There are Jewish tribes who are not descended from the original twelve tribes of Israel, the Abuyudaya of Uganda for instance. With the help of a young Jewish student, the Abuyudaya are back from the brink of extinction, writes the Irish Times.
The Abuyudaya means “sons of Judah” in the Luganda language of Uganda. They joined world Jewish ranks in 1919 following Semei Lulaklenzi Kakungulu a local Baganda tribe warrior who, according to Wikipedia, studied and meditated on the Old Testament, adopted the observance of all Moses’ commandments, including circumcision, and suggested this observance for all his followers.
And like Jewish populations throughout history they suffered persecution. During the years of Idi Amin and Milton Obote the community shrank from 3,000 members to below 1,000.
Matthew Meyer, a young Jewish student from Brown University, came across them and Jewish history was changed. He contacted Jewish groups in the U.S., sending them cassette tapes with recordings of Jewish music played by the Abuyudaya.
Since then American Jewish community members have lent them a hand by sending them their first Torah, build a new synagogue, set up a health clinic and start new schools.
Their numbers on the rise the Abuyudaya are finding themselves once more.
You can read more here and here.