Minchah Daven with Tefillin, Tallit and Siddur

Object number

Nina Weatherburn ©

Kenneth Awele Okafor

Object Information

This image describes Kenneth Awele Okafor’s way of preparing for prayers (Yiddish, Daven) towards Jerusalem when necessary while wearing Tefillin, Tallit and reading the siddur (prayer book). This is the Minchah (afternoon) prayer which was the 2nd session of participating in the daven.

Tefillin are black leather boxes with attaching leather straps, often called phylacteries in English. Within the boxes you will find a piece of parchment with scripture from Torah. The wearing of the tefillin is a commandment, based on the scripture, Deutronomy 6:8. ‘You shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be for a reminder between your eyes.’ It’s often traditional to wear Tefillin during weekday morning prayers but the commandment of Tefillin can be fulfilled anytime during the day from sunrise when it gets dark.

The Tallit is a prayer shawl. The Tzitzit (fringes) are the most important part of the Tallit, they represent the 613 Mitzvot/Commandments in the Torah. It is also commandment to wear tzitzit.

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Why is this image important to you?

To represent the idea that I can use the Tefillin and Tallit to showcase my Jewish understanding that consists of West African and North African Heritage.

How does this image reflect your Jewish identity?

This image reflects upon the idea that the Tefillin and Tallit with a Siddur can used for anyone who is identified as Black African descent.

What does Judaism mean to you?

Judaism is based upon acknowledging the ancestors influence towards the Torah and represents ways of being practical and rational while communicating with Hashem in many ways.

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