Visiting the Holy Land

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
June 11, 2017

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeOn May 29 I flew from Boston’s Logan Airport to Ben Gurion Airport, Israel, via London, to attend the bris ceremony of my niece’s son. The flight to Israel was delayed for 15 hours because of a computer problem which stranded 75,000 British Airways passengers worldwide. But for the timely intervention of one of BA’s attendants, I would have missed this important religious ceremony: the circumcision and naming ceremony of my niece’s son.

The ceremony took place on June 2. This marking of the boy child (analogous in many ways with the Christian christening) had its origins in the covenant that Abraham made with his God when he circumcised his son Isaac at the age of eight days as God had commanded. In the words of Ezekiel: “I said to you, ‘Because of your blood you shall live!'” This claim, the promise of life “for a thousand generations,” separates Jews from other religions.

The ceremony was held in a small synagogue in Rishon Litvyion, a town outside of Tel Aviv. The Efrayim, the boy’s family, originally from Iran, is the epitome of kindness and love. They embraced our family even though this was the first meeting in person with my other niece and myself. We had seen them on Skype before. They wanted to be sure we understood the significance of the event.

Bedecked in my African apparel (my family was dressed in African threads), I put on my yamaka and participated in this life-giving ceremony. I was brought up to respect the practices of all faiths: if the occasion calls for your taking off your hat, you do that. If it calls for your taking off your shoes, you do that.

I have participated in religious ceremonies in mosques in Morocco, Egypt and Pakistan. In Karachi, Pakistan, after the ritual washing and donning of my white apparel, I participated in the Islamic Friday prayers after which I shared a meal with the presiding Iman. In Nigeria, I shared in Yoruba prayers, drank palm wine with my brothers and duly accepted my African name. A similar thing happened in the Fiji Island when I visited there about thirty years ago.

The bris ceremony holds enormous religious significance. Rabbi Paysach Kroh notes: “It is the ritual that, more than any other, symbolizes Jewish identity” (Bris Milah). It allows the newborn to become an heir to the treasures that Abraham’s covenant bestows on people of the Jewish faith. During the ceremony I was given some hadas leaves to crush and then asked to inhale the scent. Devotees believe that the scent of hadas leaves purifies the body thereby making one ready to participate in and accept the blessings of the ceremony. One participant noted: “The scent is the only way that the significance/impact of the ceremony can reach your soul.”

In this way of looking, the body is seen as a temple of God. A religious guide noted that if one wants to keep one’s body holy and spiritually pure, one has to follow certain rules. Everything one eats; how one treats one’s wife and children; the rituals one observes when one has sexual intercourse are important elements in maintaining the strength and purity of the group. “These rules,” he said proudly, “are over three thousand years old.”

Yossi, the child’s father, was also his godfather. The next day Yossi confessed that his greatest goal in life is to be a good father. Nothing else was more important. He had learned that lesson from his father’s example. His father, he said, would sacrifice everything he has for his children. Dining at home that evening at the Shabbat dinner I saw why he wanted to emulate his father: his father is the embodiment of care and concern. Family mattered to him. It was the only thing that mattered.

That ceremony taught me many things. However, the main lesson I gathered was the importance of family. In Israel, life radiates around the family at the center of which stand the children. There is little room for anyone else within the nexus of those family relationships. Most of the family members live within walking or driving distance from one another. Their greatest joy is to be among one another although the family is patriarchal in nature.

The assembled guests recited the following prayer at the end of the bris ceremony:

May the blood of the circumcised one be [considered] in the community of the faithful, as a pleasing offering to HASHEM [GOD].

And in Jerusalem, Throne of HASHEM, may we offer sacrifices and complete burnt offerings to HASHEM.

Sealed in our flesh as a wondrous sign and testimony, for us and our children for all eternity.

Those who see us will recognize, and our oppressors will know, that we are the children, blessed by HASHEM.

When I left Boston, I wanted to be in Israel for my niece. I found out it was more important that I be there for myself. There is no telling how much we enrich ourselves when we share in the religious lives of others. It’s an ancient Biblical imperative, which remains true in our lives today.

Professor Cudjoe’s email is scudjoe@wellesley.edu. He can be reached @ProfessorCudjoe.

7 Responses to “Visiting the Holy Land”


  • Yes there is much that can be learnt from other cultures, the rituals and significance of it. Traditions that go back 3,000 years, dosen’t get any better than that….

  • Blood flowed like water, caused by the murderous invasion of the ROMAN CATHOLIC church on the palestine, today named ISRAEL the HOLY LAND. I respect your writing very much Dr C, but your piece only give credence to a state that continues to be a rogue and murderous nation. Dr C, you may have been there on a religious visit , but truth be told, the religion of the ancient African Hebrews have been captured and colonized by the western , eastern and central EUROPEANS. These converts who portray themselves as a Jewish chosen people, is one of the greatest fallacies imposed on humankind.During the Talmudic period, stories was told about the merits of circumcision, they taught that it was proof of a Jews acceptance of GOD, preventing him of entering GEHENA,jewish equivalent of hell, is jewish a race of people or a religion? at what point in our era did Hebrewism become Jewish?,the Sephardic and Ashkenazi sects,have consolidated the belief stolen from the ancient Africans. As we continue to seek, pieces of the puzzle are coming together,Racist Israel have refused the true Hebrews/Jews of Africa, wasn’t Timbuktu in the kingdom of Mali a jewish/ Islamic empire? Beta Israel, are they not one of oldest Hebrew/Jewish groups in recorded history?, from north, east, south and west Africa the original Hebrew/Jews plus India and China can be found.We are left dumbfounded by a people possessing our past, calling themselves the chosen people of God, while at the same time committing the atrocities of racism, murder and economic deceit in a land that is not so holy. The Falashas of Ethiopia air lifted by Israel in the political return, code name MOSES and SOLOMON currently live under racist conditions in the so-called holy land, we all know how the Islamic side in the so-called holy land is treated. If circumcision is to make the body acceptable to GOD,the mind is living in the hell they created. Hell wasn’t mentioned in the original 42 negative confessions coming out of the land of our forefathers,KHEMET.Hotep.

    • My brother Cooper:

      “original 42 negative confessions coming out of the land of our forefathers,KHEMET.”

      We the Negro are NOT of the seed of Ham, nor of his son Mizraim, aka Kemet/Khemet, aka Egypt.

      We are of the seed of Shem, through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, our forefathers. We sojourned in Kemet in ancient times, where we were enslaved. Our liberator then was Moses. He was raised in Pharaoh’s palace as Pharaoh’s grandson, after Pharaoh had issued the decree to slay all new-born Hebrew males. Therefore, we have a connection to ancient Kemet, and we had to be pretty much indistinguishable as to phenotype, if Pharaoh raised Hebrew Moses, from the line of Shem, as an Egyptian from the line of Ham.

      In 70 CE we were scattered out of Jerusalem and Judea, fleeing the Roman armies of Titus and Vespasian. That is when we entered into Africa a second time, where we became known as Bantu (Ba + ntu = sons/children of ntu = God; cf Kemetic ntr = god).

      We were not permitted to take up residence in those areas where the Hamites already dwelt. A group of the tribe of Dan were the exception, who took up residence in today Ethiopia (aka Kush), where they were known as “falasha” (= stranger), down to this day. They had taken up residence long before the 70 CE Roman occupation of Judea and Samaria.

      In 70 CE, the newcomer Bantu had to keep on trekking into the unpopulated areas of central, west, and south Africa. See Rudolf Windsor, From Babylon to Timbuktu for detail. We also came to be known as “Negro”. We were known to be different from Ham:

      Ham. The youngest son of Noah, born probably
      about 96 years before the Flood; and one of eight
      persons to live through the Flood. He became the
      progenitor of the dark races; not the Negroes, but the Egyptians, Ethiopians, Libyans and Canaanites. (Zondervan Bible Dictionary)

      The etymology of the term “Negro” is obscure, but it seems to be Hamitic in origin; Cf. Kushitic negus = king, “kebra negast” = chronicles of the kings. The Kushites were certainly well aware at least from the time of Solomon (and Sheba) that we were a nation of “kings and priests” (Revelation 1:6, 5:10), holy unto the Most High, as stated in Torah (Exodus 19:5-6). Applied to Hebrews fleeing into the continent as refugees, the usage likely was, or became, ironic. It became a term of abuse and derogation over time. By ascription, it was imported into European languages with the meaning or connotation of “black”, since we were a dark-skinned people, like Kemet, and Kush.

      We the Negro are a Bantu people. The two are one and the same. We are the chosen of the Most High spoken of in Holy Scripture. We are NOT Kemet. Any such assertion is mere assumption. It is easy to be misled by surface similarity of skin colour and phenotype. But within Africa, the Bantu know they/we are not a “Nilotic people”. And the Hamites of Africa have no love lost for the Bantu, and were party to the slave trade, as well obviously to the enslavement in ancient days; Exodus 1:9-10.

      Therefore, it is not useful, qua category, to consider ourselves “African”, in some amorphous way. Not only is there this clear distinction between Ham and Bantu/Negro, there is distinction also between Hebrew Israelite, and other Hebrew strains, i.e. Hebrew Edomite and Hebrew Ishmaelite and other children of Abraham. Still today, there are “black” Hebrew Edomite strains in Africa, e.g. the Idoma of Nigeria, the Ashanti of today Ghana. And there are black Hebrew Ishmaelite (Arab) strains.

      So no, it is a confusion of category to claim identity as “African”, without being clear as to which we are and which we are not. We are Bantu/Negro African. Even so, our true identity is a seedline, not a continent where we happened to sojourn. We are Hebrew Israelites of the seed, descending from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

      As such, we have fulfilled prophecy, and have been enslaved pursuant to Deuteronomy 28:68. Our near-kin brethren — Edomites, Ishmaelites –, as well as Hamites, were involved in our enslavement, in accordance with prophecy:

      Psalms 83:4-8. “They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.5 For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee: 6 The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes;7 Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre;8 Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot. Selah.”

      In that light, to misidentify ourselves as KEMET, is not helpful. If we are to rise as a people, it will not be on the basis of such fundamental error. Neither is it helpful to identify ourselves by a skin colour (“black”), or by a continent where we have temporarily sojourned and suffered kidnapping and enslavement.

      To come into these truths it will be necessary to study outside of the Afri-centric canon.

      This also means that the so-called “Jew” today is actually not of the seed of Jacob. This also was prophesied:

      “I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which Kb>say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.” (Revelation 2:9)

      Those who call themselves “Jews” are not. There are three main branches:

      1) the Khazar Jew, who constitute about 80-90%, who are not even of Shem, rather of Japheth. They were converted ca. 800 CE; see Arthur Koestler, The 13th Tribe, also Shlomo Sand, The Invention of the Jewish people. It was prophesied that they would dwell in the tents of Shem (Genesis 9:27);

      2) the Edomite Jew, who share our ancestors Abraham and Isaac, but are not of the seed of Jacob. They were converted by John Hyrcanus during the time of the Maccabees. By the time of Yeshua’s coming, they were in charge: King Herod was an Idumean (Edomite); and

      3) the Sephardic Jews, who were known as Samaritans in the days of Yeshua. They were brought to the land of Samaria, after the northern-kingdom Israelites were kicked out of the land by the Assyrian king; 2 Kings 17:24. They got there by virtue of ethnic cleansing. They too were converted as recounted in Scripture at 2 Kings 17:27-28.

      In the meantime, we the Bantu/Negro it was prophesied would serve every other god but the Most High. That was one of the curses:

      “And Yahweh shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone.” (Deu 28:64)

      This clearly has been fulfilled. We the Chosen people of the seed are variously: “Christian”, in endless variety, but far from the Law of the Holy Covenant; “Muslim” and even further away; and “Traditional African”, in one way or another, but far from serving the Most High in the way He required of us.

      Our challenge precisely is to return to, do and keep the Law of the Holy Covenant, as is our obligation by virtue of seedline. As long as we think ourselves “African” in some essentialist way, or ascribe significance to skin colour (black) as defining our true identity, we will have difficulty. For such ascriptions cut us off in the logical brain-computer from Hebrew Israelite identity.

      Our true identity is that we are the holy seed, descended from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jacob’s name was changed by the Most High to Israel (meaning: prince with God; we are the inheritors of the kingdom). That is the sense in which Revelation 2:9 says we are “rich” at the same time that it speaks of knowing our “poverty” and “tribulation”.

      Pick up the Book and read! At least as diligently as you read the Afri-centric canon. In fact it will require much deeper study. Yes, the Book has been tampered with, part of the challenge is to search out where. It becomes easy after a while.

      Shalom.

      P.S. The gods of Egypt were powerless before the Most High:
      “For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am Yahweh.” (Exodus 12:12)

    • ADDENDUM:

      Here is a good introductory youtube video that lays out the key evidence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0iNfs_ReRNc

    • Greetings Cooper. You made a thought-provoking post. The perennial turmoil in Israel is a result of the Zionist political imperative, which operates under the cover Judaism and makes a farce and a mockery out of it. Unfortunately, this narrative has become dominant in the Middle Eastern political discourse and has masked the suffering of my ancestral relatives (Arab and Jewish) in the land of Israel.

      In my research, there are indeed the descendants of Khazars who became ancestral sons and daughters of Abraham through their sexual unions with the Jewish teachers who taught them. With that said, the satanic notions of white supremacy eventually contaminated the culture and traditions of Israel to the point today where many Ashkenazim treat their Mizrahi relatives with the utmost scorn.

      The most poignant example of this contamination has been the dispect of my Mizrahi Rabi-Cohen by Ashkenazim fools who do not understand the spiritual implications of what they do.

      Anyway, great post.

      • trinamerican:

        Great to see you posting again, although we don’t always agree.

        You say:

        the descendants of Khazars who became ancestral sons and daughters of Abraham through their sexual unions with the Jewish teachers who taught them.

        The sexual union of which you speak explains the Cohen modal haplotype present in the PRIESTLY families. These constitute a TINY fraction of the Khazar Jews. Ditto for the PRIESTLY families of the Sepharvaim, and of the Edomite Jews.

        In the case of the Khazar Jews, the fact remains that the vast majority are of the paternal seedline, NOT of Abraham, but of Japheth through the lines of Magog. This is not even of the significance of the tail wagging the dog.

        In all three cases — Khazar, Edomite, and Sephardic — there is the following problem:

        “Thou shalt not abhor an Edomite; for he is thy brother: thou shalt not abhor an Egyptian; because thou wast a stranger in his land. The children that are begotten of them shall enter into the congregation of Yahweh in their third generation.” (Deuteronomy 23:7-8)

        This implies the necessity of the offspring of the priests who carried out the conversions (and injected their Y-DNA) marrying back Israelite; the third generation then would be considered of the congregation of Israel. I doubt many of them fulfilled this condition, for lack of opportunity.

        Therefore, even those carrying the Y-DNA of the priestly line of Aaron (the presumed source of the Cohen Modal Haplotype), would not be considered Israelite, let alone considered eligible to be priests. That might explain why they call themselves rabbis (teachers) as opposed to priests.

        Shalom.

  • Israel is the only stable nation in the Middle East. They have 1 million Arabs living and working there. They are the only middle Eastern nation that protects Christians and other minority groups. No other Middle East nation have Jews, in fact Jews are banned from entering many of these nations.

    Israel land mass as compared to Saudia. Saudia is 103 times larger than Israel. It would be easy to repatriate Palestinians who are Arabs to Saudia, same as the Jews are doing for Jewish people around the world. But they would not because Islam is about conquest. They will fight these poor Jews for a small piece of land. When Israel decimated the Arabs nations in the six day war and seized more land than they could have imagine. They negotiated with the Egyptians to return the Sinai Peninsula in exchange for peace. During those negotiations Arafat was given the two state solution. Take the peninsula move there and build your nation. Something which he flatly refused. The so call Palestinian problem would have been solved a long time ago. But here we are!

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