Community Overview: Sefwi Wiawso, Ghana
Kulanu has a thriving relationship with the small African Jewish community in Sefwi Wiawso, Ghana. Jay Sand writes:
Sefwi Wiawso is about 7 hours' drive from Accra, about two hours west of Kumasi. The House of Israel community of Sefwi Wiawso and Sefwi Sui in Western Ghana is either a relatively new one, or an ancient one, depending on one's particular evaluation of the community's history. Members of the community believe that their ancestors, the Sefwi people, are descendants of Jews who migrated south through the Ivory Coast (perhaps originally from Timbuktu), bringing with them ancient Jewish observances. The current community was born in recent years after a local spiritual leader had a "vision" that convinced him that his Sefwi ancestors were actually Jews. The House of Israel has faced many challenges because of their beliefs, but since founding the community about 25 years ago the elders have grown their group to encompass several large families. Most members of this community are children and they are the first generation of Ghanaians (at least in recent times) to be raised Jewish.
Connect with the Community
There are many ways you can support and get involved with the Jewish community of Ghana. The community is eager to have volunteers come to Sefwi Wiawso for a month or more to teach Hebrew and Torah. Contact us if you're interested!
Kulanu also sells colorful embroidered challah covers and kente cloth tallitot on behalf of the Sefwi Wiawso community, at KulanuBoutique.com. The challah covers come from the Tiferet Israel Community Project, the economic development project of the Jewish community in Sefwi Wiawso, Ghana.
Another way to support the Jewish community of Ghana is by directly donating to Kulanu's work with them: click here to visit the Kulanu fundraising page for Ghana and give a gift today! You'll be contributing to Kulanu's Jewish life, education, and economic development projects with this intriguing African Jewish community. You can also share our fundraising page with your social networks to help raise even more support!
Harriet Bograd is Kulanu's Ghana Coordinator. Contact her if you'd like to join our Sefwi Wiawso Support Group, an email discussion group. This group provides support and information for the community and to people who might visit or volunteer in Sefwi Wiawso. As of September 2008 the group has 203 members, and many of our members have been to Sefwi Wiawso.
Thank you for getting involved!
Ghana Articles and Links
- Ghana’s deep spirituality points some, joyfully, back to Judaism by Melanie Lidman (2016) (links to external web site)
- Reconnecting to Judaism on a Ghana Mountaintop by Laura Ross-Perry (2014) (links to external web site - article from jweekly.com)
- What’s Happening in Africa: Cameroon, Kenya, Ghana, Uganda, Zimbabwe By Judy Manelis (2013)
- A Ghanaian Learns In Uganda Alex Armah (2008)
- Jewish Learning Takes a Village Michael Ramberg (2007)
- Young Journalist Seeks out African Jewish Community Florence Gbolu (2004)
- A Letter from Ghana David Ahenkorah (1996)
- The Ghanaian Village That Wants To Be Jewish Daniel Baiden with Robert Lande (1996)
- Gone to Ghana Gabriel Gershowitz
- A Visit to Ghana Michael Gershowitz
Kulanu Boutique products made by the Sefwi Wiawso community
- Challah Covers from Sefwi Wiawso, Ghana (Link to Kulanu Boutique)
- Kente Cloth Tallitot from Sefwi Wiawso, Ghana (Link to Kulanu Boutique)