Asia > Eastern Asia > Japan > Art / Culture

Art / Culture in Japan

  • Long isolated, Africa’s Jewish ‘islands’ bridged by photographer’s lens

    JAPAN, 2016/07/25 The synagogues of emerging Jewish communities in Africa are often modest affairs at the end of bumpy dirt roads, communities which feel a historical or spiritual connection to Judaism, but are struggling to practice fully in their isolated conclaves. Judaism has always had a presence in North Africa, and later, in South Africa. But among this vast continent, dozens of new Jewish communities are beginning to reach out to the wider Jewish world. Some, like Ghana, believe they are historical descendants of Jewish traders in the Sahara. Others, in Uganda and Kenya, have felt a spiritual pull to Judaism. Photographer Jono David, 50, has attempted to capture intimate moments of small, emerging Jewish communities across Africa in 30 different nations and territories. An exhibition of some of those photos, The Children of Abraham and Sarah, is presently featured at Beit HaTfutsot, the Museum of the Jewish People, through December. It is part of an installation that as well includes Nina Pereg’s two videos, filmed at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, showing preparations to flip the holy site from a mosque to a synagogue and vice versa, during the two days each year at the same time as the whole complex is open to either Jews or Muslims.