Since the end of its civil war in 2002, Angola has flurried with foreign investment in its infrastructure, along with its minerals, diamonds, oil and land. In turn, the country’s Jewish population has grown exponentially, and with it, the need for a Jewish center.
Recognizing this, Jews living in Angola turned to Rabbi Shlomo Bentolila of Kinshasa, Congo. Head of Chabad-Lubavitch of Central Africa, Bentolila heeded their calls for a permanent presence in the country, and agreed it was time to take action.
With their baby daughter, Rabbi Levi Itshak and Dvora Léa Chekly will be relocating from Paris to serve as Chabad representatives to this Southern African country. As a rabbinical student, Chekly traveled on many occasions to Pointe Noire and Brazzaville in the Republic of the Congo to lead services and Jewish activities. The couple speaks Hebrew, English and French, an asset to a population comprised of Israelis, Americans and Europeans. They will establish their base in Luanda.
Until now, the local Jewish community was served by visiting rabbinical students during the summer months and Jewish holidays. Now, while awaiting their visas, the Chelkys are organizing Chanukah events for the community. Adult education classes, a Hebrew School and synagogue, and kosher food availability are among the first things on their to-do list. Bentolila trusts the community will be well served by the Chelkys.