Judaism in Nigeria

Roughly 3,000 Nigerian Igbos practice Rabbinic Judaism, and there are around twenty Nigerian synagogues. Long referred to as the “Jews of Nigeria” (though for their flexibility and business acumen), many in the wider Igbo tribe identify themselves as descendants of a Lost Tribe of Israel, one of ten tribes that constituted the Kingdom of Israel that scattered following the Kingdom’s destruction at the hands of Assyrians in 721 BCE.

Though there are no local rabbis, the Jewish Igbo are mentored by an American, Rabbi Howard Gorin. Jewish Igbo elders...

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Judaism in Syria

Syria has had well-established Jewish communities since at least the Roman period. These have included a community of Arab Jews, referred to as Musta’arabi or Mizrahi, from the Roman period, Sephardic Jews who settled in Syria following their forced migration from Spain in 1492, and Jewish merchants from Europe. The largest centers of Jewish life were in Aleppo, Damascus, and in the largely Kurdish town of Qamishli. The Aleppo Codex, the oldest manuscript of the Bible completed in in the year 920, was housed in Aleppo from the 15th century until 1947. A portion of the...

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Judaism in Turkey

There are estimated to be around 20,000 Jews in Turkey today, concentrated in Istanbul and Izmir. Judaism was present in the Ottoman Empire at its earliest foundations in the 14th century, particularly among the Greek-speaking Romaniots, who were descended from Jews living under the Byzantine Empire in Greece and Anatolia that had been unable to freely practice Judaism and so welcomed the Ottomans, and Jewish communities existed throughout the Levant, taken by the Ottomans in 1516. European Jews arrived during the 14th century, drawn by Ottoman policies that permitted Jewish and...

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A Jewish festival commemorating the exodus from Egypt and the end of Jewish enslavement by the Egyptians. In the Exodus account in the Hebrew Bible (Exodus 12), the Angel of Death “passed over” the Hebrews in the last of the great plagues.  


A Hebrew word meaning “called by God”. There are several prophets in the Hebrew Bible who are interpreted by most Jews, Christians, and Muslims as speaking the word of God to the people. Examples include Abraham, Moses, and David.


“Repose” in Hebrew. In Judaism, the Sabbath is the last day of the week (beginning Friday at sundown until Saturday at sundown) and traditionally observed as a day to refrain from work while focusing on prayer, study, and family. For Christians, the Sabbath marks the first day of the week (Sunday) and is also traditionally observed as a time for prayer and spiritual renewal. 


A Jewish festival commemorating the giving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai.