The first thing I thought of when I read about this was, another documentary we featured on this site last year – RE-EMERGING: The Jews of Nigeria, which documents the lives of Igbo people who have embraced Judaism as a part of their legacy, and who believe Igbos are really descendants of Israelites.
And now, from Toronto-based director Gabrielle Zilkha comes The Jews of Ghana: From the Four Corners of the Earth, which follows a remote Ghanaian community known as the Sefwis, who have been practicing Judaism for centuries, and who only recently (over the last 20 years) learn that they weren’t alone, with millions of people around the world also following the very same religion.
The film will document their journey of discovery, which includes their very first trip to Israel.
The filmmakers successfully raised close to $16,000 via Kickstarter last year, which went into launching production of the film, which I’m now told is ongoing currently, and will likely continue into early 2014 when the above initial trip to Israel will happen.
In the meantime, a teaser for the film was shot in February of this year, and has been released online, and is embedded below.
Zilkha herself was struck by their story on her first visit to Ghana when they opened their hearts and homes to her during Rosh Hashanah, a time when she was feeling very alone in her Judaism far from her familiar life in Canada. Since then she has worked tirelessly on the project, taking a break and make Stop Calling Me Honey Bunny, which won the audience and the juror’s awards at the Inside Out Film Festival earlier this year. The teaser not only gives a very explicit view of the day to day lives of the Jews of Sefwi Wiawso, it gives a hopeful glimpse into the future when we see our lone worshiper joined by his congregation and we picture members of this tiny community in Israel, enthralled and enveloped in the vast world-wide community of Judaism. Watching the teaser, one realizes that whatever the Jews of Sefwi Wiawso, Ghana, find in Israel, they will most certainly be making Israel and Judaism richer for their contribution.