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Teshuvah Across the Waters

Teshuvah is the Hebrew word for return. We invite our Black/African Diaspora Jewish/Hebrew siblings to join us for a journey full of cultural connection and spiritual restoration as we travel to Nigeria from January 11th/12th- 22nd, 2025 to connect and learn with the Hebrew Igbo community. Our intention is to deepen our communal connections and build an interconnected community of collective Teshuvah.

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Intention/Kavanah

This trip aims to build connections and relationships between Afro-Judaic/Hebrew communities throughout the diaspora. With a focus on the intersections of Blackness and Jewishness, we will continue to learn about ourselves and the multiplicity of the global Black Jewish experience by  spending time with our cousins in Igboland.

Who We Are

Who we are

This trip is organized by members of the Black Jewish Liberation Collective, in collaboration with Jewish Multiracial Network. We will travel as an intergenerational cohort of 12-18 African descent Jews/Hebrews from the U.S./Caribbean to Nigeria/Igboland in 2025. 

Why Nigeria? Why Igboland?

There is a thriving community of Hebrew Igbos who have lived in Nigeria for generations, and have a lot to teach us about the African Judaic experience. This is a transformative opportunity to experience our Jewishness/Hebrewness through an African-centered lens. 

 

Furthermore, many descendants of enslaved Africans in the United States and parts of the Caribbean have potential Igbo ancestry. Some estimate that 60-80% of Afro-descendents in the Americas have at least one Igbo ancestor. This adds another layer of meaning for many participants on this trip. Teshuvah Across the Waters is about returning to our ancestral homelands and piecing together histories, traditions, and spiritual practices that have been stolen from us through enslavement, genocide, and extraction.

 

We will learn about Igbo histories and narratives, share Jewish/Hebrew ritual and prayer, and foster relationships with the Hebrew Igbo community in Ogidi to deepen our ongoing process of Teshuvah/return.

Igbo Community in ogidi

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Sample Itinerary

We will begin our trip by visiting the memorial of political prisoners that fought for Nigeria’s independence from British colonial rule; continuing from there to the former slave port in Badagry that many captured and enslaved Igbo people were sold from to be taken across the Atlantic ocean. Then, we will travel to Anambra, in Igboland, where we’ll celebrate Shabbat together, build relationships with the community in Ogidi, and learn the unique Jewish customs, rituals, and melodies of Igbo Jews that pre-date modern influence. We will connect with community elders, professors, and the King of the tribe of Gad to deepen our collective understanding of Hebrew Igbo history and our intersection with it, and explore how our communities can support one another across the diaspora. We will end our trip by visiting one of the country’s most beautiful natural attractions, Lekki Craft Market and Nature Preserve.

Jan 11/12

Depart Point Of Origin

Jan 13

Arrive In Lagos

Jan 14

Travel Recovery, Visit Freedom Park (memorial for political prisoners that resisted colonial rule)

Jan 15

Badagry: Day-trip to slave port

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Jan 16-20

Visit Igboland (domestic flight to Igbo Jewish community in Ogidi)

Jan 20

Return to Lagos

Jan 21

Lecture from Professor Duru at University of Lagos + Lekki Craft Market/Nature Preserve

Jan 22

Return to Point of Origin

Trip Costs + Payments

We are working collectively to subsidize the cost of this trip so that it is accessible for all participants. If accepted, each participant will be expected to make a non-refundable deposit of $180-$500 by Sept 15th, 2024 to secure their spot in the cohort. Participants who are able, can make an additional contribution of up to $1500 by November 1st, 2024.


The estimated cost for each participant is $3,150. This covers the cost of visas, flights, food, lodging, activities, ground transportation, and compensating travel guides. Please consider this sliding scale chart or this chart and your current financial situation to determine your monetary contribution for this trip. *Your monetary contribution will not be used in the application review process.

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Frequently 
Asked
Questions

Q: Who are the Hebrew Igbos and how can I learn more about their history and community currently?

A: Igbo Hebrews are descendants of Israelite tribes that have been practicing Torah based spirituality for millennia. You can review here a summative article of Igbo Israelite Ancestry and Torah Practice and the history of Igbo from a Jewish perspective here. See here for the recent Rabbinic ruling and research of Igbo by the Obadyah Alliance and be in touch with Yehudah (yehudah.webster@gmail.com) to view a recording of the presentation he shared with the BJLC community about the Igbo. 

Q: How much does this trip cost?

A: The total cost for each participant is $3,150. We are working together to fundraise and subsidize the cost for all participants. Each participant will submit a non-refundable deposit of $180-$500 by Sept 15th, 2024 to secure their spot in the cohort. Participants who are able, can make an additional contribution of up to $1500 by November 1st, 2024.

 

Q: What about visa requirements and costs?

A: The tourist visa costs $160, and you’ll need a passport valid for at least 6 months past the trip. The visa can take some time to process, so we encourage everyone to begin the application process for the visa by November the latest. We are exploring applying for visas as a group and will notify you if that’s an option. 

 

Q: Who’s invited?

A: This trip is for people of African descent who are Jewish/Hebrew (or are exploring their relationship with Judaism) and looking to connect with other Black Jews/Hebrews globally.

 

Q: What are the trip dates?

A: January 11th/12th-22nd. These dates are subject to change slightly based on travel rates. We ask that folks plan their travel to begin on Jan 11th/12th so you can arrive in Lagos by the evening/night of Jan 13th. The official trip itinerary will be from Jan 14th-21st with folks flying back to their place of origin on the 22nd. These dates are subject to change slightly based on travel rates. 

Q: What are the accommodations like?

A: While in Lagos, we will be staying at a hotel or airbnb(s) on Lekki Island. While in Anambra, Igboland, we will be staying at a hotel that’s a 5 min drive from the synagogue. 

 

Q: Is it safe?

A:  The U.S. Department of State describes Nigeria as generally unsafe, but also views Jamaica at a similar level of unsafety as a point of reference. Trip leaders who have visited Nigeria in recent years attest to the general feeling and experience of safety they experienced. Additionally, we will be joined by Nigerian citizens in Lagos from the Ogidi community, and they will travel everywhere with us, including to Igboland. We will rely on their discernment for when we need to hire and travel with armed security. While there is an LGBTQ+ community in Nigeria as there is in all places, painfully and harmfully Nigeria does criminalize same-sex relations. Traveling as a group offers safety in solidarity (and numbers), we fully welcome and expect many members of this cohort to be a part of the LGBTQ+ community and invite you to join in as well if that applies to you. We do not anticipate any complications in this regard for our trip. 
 

Q: Can children/families come?

A: Children and families are welcome to join us. Make sure to indicate in your application if you will be traveling with children or a partner. The deposit and additional monetary contributions apply to each person traveling.

 

Q: What’s the main goal of this trip?

A: To build connections and relationships between Afro-Judaic/Hebrew communities and celebrate the multiplicity of the global Black Jewish experience. 

 

Q: What kind of preparation will there be for the trip?

A: We will have a series of zoom sessions to prepare for our trip collectively. These zoom sessions will focus on building relationships, cultural and political education, and travel logistics. 

 

Q: How much should we budget for additional costs (souvenirs, etc)?

A: You can expect to budget anywhere between $150-$500 for additional costs of souvenirs, extra meals (beyond what’s provided), and alcoholic beverages. 

 

Q: When is the deadline to apply?

A: Space is limited! Please fill out the application form by *August 18th, 2024*. We will be in touch by *September 10th* to let you know if there is a spot for you.

Q: What COVID precautions will be taken?

A: We encourage participants to limit their exposure a week prior to our trip by masking in public spaces and avoiding large gatherings. We encourage participants to test prior to travel, to mask during flights, and to be COVID conscious to protect the health of all participants.

 

Q: What about religious observance and gender?

A: All forms of observance are welcome on this trip. We will bring together an intergenerational group of people from different levels of Jewish/Hebrew observance, and diverse Black + Jewish gender and cultural backgrounds/experiences. That said, we will be interacting with a community that is religiously and culturally Orthodox, meaning that they pray with a small mechitza (gender divider).

Q: Do I need to be African American or a descendent of enslaved people to participate?

A: This trip is open to all who identify as Black/African descent, regardless of cultural background or lineage. We are strengthened by our multiplicity and have so much to learn from one another.

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