The Jews of Sub-Saharan Africa Are Blazing New Trails with High-Tech Farming

South of the Sahara Desert, there are a number of small communities that either claim ancient Jewish descent (like Ethiopian Jews and the Lemba of Zimbabwe) or whose ancestors came to Judaism via Christianity in recent times (like the Abayudaya of Uganda). Recently, several of these communities—scattered across ten countries—have joined together to make use of the latest innovations in agriculture. Amanda Borschel-Dan writes:

An unusual experiment in data-driven agriculture is underway in the Abayudaya Jewish community in rural Uganda: a pilot poultry farm. From the moment chicks arrive at a day old until their sale at day 36, nearly every move and morsel they take ends up charted on a carefully cultivated spreadsheet. . . . [F]ounded in 2021, the AMC Pilot Broiler Farm is now on its way to upscale to over twenty times [its original size] after the purchase of the Jewish community’s first-ever owned piece of land of approximately six hectares.

The Times of Israel was recently invited to Uganda to witness the next steps of the poultry project—which, with a profit margin of 15-20 percent for each batch of chicks is an unqualified success—and meet Sam Muwalani and Allan Zilaba, the dreamers who are determined to take their Abayudaya communities off the charity train. “Inspired by Jewish values, we empower people in poverty to be more self-reliant and self-sustaining,” the two wrote in a prospectus on their agricultural project’s vision.

[When], during the COVID-19 epidemic, community members lost their jobs and started to go hungry—and then to starve—the already disadvantaged African Jews’ needs dramatically increased.

Historically, the majority of Abayudaya are farmers, cultivating yams, peanuts, cassava, and more. However, this is the first time that data are driving their methodologies and decisions. In a country in which families still make their own charcoal using millennia-old techniques, “new” can be a bit unnerving.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: African Jewry, Farming, Technology, Uganda

How to Save the Universities

To Peter Berkowitz, the rot in American institutions of higher learning exposed by Tuesday’s hearings resembles a disease that in its early stages was easy to cure but difficult to diagnose, and now is so advanced that it is easy to diagnose but difficult to cure. Recent analyses of these problems have now at last made it to the pages of the New York Times but are, he writes, “tardy by several decades,” and their suggested remedies woefully inadequate:

They fail to identify the chief problem. They ignore the principal obstacles to reform. They propose reforms that provide the equivalent of band-aids for gaping wounds and shattered limbs. And they overlook the mainstream media’s complicity in largely ignoring, downplaying, or dismissing repeated warnings extending back a quarter century and more—largely, but not exclusively, from conservatives—that our universities undermine the public interest by attacking free speech, eviscerating due process, and hollowing out and politicizing the curriculum.

The remedy, Berkowitz argues, would be turning universities into places that cultivate, encourage, and teach freedom of thought and speech. But doing so seems unlikely:

Having undermined respect for others and the art of listening by presiding over—or silently acquiescing in—the curtailment of dissenting speech for more than a generation, the current crop of administrators and professors seems ill-suited to fashion and implement free-speech training. Moreover, free speech is best learned not by didactic lectures and seminars but by practicing it in the reasoned consideration of competing ideas with those capable of challenging one’s assumptions and arguments. But where are the professors who can lead such conversations? Which faculty members remain capable of understanding their side of the argument because they understand the other side?

Read more at RealClearPolitics

More about: Academia, Anti-Semitism, Freedom of Speech, Israel on campus