“We have witnessed in the last years a growing trend among the people of Nigeria to learn more about Jewish tradition, and we are here to accommodate that,” Messianic rabbi says.
By AARON REICH
Thousands of Nigerians gathered in the city of Abakiliki last week to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah – even though the actual holiday starts next week on Sunday, December 22.In a three-day festival organized by Ohio-based Messianic Jewish shaliach (emissary) Rabbi Kirt Schneider, a massive crowd gathered together to light the candles of the traditional Hanukkah menorah (also known as a hanukkiah) and say the appropriate blessings.Messianic Jews are Jews whose faith combines Jewish rituals with Christianity, including that Jesus is the Jewish messiah."It is really heartwarming to see thousands of Nigerians embracing the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah!” said Schneider, who added, “We have witnessed in the last years a growing trend among the people of Nigeria to learn more about Jewish tradition, and we are here to accommodate that.”A former wrestler, the 61-year-old Schneider has authored several books since becoming a Messianic Jew in 1978, according to his website. He also hosts the television show Discovering the Jewish Jesus, which is accessible to over 100 million people in over 200 nations.Messianic Jewry has become more prominent in recent years in Nigeria as groups seek to bring into their fold the Igbo Jews – a community of 3,000-5,000 people from the 30 million-strong Igbo tribe identifying as members of the lost tribes.AdvertisementThe Israeli Supreme Court currently does not recognize the Igbo Jews, and according to the government, those that come to Israel do so as Christian pilgrims.