COMMUNITIES





The Abayudaya of Uganda
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The Abayudaya of Eastern Uganda embraced Jewish faith more than 80 years ago, when their leader, Semei Kakungulu, renounced to the Christianity of the British colonialists for Judaism of Ancient Testament. Since recent years, most of them have been formally converted to Judaism and their community has become more developped, thanks to the support of organizations like Kulanu and the community has become destination for many visitors and volunteers. The actual leader of the community, Rabbi Gershom Sizomu has been ordained Rabbi in 2008. He studied for five years as a Be'chol Lashon Rabbinic Fellow at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles. Learn more about this community
The Beta Israel of Ethiopia
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The Beta Israel has been recognized by Israel as Jewish descendents. These people have kept the Mosaic laws over the centuries by a strict observance of the Shabbath; keeping the holidays; circumcision on the 8th day; sacrificing the Passover lamb and eating unleavened bread; observing the dietary laws; distinguishing between the clean and unclean; and the laws of purity. In 1984 and 1991, the Israeli governement airlifted about 22,000 of them. They left their homes in the mountains of northwestern Ethiopia with the hope of beginning a new life in their Homeland of Israel. Not all of them were airlifted and today, there still are about 20,000 members of Beta Israel remaining in camps in Addis Ababa and in remote northern villages. Learn more about this community
The Beit Avraham of Ethiopia
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Beit Avraham is the community that lived dispersed in many regions of Ethiopia. The Beit Avraham moved to Addis Ababa when the capital was moved there from Gondar. They seem to have been originally part of the Beta Israel and consider themselves as belonging to them even still. Originally the Beth Avraham might come from the northern part of Ethiopia and settled in Addis Ababa and the mountains of Gondar. Historically, because of the persecution these people encountered by other religion followers, they wandered from place to place to protect themselves from attacks. Today 50,000 Beit Avraham, remain. Most of them live in Kechene, a community in Addis Ababa and they still encounter persecution, oppression, and discrimination that is social, economic, and religious. Learn more about this community
Beth Yeshourun, Cameroon
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It is in 1998 that this former Christian Community located in Cameroon started it process to becoming a Jewish one, after having noted many incoherencies in the Christian doctrina. For many year, they have been self taught, learning from Internet and the Tanakh. Doors of the wider Jewish community were recently opened to this orthodox like community thanks to Kulanu and the community received its first Jewish visitors on the summer 2010, when two Conservative rabbis from New-york visited it. Now, members of this emerging community are queen to be formally converted to Judaism soon. Learn more about this community
The Danites of Ivory Coast
House of Israel - Photo by Kulanu
In 1974, prompted by a vision of an itinerant preacher, many members of the Sefwi tribe in Southwestern Ghana declared themselves descendants of one of the lost tribes of Israel. This wasn’t as arbitrary as it sounds; for centuries, although having no connection with Judaism, the tribe had followed Jewish practices, performing circumcision a week after an infant’s birth, resting on Shabbat, and excluding pork from their diet. Learn more about this community
The House of Israel Community of Ghana
House of Israel - Photo by Kulanu
In 1974, prompted by a vision of an itinerant preacher, many members of the Sefwi tribe in Southwestern Ghana declared themselves descendants of one of the lost tribes of Israel. This wasn’t as arbitrary as it sounds; for centuries, although having no connection with Judaism, the tribe had followed Jewish practices, performing circumcision a week after an infant’s birth, resting on Shabbat, and excluding pork from their diet. Learn more about this community
Igbo Jews of Nigeria
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The Igbo Jews of Nigeria, who call themselves the “Benei-Yisrael,” are part of the larger Igbo ethnic group. Most of the Igbo Jews live in an area which straddles the River Niger, near the Anambra states.
The Igbo Jews are said to have migrated from Syria, Portugal and Libya into West Africa around 740 C.E. It is claimed that the initial immigrants were from the biblical tribes of Gad, Asher, Dan, and Naphtali. Later, they were joined by more Jewish immigrants from Portugal and Libya in 1484 and 1667 respectively. Learn more about this community
The Lemba of Zimbabwe
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The Lemba are an allegedly Jewish people in southern Africa, many living in modern day Zimbabwe, Malawi and South Africa. The community as a whole numbers close to 70,000. Although they speak the same Bantu languages as their African neighbors, some of the Lemba’s religious practices are similar to those in Judaism. Their tradition suggests they may have migrated to Africa from the Jewish communities in Yemen. Learn more about this community
The Rusape Jews of Zimbabwe
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There is a community of self-proclaimed Jews centered in the village of Rusape, about two hours from Harare, Zimbabwe. The Rusape Jews claim to be spiritually, though not genetically, descended from one of the lost tribes of Israel, exiled from the Jewish homeland by the Assyrians in 722 BCE.
According to the Jews of Africa website, the Rusape Jews trace their recent incarnation back to a 1903 meeting between a former American slave named William Saunders Crowdy who was also a former Baptist deacon, and Albert Christian who eventually brought Crowdy’s teachings to Southern Africa. Learn more about this community
Timbuktu Jews of Mali
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There are approximately 1,000 people with alleged Jewish roots in Timbuktu, Mali. They arrived in the 14th century fleeing persecution in Spain, and migrated south to the Timbuktu area, at that time part of the Songhai Empire. Among them was the Kehath (Ka’ti) family, descended from Ismael Jan Kot Al-yahudi of Scheida, Morocco. Sons of this prominent family founded three villages that still exist near Timbuktu—Kirshamba, Haybomo, and Kongougara.
In 1492, Askia Muhammed came to power in the previously tolerant region of Timbuktu and decreed that Jews must convert to Islam or leave; Judaism became illegal in Mali, as it did in Spain that same year. Learn more about this community


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