The New Jewish Diaspora?

The New Jewish Diaspora?


Sam Kestenbaum
Shavei Israel

For centuries, world travelers dreamed of finding distant Jewish tribes in the faraway corners of their known world — over the mountains, in remote villages, practicing customs preserved in isolation.
Today, a quick Google search will do.

In Facebook groups and on Skype, on Whatsapp and Instagram, communities from Africa, Asia and the Americas gather to explore Judaism — and, as many see it, to rekindle ancestral connections to their ancient faith.

Individuals and communities have emerged in Nigeria, Ghana, Zimbabwe, China, India, Spain, Peru, Portugal and elsewhere. Estimates vary about the numbers of broadly defined “emerging” communities — and range at the upper end in the millions.

Is this the Jewish Diaspora of the 21st century?

That’s the question that Israel’s Ministry of Diaspora Affairs is now considering. The State of Israel, for the most part, has kept many of these groups at a distance, wary of making blanket decisions and of parsing out each community’s complicated ancestral claims or individual religious practice…

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