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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora