House of Israel (Ghana)

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House of Israel
Total population
c. 200 (est.)
Regions with significant populations
200 Ghana [1]
Languages
Sefwi
Religion
Judaism
Related ethnic groups
Sefwi

The House of Israel is a Jewish community located in Sefwi Wiawso in southwestern Ghana. This group of people, of the Sefwi tribe, built a synagogue in 1998. Many of the men and children read English, but no one knows Hebrew.

History of Jews in Ghana[edit]

The people of Sefwi Wiawso trace a call for a "return" to normative Judaism by Aaron Ahomtre Toakyirafa, a community leader who, in 1976, is said to have had a vision. In 2012, Gabrielle Zilkha, a Toronto-based filmmaker, visited Sefwe Wiawso to do research for a documentary about the House of Israel she is making. According to Zilkha, about 200 people--mostly children--live in the community. She states that the lack of a historical record makes it difficult to verify the groups claims, but that there is an oral tradition dating back 200 years.[2]

Jewish facilities[edit]

The leader of the House of Israel since 1993, David Ahenkorah received his own vision in taking up the mantle.[3] He has been granted a 40-acre plot of land to build a Jewish school for the community, but they have not yet been able to raise funds for construction. Children currently attend a local school, run by Christians. They built a synagogue in 1998 in New Adiembra, a Jewish neighborhood in Sefri Wiawso. Recently, they painted it blue and white, the colors of Israel.[3] There are several family compounds nearby and about 200 people belong to the synagogue.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Shlomo Kasputin, "Ghana's House of Israel, descendents of lost tribes?", Jewish Tribune, December 2012, accessed 22 May 2013
  2. ^ Shlomo Kasputin, "Ghana's House of Israel, descendents of lost tribes?", Jewish Tribune, December 2012, accessed 22 May 2013
  3. ^ a b c "In West Africa, a Synagogue Where the Pavement Ends". Forward. Forward. 2005-10-28. Retrieved 2012-10-09.