The "Jews of
Africa" presentation can be as simple as a
slide show and as intricate and complex as a
debate about the always controversial answer to
the question, "Who is a Jew? We will work
together to decide what issues you believe the
members of your organization would like to
address and we will create a program to fulfill
"The Jews of Africa" presentation
can raise and address questions in a Jewish group
Are Jews a race? A culture? A nation?
What makes someone Jewish? What is the
definition of "a Jew?"
If someone only goes to synagogue on the
High Holidays and does not keep kosher or follow
the Shabbat, is he any "less Jewish"
than an observant Jews?
If someone never follows Jewish rituals can
s/he still be considered Jewish?
Where did the Jewish people originate? What
color skin did the original Jews have? Why do we
envision contemporary Jews as being white?
Are Jews of European origin genetic
descendants of the first Jews? If not, how did
they come to be Jewish?
Often people define "a Jew" as
being the genetic offspring of a Jewish woman.
Can one be considered Jewish if his/her mother is
not Jewish but his father is and s/he is raised
with Jewish observances?
Should people who are Jewish by birth but
do not observe any Jewish rituals be considered
Should people who follow Jewish observances
but are not genetic offspring of Jews be
Are Jews for Jesus who are genetic
offspring of Jews still considered "Jewish?"
When does one stop being Jewish? Is formal
conversion to another religion required?
What if you were raised in a Jewish
household but discovered later in life that your
mother had not been born Jewish and had never
formally converted? Would you feel the need to
convert according to Jewish law?
If a Reform rabbi performs a conversion
ceremony on someone should Orthodox Jews
automatically recognize the person as being
What criteria do the State of Israel use to
determine if someone is Jewish? Are those
criteria religiously or politically motivated?
What if someone is the
genetic offspring of a Jewish woman who married a
Catholic and, without converting, raised her
children as Catholics? Is that person considered
Jewish? What if the Jewish woman was the persons
great-great grandmother can "being
Jewish" pass from mother to daughter to her
daughter and so even after generations of the
family is generally perceived to be Catholic?
Should descendents of marranos be considered
Jewish? If they want to reclaim the Jewish
heritage of their ancestors must they convert?
African and African-American organizations
"The Jews of Africa" presentation
can raise and address questions in an African or
African-American group like:
Where did the Jewish people originate? When
and why did they have their first contact with
the African continent?
What is the perception in the African-American
community of "a Jew?" How much of that
perception is based up the culture of the Jewish
people? The observances of the Jewish people? The
economic status of the Jewish people?
What was the skin color of the first Jews?
How does the perception that most contemporary
Jews are white effect their position in society?
If Jews were not perceived to be white, how would
that effect their position in society?
Is someone who is a descendent of slaves
still considered "African?" At one
point has someone become "African-American"
rather than "African?" In a similar
vein, how does a Jewish person become a "Jewish-American"
rather than a simply "Jewish?" How does
someone who is "African" lead life
differently than someone who is "African-American?"
How does someone "Jewish" live
differently than a "Jewish-American?"
What common culture and observances did the
ancient Jews share with the ancient Africans? How
did ancient Judaism differ from any traditional
African religion? Did it? How does modern Judaism
differ traditional African religion? How and why
did Judaism develop from ancient to contemporary
How do the political choices
of different governments and groups effect the
ethnic and cultural identity of Jews, Africans or
Jay can raise all the above
topics and more, delving into the complex
relations between Blacks and Jews and how those
relations are based upon cultural, ethnic,
economic and political similarities and
"The Jews of Africa"
presentation can raise all of these issues and
more in a creative manner that meets your groups
interests and needs.