Sefwi Wiawso

Kulanu has a thriving relationship with the small African Jewish community in Sefwi Wiawso, Ghana. Jay Sand writes:

Sefwi Wiawso is about 7 hours' drive from Accra, about two hours west of Kumasi. The House of Israel community of Sefwi Wiawso and Sefwi Sui in Western Ghana is either a relatively new one, or an ancient one, depending on one's particular evaluation of the community's history. Members of the community believe that their ancestors, the Sefwi people, are descendants of Jews who migrated south through the Ivory Coast (perhaps originally from Timbuktu), bringing with them ancient Jewish observances. The current community was born in recent years after a local spiritual leader had a "vision" that convinced him that his Sefwi ancestors were actually Jews. The House of Israel has faced many challenges because of their beliefs, but since founding the community about 25 years ago the elders have grown their group to encompass several large families. Most members of this community are children and they are the first generation of Ghanaians (at least in recent times) to be raised Jewish.

Harriet Bograd (harriet@kulanu.org) is Kulanu's Ghana Coordinator. Contact her if you'd like to join our Sefwi Wiawso Support Group, an email discussion group. This group provides support and information for the community and to people who might visit or volunteer in Sefwi Wiawso. As of July 2007 the group had 182 members, and many of our members have been to Sefwi Wiawso.

The community is eager to have volunteers come to Sefwi Wiawso for a month or more to teach Hebrew and Torah. Contact harriet@kulanu.org if you are interested. Kulanu also sells colorful embroidered challah covers and kente cloth tallitot on behalf of the Sefwi Wiawso community, at kulanuboutique.com. These covers come from the Tiferet Israel Community Project, the economic development project of the Jewish community in Sefwi Wiawso, Ghana.

Ghana Links