There is a widespread belief among the Igbo of Nigeria that they are descendants of the tribes of Israel, and since the end of Nigeria’s Civil War (1967-1970) several thousand Igbo have embraced the Jewish religion. Shai Afsai’s exhibit features photographs from his three visits to those practicing Judaism in Nigeria’s capital city, and is on display November 6 through December 17 in the James T. Giles Community Room at the Cranston Public Library. A meet and greet with the photographer will be held Sunday, December 8, 2-4 pm.
Shai Afsai is a writer and photographer living in Providence. His recent research has focused on the writings of Thomas Paine, the religious traditions of the Beta Yisrael Jewish community from Ethiopia, Benjamin Franklin in Jewish thought, emerging Judaism in Nigeria, aliyah to Israel from Rhode Island, Jewish pilgrimage to Ukraine, Jewish-Polish relations, and Jews and Irish literature. His articles, short stories, and photographs have been featured in The Providence Journal, The Jerusalem Post, Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies, The Reform Jewish Quarterly, The Review of Rabbinic Judaism, Anthropology Today, and Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review.