanu (Hebrew for "All of Us") is a non-profit organization founded in 1994 that supports isolated and emerging Jewish communities around the world in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the United States. Kulanu helps these communities and connects them with other Jews across borders and continents. All of our Jewish lives are enriched as we learn from one another.
Abayudaya Children in Uganda ©joyofcolor.com
What is a Kulanu Mitzvah Project?
A Kulanu Mitzvah Project is a way of participating in tzedekah and making a global impact through your special lifecycle occasion. Your project can be part of your own Bar/Bat Mitzvah, or you can organize a team tzedakah project with your class, JCC, youth group, or camp. Because Kulanu works all over the world, there are lots of programs, communities, and fund-raising campaigns to choose from when you design a Mitzvah Project with us. Here are just a few Kulanu programs you can support:
- Abayudaya Nutrition: A breakfast-and-lunch program at the primary and high schools in the Abayudaya community in Uganda, which allows 700 impoverished Jewish, Muslim and Christian kids to receive two free nutritious meals at school every day.
- Abayudaya Education: Support the Abayudaya Elementary School and the Semei Kakungulu High School run by the Abayudaya Jewish community in Uganda, where more than 700 Jewish, Muslim and Christian students learn and play together in peace.
- Armenia, El Salvador: Helping both Jews-by-choice and Anousim (descendants of Spanish and Portuguese Jews who were forced to convert to Catholicism during the Spanish Inquisition 500 years ago) in this small but motivated community to return to Judaism.
- The Unrestricted Fund: Kulanu's general fundraising helps us respond to urgent requests from any of the communities we work with.
Children in front of the synagogue in Armenia, El Salvador
How Do I Get Started?
If you're interested in working with Kulanu on your mitzvah project, fill out our contact form on Google Docs to let us know. And don't worry, contacting us does not mean you are committing to anything yet -- fill out the form and we will help you explore whether a Kulanu Mitzvah Project is right for you!
How Can I Raise Money?
One easy and powerful way to raise funds for a great cause is to write a letter about Kulanu and how important our projects are to you. Send it out with the invitation to your Bar/Bat Mitzvah; even if some people can't come to your big day, they can still contribute to your Mitzvah Project! Remember that we must approve your letter before you send it.
What Else Can I Do?
Your Mitzvah Project can be as big or as small as you want it to be; the possibilities are endless, so get creative! Some kids who have done projects with us in the past have included teaching components, selling products made by a Kulanu partner community, or visiting one of the communities we support. Here are just a few examples of what other kids have done to make a difference with Kulanu:
- Paige in California set up an exhibit about Kulanu at her Bat Mitzvah celebration.
- Juliana in Virginia sold Mirembe Kawomera Coffee (deliciouspeace.com), a coffee made by an interfaith coffee cooperative in the Abayudaya Community in Uganda, and donated the profits to Kulanu.
- Zak in New York had his Bar Mitzvah celebration in Uganda. His family donated two classrooms to the Abayudaya school, Zak worked with the children to decorate the rooms, and his friends and family generously supported teachers' salaries.
Women’s Rosh Hodesh Group, Ghana ©Allison Michael
Personal Fundraising Pages
Kulanu is launching an exciting new way for YOU to take the lead in fundraising for our projects around the globe: Personal Fundraising Pages powered by eTapestry. These pages are a fun and easy way to raise money through an individual or team Mitzvah Project; simply register, create the page and send the link to your friends, family, or organization to let them know about your fundraising project with Kulanu, or ask them to join your fundraising team. You can give people the link to your page in a personal letter, bar/bat mitzvah invitation, or even on Facebook!
Personal Fundraising Pages are also great for team projects! Use your page to organize your group or organization for a walkathon, skate-a-thon or other event. See the "Links" section below for a list of our current fundraisers.
One of our volunteers has launched her own page, so you can see how Personal Fundraising Pages work. Two bar mitzvah students also created their own pages to go along with their Mitzvah Projects - check out David's PFP supporting the Abayudaya Education Fund, and Hayden's page for Abayudaya School Nutrition. We are very excited about using this tool as part of our Youth Program and for general fundraising. If you have any questions about Personal Fundraising Pages, feel free to contact us at mitzvahprojects @ kulanu.org
- Mitzvah Project Contact Form - let us know you are thinking about designing a Bar or Bat Mitzvah project with Kulanu
- Kulanu Mitzvah Project Page - click here for sample letters and a link to a list of all the communities we work with across the globe
- Register a Personal Fundraising Page to benefit Kulanu's efforts worldwide!
- Postcard with information about the Kulanu Mitzvah Projects program; email us if you want to help distribute these in your school, synagogue, or other organization