After battling a serious illness, the Rebbe’s Shlucha in the Congo and Central African countries, Miriam Bentolila OB”M, passed away last Friday. She was only 52 years old. During the Shiva, and in the presence of the Deputy Ambassador of Zambia to Israel, the opening of a new Chabad house in Zambia was announced by Rabbi Shlomo Bentolila, Shliach to the Congo and Central African countries, and Rav of the Association of Jewish Communities of Central Africa. The Chabad house will be in the memory of his late wife.
The Jewish community in Zambia, located in south-central Africa, reached its peak with over 1,000 members in the 1950s with many Jews fleeing the Holocaust. Over the years the community has shrunk, and in recent years the Association of Jewish Communities of Central Africa has been assisting the local Jews who remained in the country.
Zambia will be the tenth country where a permanent Chabad house operates in Central African countries. It will join Uganda, Angola, Ethiopia, Ghana, Congo, Ivory Coast, Tanzania, Nigeria, Kenya and Rwanda.
Zambia’s Deputy Ambassador to Israel, Mr. Mathias Mevenza, who brought condolences from the Government of Zambia to Rabbi Bentolila, remarked: “Jews are always welcomed in Zambia, and the Jewish community is an important asset to the Zambian people. The choice of Zambia as a worthy state for the opening of a Chabad house in memory of the late Rebbetzin is a sign of respect for the state and its inhabitants.”
In the photo: Zambia’s Deputy Ambassador being Menachem Avel the rabbi of the Association of Jewish Communities in Central Africa, Rabbi Shlomo Bentolila.