Jewish Scene
Nigeria's black Jews re-discovered
Tali Farkash
Published: 14.07.12, 08:28
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1. Are Igbo's Jews? I wonder.
An Igbo in Diaspora ,   USA   (07.14.12)
I am a young Igbo man residing in the United States. While growing up in Nigeria, I always heard that people from my tribe had a Jewish heritage. I don't know how true it is, but it always made me ponder. In the Igbo culture, Fathers always pass history down to their sons and daughters via stories and folklore. A lot of Igbo's always want to go on a pilgrimage once in their life time to see the Holy Land, Israel. A couple of years ago, my father, who is now old made this journey and says that it is an experience of a life time. I hope to someday make the same journey with my family. There is this deep longing and love I have for Israel. How it came about, I do not know. My two kids have Jewish origin names as their first name(s) and Igbo names for their middle names. My wife has a dual heritage, an Igbo and Nigerian first, then American. She also shares the same inclination towards Israel. I have never been to Israel before, however, in the near future, I know I will visit. I just felt like sharing this thought. All I can say is may Israel continue to live long and thrive. I constantly pray for the peace of Israel and its citizens. Shalom.
2. This story is very interesting..
Beary White ,   Norway   (07.14.12)
..and genuin enough to be truthful. And we all knows how deadly the islamic behavior is against non-islamic believers. For this group (and even christians) to survive , the powerful un-biased UN should go in and remove the deadly islamic cult out of Nigeria. Islam is the danger to the world, and should be handled as is.
3. Jewish ritual and Nigerians
Dov ,   London   (07.14.12)
Nothing much new here. The Nigerian Pastor at the local Jesus Pavillion in Plumstead always wears a Talit and a Yamulka. As do the Nigerian priests at the Shaddai church in Golders Green. There are many Charismatic and Pentacostal African churches that uses Jewish ritual to feel closer to their G-d who is Jesus Christ. These people in London are devout Christians I cannot comment for the guys in Nigeria but wearing a Talit and a star of David does not make one a Jew.
4. Not of Israel but nice story
There are plenty of people groups who adopt a form of Judaism, does mean nothing really. There are Christian groups that practice Jewish rituals , again, means nothing. It has no connection to being of ancient Israel or connection to any tribe within Israel, it just is.
5. what a Joke!!
Eritrean ,   Eritrea   (07.14.12)
west African people made Africa to look like stupid! they were keen to be sold as slave and now they want be modern slaves by taking modern religious identities, wake Up Africa, remember you are again willing to bow on another form of slavery!! this tribes were suposed to be animists and should be proud of it!! keep their cultures!!
6. No problem: TA Central bus station area is ready &primed for
tom ,   tel aviv   (07.14.12)
their arrival :-)))
7. Jewish homeland
Right Man ,   Jerusalem   (07.14.12)
Then Nigeria was the homeland of Abraham and so it represent homeland or Jews and jewdism, OOOOH free PALESTINE for Palestinians
8. There are millions of hungry Africans. All of a sudden
they are all Jews   (07.14.12)
What next? After the Ethiopians "Aliya", is Israel going to be the rescue of other millions of hungry Africans now discovering their Jewishness? Because that will be the end of Israel. What about the Sudanese that came to look for work, haven't they yet discovered that they are Jews?
9. Congratulations
maurice ,   Israel   (07.14.12)
beautiful and very emotional movie. one can understand the hesitations of lieberman to publish the movie or not... Concerning their being "authentic jews" or not, one still has to define what it is...and certainly not our dear rabbis in Israel...for me they are part of my people and i am proud of it
10. to # 1
Eritrean ,   Eritrea   (07.14.12)
Have you seen the "roots" the movie that shows of the American slave trade era, African chiefs were solding their African men and women, at the same time solding their diginty, and now look how africa looks like on the eye of the ones who want to swallow it, again with a very systematic strategy of post-colonalism, As if there is a special God for a specific group of people and make to work hard in associating your self with that, man man , my brother African , i tell you one thing Africa is the Reall Israel, with all its great natural gifts, how can you say or wonder of dream to have another identity, every human-being is the same, whether it is Abraham or Sara what ever you may call it, there is no any speciall human being closer to God, God is not a dictator or racist!! please please be a good model for your future generations and please pray for the Globe as whole not to a specific country, to have ever lasting peace!!! i wish you good luck!!! i wish to see the orginal African cultural religous beliefs!! stop selling your diginity for nothing my friend, every thing is a Joke, just believe me!
11. Igbo
Menachem ,   Panamá   (07.14.12)
Lieberman instead of asking how did Jews get to Africa, you should ask how did Jews get to Poland, Russia, Austria, Hungary or Germany? According to the mythology , we were once slave in Egypt and just FYI Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria are African nation.
12. Aliyah
James ,   Washington, US   (07.14.12)
Time for the Igbos to make Aliyah! Israel needs more diversity!
13. Suddenly every African wakes up really early
and MENIAH TEFILLIN   (07.14.12)
See them running around chasing zebras with a KIPPAH on their head...
14. Help us bring 'em all home to Cntrl Bus Stn in S.TelAviv
Amen to that !   (07.14.12)
15. Got some Tottenham2011 riots coming up
maybe wait after   (07.14.12)
16. Igbo tradition
Nicholas ,   Lagos Nigeria   (07.14.12)
I have no doubt that Igbos have jewish cultural resemblance. Most of the laws in Lev. are traditionally Igbo believe and tradition. Laws on marriage, childbirth, circumcision, time period of child dedication after birth, act of sacrifices etc. All these has been narrowed down as a typical Igbo culture. However, as an Igboman, my fear with this report is that it tend to portray a sense of desperation for recognition by those interviewed. The notion that they are suffering and demand recognition already made mess of the discovery given the sense that typical Israeli Jews will think this is a ploy to attach themselves to the success of Jewish heritage. I want to make it clear to every Jew reading this news that an average Igboman is very well industrious, independent, adventurous, creative and a good salesman. We are traditionally businessmen and good in science. The problem is that govt has not invested in that creativity. The Nigerian-Biafra war brought the ingenuity in Igboman but the world was too busy uniting Nigeria than looking at the future. Nicholas Emeka
17. Foolish tall backs
Jewish Science ,   USA   (07.14.12)
Thie story of the Igbo has been know for many years. The noted ethnogenetists Tudor Parfit and colleagues did extensive genetic analysis of the "jewish" Igbo and their "gentile" neighbors (they are the authors of several studies and books documenting genetics tightly liked to Jewish and Jewish-Cohain heritage) . To his admitted astonishment, these Igbo had very strong Jewish and Cohain genetics comparable to other major world Jewish populations (unlike their gentile neighbors.
18. Love for Israel is a love for civilization
Yossef   (07.14.12)
Hebrews brought to the world a civilization of justice and law, the end of human sacrifices, freedom as a principle of life, shabbat for the worker, reading and writing for all men. How is it possible to not be in love with such a civilization? The modern world of today is based on these very principles written forever in our Torah.
19. Very Interesting
Shimon ,   Cincinnati USA   (07.14.12)
Everything need not be met with cynicism and fear. Perhaps those missionaries from the 1850's left memoirs or descriptions of the people and their customs. Might shed some light. Also, Chromosomal/genetic testing can be done or attempted... Maybe they are, or maybe they aren't Jews. It is refreshing to see people and hearing them render our prayers in that wonderful African harmony. Thanks for a really pleasant and informative article.
20. They live like Jews, they are Jews. I love them.
Yaniv ,   Israel   (07.14.12)
21. I am an Igbo man and our fathers have always told us that we are Jews
Prince ,   Niger Delta, Nigeria   (07.14.12)
We are innovative, industrious and self dependent. The lowest poverty rate in Africa not more than 5% unemployment rate. The fortunate thing is that we cannot come to live in Israel as our population is more than 60 million, the highest ethnic group in Nigeria. We are just asking for recognition. We want to be independent and have already fought a bloody civil war in a bid to have our own Country Biafra.
22. To #18
M. Hartley ,   Atlanta, US   (07.14.12)
You are correct to a certain extent, BUT, please, give credit where it's due: Some of the biblical stories resemble parts of the older Epic of Gilgamesh. Then there was Cyrus the Great. He could be credited with history's first Bill of Rights. Unlike some of his modern descendants, Cyrus not only allowed the captive Jews to return to Israel, he donated funds to rebuild the temple.
23. fantastic
Fatherman ,   scmuel   (07.14.12)
We`re getting a a larger number each day. We don´t even have to breed! If it continues the whole world is soon going to be jewish. Ypiiie!!
24. does that include as not being Israel?
DB   (07.14.12)
25. We are who we stand up to be
DB   (07.14.12)
Of all people we know this! You can ask Ruth, and so many others... PERSONNA is a mask that all people.
26. I feel this
Afro ,   Africa   (07.14.12)
I have the same opinion as yours
27. #21 - Recognition
Sol ,   Toronto   (07.14.12)
The rest of us Jews need to extend more then just recognition - I am not sure what that even means - we need to extend a warm and heart felt welcome to our Jewish brothers and sisters in Africa - Am Yisrael Chai
28. Who is a Jew ?.
J.K. ,   Brooklyn USA   (07.14.12)
Why does Mr Jeff Lieberman have to travel all the way to Africa to look for Jews,there are hundreds of millions of Jews in the American Continent and in Europe,they believe in one God,and in the Jewish Bible,they call themselves christians,why are they less Jewish,than the pagan Africanos ?.just because the Africanos sing some Hebrew songs and cover themselwes with a Talit,that doesn't make them Jews,take spain,21% of the population is of Jewish descent,add to it their christian faith,and you have a 100 % Jew,despite the fact that Spain is among the most antisemitic nations on earth,so far only the starving christian flashmura in Ethiopia were recognized as Jews by Baba Ovadia (he needs their votes),interesting,the Beney Dan who dwell in Danmark don't claim to be Jews.
29. Igbos are Jewish, and they knew it since.
Chris ,   Haifa, Israel   (07.14.12)
I know firsthand that Igbos are Jewish, some of my students even told me they hold their tribal meeting in the name of Gad. I lived among Nigerians for many years and I could clearly see that Igbos are different from any other tribe. So, they did not just wake up one day to claim their Jewish ancestry. They knew it all along. It's you who just woke up to hear about it.
30. #18 dream on
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