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Ghanaian Jews: Grandfather davening wearing Tefillin with grand daughter listening. Axim W/R Ghana, 2009
This is a photograph taken of a grandfather and granddaughter in Axim, Ghana. The grandfather is dressed and ready for prayer. He wears the tefillin on his head and arm. The tefillin are small black leather boxes containing a piece of parchment inscribed with a verse from the Torah. Many Orthodox Jews wear the tefillin for morning prayer, to observe G-d’s order in Deuteronomy (and Exodus, too): ‘Therefore shall ye lay up these My words in your heart and in your soul; and ye shall bind them for a sign upon your hand, and they shall be for frontlets between your eyes.’
The grandfather also wears the tallit – a prayer shawl used for morning prayer.
This photography was taken in Ghana. There are many other Jewish communities across the African continent from the Ethiopian Beta Israel Jews to the Igbo Jews of Nigeria.
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What does Judaism mean to you?
I once read Judaism is an attitude to reality, I concur with this summation.
All of my life is centred on this aspect of my identity which is inextricably linked to all the other parts of how I identify; the scientist, the Black man in a white world, the parent, the brother, son, spouse, climate activist, Jew.
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