Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another


Sub-Saharan Shabbat

Meet the first-generation Jews of Ghana

Print Email
The shopkeeper stands in front of a prosperous Jewish shop in New Adiembra, Sefwi Wiawso district, where many Ghanaian Jews work.(Anna Boiko-Weyrauch)

  In 1974, prompted by the vision of an itinerant preacher, Joseph Armah and several other members of the Sefwi tribe in western Ghana declared themselves the descendants of one of the lost tribes of Israel. This wasn’t as arbitrary as it sounds; for centuries, though unfamiliar with Judaism, the tribe had followed Jewish practices, performing circumcision a week after an infant’s birth, observing Shabbat, and excluding pork from their diet.

Their conversion raises interesting, if familiar, questions about who can legitimately call himself a Jew. But for Armah’s children, those questions don’t really matter. They are among the first generation of Ghanaians to be raised Jewish, and as such they must navigate for themselves what that means on a daily basis.  Anna Boiko-Weyrauch spent a weekend with the Armah family, and sent us this dispatch.

Print Email

Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180

Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.

Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.

We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.

Great content material and great layout. Your blog post deserves all the positive feedback it has been getting.

Undeniably believe that which you stated. Your favorite reason appeared to be on the net the easiest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I definitely get irked while people consider worries that they plainly do not know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and defined out the whole thing without having side-effects , people could take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thanks


Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

Sub-Saharan Shabbat

Meet the first-generation Jews of Ghana

More on Tablet:

11 Non-Jewish Celebrities—and 2 Jewish Ones—Show Off Their Hebrew Tattoos

By Marjorie Ingall — You don’t have to be Jewish to sport Hebrew ink. But some of these stars should have thought twice before going under the needle.