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

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by Tambay A. Obenson
November 15, 2012 12:13 PM
2 Comments
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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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2 Comments

  • Aaron | November 16, 2012 3:12 PMReply

    Gamel A. Nasser to "orthodox jews"
    “You will never be able to live here in peace, because you left here black and came back white” (1952)

  • Blackman | November 16, 2012 12:18 AMReply

    Africans, along with Black Americans were first introduced to Jesus or the King James Bible around the 16th century. That was how many years ago? 500? for Black people it was much less. Maybe around the late 1800's and early 1900's for Africans. heck, Basil Davidson got tape of Africans givin up their religions for the missionaries.

    Moral of the story is this, The bible makes black folks docile. Anybody who think they going to heaven and thus should forsake now - believes in fairytales.

    That bible causes so many wars and lost lives it should be BANNED.

    No thank you. I'd rather kick it with the creator any damn way I see fit. You can keep that JUDGEMENTAL old reconstructed book of fables out of the "middle east" lol

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