Read the article by Daphne Klajman, Research and Programming Coordinator, ISGAP, which highlights the story of three of the speakers in the Jerusalem Post by clicking here.

Throughout much of Africa, during the past fifty years, there has been a re-emergence of ancient Jewish communities, and a surge of new Jewish communities, both with increasing populations. These communities, and their members, identify themselves to be part of the Jewish Diaspora and the Jewish People.

This extraordinary contemporary development in Jewish identity is taking place amidst increasing levels of global travel and communication that are connecting African Jewish communities to Israel and other diaspora communities like never before. It can be argued that this phenomenon is connecting the Jewish people for the first time since the destruction of the Second Temple. These processes, combined with the present-day image of Israel in popular culture, have encouraged many Africans to want to be considered as part of the Jewish Nation, marking a remarkable turning point in Jewish history. Yet these positive developments are also taking place during a time of rising levels of global antisemitism, fundamentalism, extremism, and nationalism.

These realities also pose challenges to Jewish notions of peoplehood. In the interdisciplinary study of Judaism and Jewish studies, this situation is opening new analytical perspectives on the meaning of Jewish identity. This symposium will aim to better understand the multiple implications of what it means to be Jewish and Jewish-African in the 21st century.


Natan Sharansky, Chair, ISGAP

Dr. Charles Asher Small, Founder and Executive Director, ISGAP;

Director, ISGAP-Woolf Institute Fellowship Training Programme on Critical Antisemitism Studies, Cambridge, UK

Dr. Edith Bruder, French Center for Scientific Research; UNISA University of South Africa

““New Jews” in Contemporary Kenya: The Kasuku Jewish Community of Ol Kalou”



Serge Etele, Leader of the Beit Yeshourun Community

“Exploring Antisemitic manifestations and incidents in Cameroon”


Fentahun Assefa-Dawit, Former Executive Director at Tebeka – Advocacy for Equality & Justice for Ethiopian Israelis

“Ethiopian-Israeli Jews: Then and Now”

Dr. Irit Bak, Head, Inter-University Program of African Studies, Tel Aviv University; Head, Africa Research Program, Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies

“Beta Israel from Ethiopia to Israel: Jewish Identities in Transition”

Professor Marla Brettschneider, University of New Hampshire

“Communal Resilience: Changes Among the Hidden Jews in Ethiopia”


Alex Armah, Leader of the Community ‘House of Israel’

“Jewish Community in Ghana: Our Custom and Tradition”

Janice Levi, PhD Candidate, University of California

“Revelation Unveiled: Imagining and (Re)constructing Judaism in Ghana”


Yehudah Kimani, Leader of the Kasuku Community

““New Jews” in Contemporary Kenya: The Kasuku Jewish Community of Ol Kalou”


Professor William Miles, Northeastern University

“Leadership Profiles from the Antipodes of Francophone Sub-Sahara: Cameroon and Madagascar”


Dr. Remy Ilona, Attorney; Religious Studies Scholar, University of California

Implications of the Rabbinic Ruling that Igbos are the Biblical Israelites”


Lufuno Rudo Mathivha, President, Lemba Cultural Society

“By the Rivers of Afrika, is Where We Sat, and Held our Lemba Heritage Solid”

Professor Magdel le Roux, Department of Old Testament and Ancient Near Eastern Studies, UNISA

“The Lemba: A Lost Tribe Finding a Home while Seeking Isolation”