On November 12, 2017, Kulanu Canada presented the film Doing Jewish: A Story from Ghana. The movie is the creation of filmmaker Gabrielle Zilkha, who was in attendance and captivated the nearly 100 people in the audience with both her informational film and her warm and animated personality. The event was co-sponsored with Na’amat Canada and we are appreciative of their partnership.
We learned that the Sefwi Wiawso is a small (and at the same time large) group of committed people that has long identified as Jewish. Gabrielle interviewed everyone from the tribe, from the children to the elders. It was fascinating to hear them pray and sing in Hebrew, and learn how they followed many Jewish traditions before knowing the label “Jewish”. The person about whom the film focused was their community leader, Alex Armah, a dedicated young man whohas very passionately worked to educate his community about Judaism and though this to hold his community together as Jews.
A special feature of the film was Gabrielle’s focus on trying to answer many questions about the Sefwis, about their history, about the possibility of their being one of the lost tribes of Israel, about their potential future and about their inclusion (or exclusion) in the wider Jewish global community.
The search for these answers was poignant and thought-provoking for all who claim to be Jewish.
As Gabrielle so introspectively points out, it is not enough to “be” Jewish, as so many of us in North America claim; it is important to “do” Jewish and carry out, as well as carry forward, the traditions which have existed for thousands of years. Upon whose shoulders will this responsibility lie?
Kulanu Canada is determined to help the Sefwi Wiawso to continue to exist on their Jewish terms. To that end, we have been selling their beautiful, colourful, hand made challah covers with funds going back to the community for their guest house.
Thank you to all who attended the evening and have helped us to continue to support this amazing community.
We look forward to seeing you at our next events. Please sign up for ongoing information about future programs and information about the communities we support.