From: The Igbo-Hebrew (Excerpts from “Finding Gad…” and “Omenana…”)
By Rabbi Yehudah “Tochukwu” ben Shomeyr
“When the Missionaries came to Nigeria to evangelize, they were dumbfounded to discover that the Igbo People practised many Hebraic/Jewish customs which they could not have learned from anyone else, it had to come from ancient practice of their people from antiquity; for they had no Bibles and met no one with a Bible until the missionaries came along. They found that the Igbos practised:
-Eating of animals that meet the Biblically clean requirements as well as the complete draining of blood from the animal as well as other laws concerning Kashrut (Kosher Animals).
-Has a concept of clean and unclean, acceptable and abominable or taboo
-Animal sacrifice like unto the Levitical sacrificial system
-Belief in a Supreme, All-Powerful Deity (Chukwu) above all other deities
-Circumcision on the 8th day as well as had the naming ceremony of the 8 day old child
-Giving names that bear the name or title of God within it
-Separation of menstruating women
-The keeping of a lunar calendar
-Shemita and Jubilee years: The annulment of debt and servitude every seven and fifty years
-Burying their dead facing East, the direction of Jerusalem and the Promised Land
-Sitting Shiva (seven day mourning period where one sits on low stools, remains unkempt and shave their head in grief). Belief in resurrection.
-Sending of the bodies home of Igbos who die outside of Igboland to be buried, like Joseph and Jacob desiring not to be buried in a pagan or foreign land.
-Hospitality like unto the traditions and legends known of Abraham offering water, meal and lodging to travelers
-Levirate type marriages, brothers marrying deceased brothers’ wives to carry on the brothers’ names.
-Marriage negotiations (Onye-aka-ebe) between families, like unto the story of Isaac and Rebecca.
-A type of, “Cities of Refuge,” where an Igbo who has committed a crime can seek refuge in his mother’s natal home, known in Igbo as, “Ikwunne”.
-Shunning of those who willingly break Igbo laws.
-Laws against sexual perversion, incest and the like, they had to marry among their people but outside their immediate tribal clan.
-A rule of Torah (Law) was developed and was passed down by Eri
-Rite of passage into adulthood -Governance of the people by a conglomeration of tribal elders and judges prior to the institution of kingship dynasties.
-The coronation of the Kings have rituals and customs that closely remember that of the coronation of Kings of Judah and Israel.
These among many other Jewish laws and customs were found to be kept by the Igbo people and sadly, the Christian missionaries forced them to abandon many of these Hebraic practices because though they resembled Biblical worship of God, they believed many have been done away with due to the advent of Messiah and they believed they practiced these customs unto pagan gods and as such should be abandoned. The Igbos are slowly beginning to return to the
pre-missionary practices, desiring to return to their Hebraic roots”