Lost Jews of Africa

From Ghana to Zimbabwe, Tribes Claim Jewish Heritage

Filmmaker Laurence Gavron is on a journey to document lost Jewish tribes in Africa.

The French-born Gavron, who has made Senegal her home since 1989, says she was immediately taken by the project, which she says combines her passion for Africa with the mystery of rediscovering Judaism.

The film, titled “Black Jews, Juifs noir en Afrique,” focuses on a dozen African tribes – in Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon and other countries – each with a Jewish story. Some claim to be descendants of the Bible’s 10 Lost Tribes. Others believe that their ancestors were Jews who emigrated from Judea to Yemen looking for gold.

Rabbinical authorities have not accepted any of the groups as Jewish under halachah, Jewish law, although all the tribes strive to be recognized as such at some level or another.

Edith Bruder, who has been studying these Jewish groups for more than a decade and wrote the book “The black Jews of Africa, history, identity, religion,” turned to Gavron for the film, which is expected to be released in the coming months.

Read more at the Jewish Daily Forward 

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