Africa’s Largest City Opening Preschool In Memory Of Late Shlucha

Shluchim to Nigeria Rabbi Mendy and Mazal Sternbach, will be opening a new Jewish preschool dedicated in memory of Mrs. Miriam Bentolila, a pioneer of Jewish education on the African continent.

Chabad of Lagos, Nigeria, headed by Rabbi Mendy and Mazal Sternbach announced their plans to open the second Jewish preschool in Nigeria.

The first preschool was opened in 2015 by Rabbi Israel and Haya Uzan, directors of Chabad in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria.

As a new Shlucha, barely 8 month’s on the African continent, Mazal knew of the need for a formal Jewish educational program for the 30 or so Jewish families in her city, but wasn’t sure if now was the time.

Covid19 is still a major issue facing Nigeria and her community, with hospitals overrun and inadequate medical care, some economists believe that the good days of Nigeria was in the past.

But with the untimely passing of Mrs. Miriam Bentolila on the eve of Shvi’i shel Pesach 5781, there was much talk amongst the 11 shluchos in Central Africa about the impact and legacy of Mrs. Bentolila left behind. Jewish education was the most obvious.

In 1991, the Rebbe sent Rabbi Shlomo and Myriam Bentolila to open Chabad Central Africa in Kinshasa DRC (then Zaire). Before leaving on Shlichus, Rabbi Bentolila was instructed by the Rebbe’s Personal Secretary Rabbi Hodakov, that what is most important for the Rebbe is that another child should know the alef of Anochi Hashem Elokecha.

Fast forward 30 years later, on Mrs. Bentolila’s shloshim, Mazal Sternbach’s dilemma was put to rest: she would be opening Nigeria’s second preschool named after the pioneer of Jewish education in Africa, Mrs. Miriam Bentolila.

The new preschool is being developed in Victoria Island, the business heart of Lagos. Renovation plans are already being developed with local contractors and enrollment has simultaneously begun.

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