An Intimate Look At Judaism In Nigeria — Thanks To A New Blog by the Forward

An Intimate Look At Judaism In Nigeria — Thanks To A New Blog

A new website from Nigeria offers an intimate view into a little known Jewish community — despite decades of activity and its growing numbers.

Launched this summer, the blog is run by Tikvat Israel Synagogue, an influential Igbo congregation in Abuja that has longstanding ties to American and Israeli religious outreach groups.

A September post describes a tour through the country, during which members of the synagogue travelled with a Torah donated from a New York synagogue.

“Indeed, the journey to the east was a successful one, that gave us the chance to show our faith in the open, encouraging many others to follow this path of truth, and creating meaningful awareness of Judaism among the Igbo people,” a post sums up, going on to describe a bar mitzvah ceremony and a visit to an Igbo chief.

“The Torah visited the brethren there,” the blog goes on, “who expressed massive support to continue to strenghten [sic] the course of Judaism starting from their immediate surrounding, and spreading the word of truth to get more people involved.”

The Igbo are one of Nigeria’s largest ethnic groups and while most are Christian, there is widespread identification with Israel and the Jewish people — with many evoking an ancient genealogical connection to the people of the bible. In more recent decades, some Igbo have integrated Jewish practices into religious services.

Some have undergone religious conversions with the encouragement and assistance of American or Israeli Jews. Kulanu, an outreach group based in New York, has been involved in Nigeria since the early 2000s and donated hundreds of dollars this spring towards helping the Tikvat syngagogue get their own computer and internet connection.

Email Sam Kestenbaum at kestenbaum@forward.com and follow him on Twitter at @skestenbaum

An Intimate Look At Judaism In Nigeria — Thanks To A New Blog

Author

Sam Kestenbaum

Sam Kestenbaum

Sam Kestenbaum is a contributing editor and former staff writer for the Forward. Before this, he worked for The New York Times and newsrooms in Sana, Ramallah and Beijing. Contact him at kestenbaum@forward.com and follow him on Twitter at @skestenbaum and on Instagram at @skestenbaum .

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

An Intimate Look At Judaism In Nigeria — Thanks To A New Blog

Thank you!

This article has been sent!

Close