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Seated in the back is Maeresera’s father, Adin, 83.Like many of his generation, Adin is considered a “strict Lemba,” someone who takes the tribe’s traditions and customs extremely seriously.The Lemba’s motivation is the preservation of their culture.“They realize they can’t do it by themselves, because they don’t have the structure and they’re being missionized,” Leeder said.
It is not fair and it is cruel, and the loss of this lion was a tragedy," said Trevor Lane, a veteran Zimbabwe conservationist in Victoria Falls.“There is one in every Lemba town,” said Modreck Maeresera, coordinator of the Lemba Cultural Association in Zimbabwe.While the Lemba don’t appear physically distinct from Christian and Muslim Zimbabweans, their practices of male circumcision and kashrut — strict Jewish dietary laws — align with their belief that they are the descendants of Jews who fled the Holy Land thousands of years ago.Located near the village center, atop a hill overlooking a valley, the spot was chosen to help convey the image of ascending to a place of worship, said Rabson Wuriga, secretary of the new synagogue and Lemba Cultural Association.The foundation for the 100 foot long and 33 feet wide structure has been laid and the walls are being built. They do it because they place immense importance on their connection to the Jewish religion and the synagogue is a symbol of their commitment to that religion, said Sandy Leeder, the Lemba coordinator for Kulanu, a New York-based nonprofit dedicated to supporting isolated and emerging Jewish communities.
Yet, because they had to hide their Jewish connection for much of history, many have converted to Islam and Christianity, which is why there is a mosque in almost every Lemba town in Zimbabwe.