Thursday, September 29, 2011

Paris’ Black Jewish Community

L'Shanah Tovah! Happy New Year to the Jewish Community!

I am pleased to bring you this posting on Paris's Black Jewish Community for
Rosh Hashanah (28 September 2011).


Guershon Nduwa
Photo from Reveil

Guershon Nduwa is the president of the Fraternité Judéo-noire (Black Jewish Fraternity) in Paris and the surrounding region (Ile-de-France). Originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, he went to Israel in 1988 to study Hebrew Civilization. He was welcomed and embraced by those he met in Israel, learned their customs, and converted to Judaism in 1995 at the age of 28. He moved to France in 1993 and works as a psychologist for Médecins sans frontières (Doctors without Borders).

There are approximately 250 black Jewish families living in Ile-de-France, most of whom are of Ethiopian origin. They represent 5% of the entire Jewish population of France. While the majority of the Sephardic and Ashkenazi communities in the area have not readily accepted them, they have been welcomed by the minority French Masorti, or Conservative Jewish community. Conservative Jews were themselves poorly accepted by the orthodox Sephardic and Ashkenazi communities when they arrived in France.

At an event celebrating the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the first Masorti synagogue in France, Nduwa spoke to a throng of people to present his belief that black Jews should establish their own synagogue to provide the visibility and respect that they have found lacking. He launched a project in 2008 to raise 300 000 euros to establish a black synagogue and community center in Levallois-Perret, a suburb that borders Paris to the northwest.

Nduwa founded the Fraternité Judéo-noire in 2007 as a means of increasing the visibility of the black Jewish community. Its purpose is to strengthen the ties between black and white Jews, and its membership consists of persons of both races.


Entrée to Black Paris!™ is a Discover Paris! blog.

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