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ADIFF 2012 Preview: Doc 'RE-EMERGING: The Jews of Nigeria' Explores Igbo Identity & Roots in Judaism

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act November 15, 2012 at 12:13PM

Continuing with pre-festival highlights of films scheduled to screen at the upcoming African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF) - the festival's 20th edition, to be held in Manhattan from November 23 to December 11... Here's another title that I'm really intrigued by
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Re-emerging: the jews of nigeria

Continuing with pre-festival highlights of films scheduled to screen at the upcoming African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF) - the festival's 20th edition, to be held in Manhattan from November 23 to December 11... Here's another title that I'm really intrigued by

Directed by Jeff Lieberman, journalist, producer and documentary filmmaker, RE-EMERGING: The Jews of Nigeria 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.

The doc follows Sam, now known as Shmuel, on his quest for knowledge about Igbo identity and history - from Igbos' roots in Israel, to their journey during the Atlantic Slave Trade, to the Nigerian-Biafran War.

The doc aims to reveal a rich Igbo history unbeknownst to African descendants all over the world, especially African Americans, many of whom are of Igbo ancestry.

Here's more about the film:

"RE-EMERGING: The Jews of Nigeria" is a journey into the heart of Igboland and into the lives and culture of the Igbo people. The film introduces the world to the many synagogues that dot the land, and a handful of passionate, committed, and diverse characters -- each striving to fulfill their historical legacy with few resources and unbeknownst to most of the world.  Individual stories are woven together with key facets of history, tracing the Igbo from Biblical times up to the brutal 1960s Biafran War, which killed over 1 million Igbo.  A wide range of American academics help detail this history, including shedding new light on the Igbo origins of thousands of slaves captured during the Atlantic Slave Trade and brought to American shores.  The film delves into this history and travels to the southeast coast of Georgia, where locals still speak of the Igbo spirit alive and well at a riverbed called Ibo Landing.

This is a really intriguing stuff, as someone who's the son of an Igbo mother, and who never once mentioned this movement that seeks to explore Igbo roots in Judaism; it could be that she wasn't aware of it (I use past tense, because she died 10 years ago); or maybe this has only recently become public.

So I'm definitely going to see this film and hopefully be enlightened in the process.

Watch the trailer below:


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