ABOUT THIS PROJECT
Those last few decades, Africa is being discovered as home for thousands of Jews.
If most people would still be really surprised to learn that there
are African Jews and chiefly, Black Jews, some others already know it.
In fact, the evidence is that Africa
is now a home for thousands of Jews scattered all over the continent.
Most known of them are probably the Sephardi North African Jews (Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia).
" The Jewish Virtual Library" evaluates Jewish population in North Africa like this:
3,000 Jews in Morocco, 100 in Egypt, 1,100 in Tunisia.
Less known are also the Black Jews who are being discovered since few decades.
Among them are those who claim to have Jewish ancestors, like :
Ethiopian Jews (
Falashas or Beta Israel) who have been
recognized by the Israeli government as
"official" Jews in 1975 and many of them were air-lifted to Israel during the time
of Prime Minister Menahem Begin who obtained an official ruling from the Israeli
Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef that they were truly descendants of the Ten Lost Tribes,
probably from the Tribe of Dan.
This community has been practicing ancient rituals of Judaism for more than 2000 years,
although they had in the meantime, no contact with the organized international
The "House of Israel"
community of Sefwi Wiawso and Sefwi Sui in Western
Ghana claim that their Sefwi ancestors descended from Jewish traders who
came through Timbuktu; however, their continuous practice of Judaism only dates
back to the 1970s. The Jews of Rusape, Zimbabwe claim ancient Jewish tribal connections (in fact,
they claim that much of the Black African population is actually of Jewish
origin). However, their practice of Judaism only dates back to 1903.
The Lemba of Malawi, Zimbabwe, and the South Africa claim descent
from King Solomon.
Beside these are those who just adopted the Jewish Faith and practices, like :
Some may feel astonished to hear there are Ethnic Jewish claims in Africa.
They should just
consider that the Ashkenazis and Sefarads do not
represent the entire world’s Jewry but the lost tribes still have to be found.
The Abayudaya of Uganda: their practice of Judaism dates from the early 20th
century, when their leader Semei Kakungulu, a retired chief of war, decided to become Jew after
having noticed discrepancies between the words
in the Bible and the practice established by the missionaries.
Beth Yeshourun of Cameroon, who embraced Jewish faith 12 years ago.
Why then should we think none of them can be found in Africa?
If we consider that even in Biblical times, Jews went more easily to Africa to find
refuge (We remember that Abraham went
to Egypt, his descedents too), why isn’t it possible that some members of the lost
tribes also went to Africa and then have had descendent there?
Maybe more light will soon come unto this issue, but this is not the purpose of this website.
The real purpose of this website is:
Then, on this website, you should discover the African Jewish communities and the challenges
they are facing, and also learn about their history, connection to Judaism, culture, Jewish
life and activities which come to enrich the global Jewish diversity.
First, to build connections between African Jewish communities.
Also to present African Jewry to the world and then, bring better knowledge and greater understanding of the African Judaism and finally, build connection between African Jewry and the wider world’s Jewry.
You should also find news and any useful information about any community (Address,
location, website, etc.).
Also considering that few African communities have real trained Rabbis, this website will also
try to provide helpful ressources (links or posts) on Jewish studies, Holidays, Calendar and
This project is the Idea of Rabbanit Bonita Sussman from
Synagogue Temple Emmanuel
of Staten Island in New-York who is also a Kulanu board member, an organization which supports
many isolated Jewish community around the world. His husband, Rabbi
Gerald Sussman and she visited Beth Yeshourun in Cameroon during last
Hope you will Enjoy;