News

    Jewish Community Offers 99 Sheep to Needy Locals in Senegal

    Ninety-nine sheep were chosen to represent the 99 names for God in Islam and were given to underprivileged Senegalese families ahead of Muslim religious holiday of Tabaski

    A man smiles as he receives his sheep for Tabaski
    A man smiles as he receives his sheep for Tabaski
    Anne Look

    The Israeli embassy in Senegal and members of Senegal's Jewish community gave sheep to underprivileged Senegalese families on Tuesday so they can celebrate the Muslim religious holiday of Tabaski this weekend.  

    Ninety-nine sheep waited for their new owners outside the donation ceremony in Dakar, just four days before Aid el Kebir, or Tabaski, as it is known in Senegal.  On that day, Muslims around the world will sacrifice sheep and other animals to commemorate the prophet Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael as an act of obedience to God.

    It is an important religious and cultural holiday in Senegal, where almost 95 percent of the population is Muslim.  But a sheep or ram can cost between $150 to $600, far beyond the reach of many struggling families.

    At the ceremony, Israeli embassy staff, development workers, members of the Senegalese government and religious leaders of all faiths passed out the sheep to needy families on behalf of Israel and Senegal's Jewish community.  Ninety-nine sheep were chosen to represent the 99 names for God in Islam.

    Fama Ka, a blind mother of two, smiled from under a glimmering gold headscarf as she received the sheep she will share with the 10 members of her household on Saturday.

    She said they are Muslims and so receiving a sheep like this allows them to fulfill their religious duty.

    Ka said Muslims and Jews share the story of Abraham, and that the gift reminds her of the solidarity between the two faiths.

    Israel's Ambassador to Senegal, Gideon Behar, says that was the idea for organizing the event.  He says Tabaski is very important holiday in Senegal that is about forgiveness, togetherness and generosity, making it a natural time to celebrate the similarities between Islam and Judaism, and seek new avenues of cooperation.

    "It's the time when people sit together, share rams together, eat together.  It is a time to be together with neighbors and family," he said.  "So we wanted to do a symbolic gesture between Israel and Senegal, between the Jewish community and the Muslim community."

    Working with local partners, the Israeli embassy collected more than $13,000 in donations from the Israeli government, the Jewish community in Senegal and other Senegalese benefactors to buy the sheep.

    Momar Talla Kane is the president of CONGAD, a network of Senegalese development organizations that coordinated the purchase and distribution of the sheep.

    He says that 99 sheep might seem like a small gesture, when perhaps as many as 10 million Senegalese need them.  But, he says, people give what they can and that it is the generosity the sheep symbolize that is important.  The gesture, he says, means that 99 poor families will have sheep for Tabaski, and that is a step in the right direction.

    Kane said that they tried to choose the neediest families from the various organizations, with at least one third of the sheep going to handicapped members and one third going to families outside of the capital, Dakar.  

     

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Testing Bamboo as Building Materiali
    X
    June 27, 2016 9:06 PM
    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapides’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora