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Rabbi Arthur Segal’s love of people, humanity, and Judaism has him sharing with others “The Wisdom of the Ages” that has been passed on to him. His writings for modern Jews offer Spiritual, Ethical, and eco-Judaic lessons in plain English and with relevance to contemporary lifestyles. He is the author of countless articles, editorials, letters, and blog posts, and he has recently published two books:

The Handbook to Jewish Spiritual Renewal: A Path of Transformation for the Modern Jew

and

A Spiritual and Ethical Compendium to the Torah and Talmud

You can learn more about these books at:

www.JewishSpiritualRenewal.org
ALL ENTRIES ARE (C) AND PUBLISHED BY RABBI ARTHUR SEGAL JEWISH SPIRITUAL RENEWAL, INC, AND NOT BY ANY INDIVIDUAL EMPLOYEE OF SAID CORPORATION. THIS APPLIES TO 3 OTHER BLOGS (CHUMASH, ECO, SPIRITUALITY) AND WEB SITES PUBLISHED BY SAID CORPORATION.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

RABBI ARTHUR SEGAL: NIGERIAN JEWS -CENTURIES OF JEWISH TRADITIONS: BLUFFTON SUN

 RABBI ARTHUR SEGAL: NIGERIAN JEWS -CENTURIES OF JEWISH TRADITIONS: BLUFFTON SUN
 
 RABBI ARTHUR SEGAL: NIGERIAN JEWS EMBRACE MIX OF RELIGIOUS PRACTICE AND TRADITIONS: BLUFFTON SUN

Shalom and peace:

Continuing studying international Jewish communities, let's visit Abuja and Iboland, Nigeria. Various migrations of Jews to West Africa occurred via trading during King David's reign circa 1000 BCE, during the Judah-Israel civil war circa 900 BCE, during the Assyrian and Babylonia invasions circa 600 BCE, and during the iron production boom circa 200 BCE. North African Jews traded with and migrated to West Africa and were a prominent demographic.  The Songhai Empire along the Niger River had multiple Jewish communities and synagogues, including Timbuktu.

The Jewish-Ibo had the Hebrew Bible, minus Esther's and Laminations' Books, [describing events post- migration], no knowledge of Talmud, but had their own laws, credited to Joshua receiving them from Moses. When Askia Muhammad, 1492, forced Jewish-Ibos to convert to Islam, their written traditions were lost, but their oral traditions, practiced in secret, survived.

They circumcise males on the 8th day, women are separated during menses, animal and plant cross-breeding  is forbidden, are Kosher, celebrate Sabbath, Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkoth and don skullcaps, prayer shawls and phylacteries. They learned events that occurred post-migration, and now celebrate Chanukah, Purim and B'nai Mitzvah, and study Talmud along with Torah.

From where did this new learning come? The Internet! Because of the influence of Christianity, most Jewish-Ibo, practiced their Jewish traditions, but as Christians. Via the Internet they learned that Judaism didn't have Jesus in their theology. Thy taught themselves Hebrew, and down-loaded written texts i.e. prayer books and Hebrew bibles, which had been lost to them.  While some Ibos embraced normative Judaism, others embraced Messianic Judaism (Christianity with Jewish traditions). This caused a split in the community and divorces.

Abuja has 3 synagogues: Tikvat Israel, Siyahh Yisrael and Ghihon. Twenty more exist in Iboland servicing 5000 Jewish-Ibo. 2000 of these are normative Jews, 3000 are Messianic.

Being Jewish is never easy. Non-Ibo Nigerians speak of Jewish-Ibos in ways resembling the canards heard in mid-20th century Europe.   Their economic and political power and intelligence is feared. Some Nigerians are jealous of the Jewish-Ibo success in trade and "overrepresentation" in Nigeria's growing "Nollywood" film industry.  Does this sadly sound too familiar? The Jewish-Ibo are also fearful of the influx of radical Islam and the threat of widespread use of Sharia law.

 Rabbi Arthur Segal is an international lecturer, author, and teacher. Visit him at www.JewishSpiritualRenewal.org      . Email at RabbiASegal@aol.com    . www.JewishSpiritualRenewal.com/books www.FaceBook.com/Arthur.L.Segal www.FaceBook.com/RabbiArthurSegalJewishSpiritualRenewal www.RabbiArthurSegal.blogspot.com