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Reviews of Afro-Jewish Encounters

“I’ve always thought of Africa, which I have studied and traveled in, as ultimately unknowable in its vastness and diversity. Through a Jewish lens, Miles manages to reveal its Semitic skeleton, old and new, providing a fresh way of seeing the continent’s historical, sociological, and political permutations.” — Nadine Epstein, editor and publisher, Moment Magazine

“[Miles’ book] is compelling. It examines the Jewish presence in Africa and the history of interaction between Jews and Africans. During the early Middle Ages, Jews emigrated south from Spain and North Africa, across the Sahara, and Miles finds interesting traces of a Jewish presence across West Africa. A fascinating chapter discusses what Miles dubs “Jubos,” a community of Igbos, who live in Nigeria, that faithfully practices Judaism despite having no obvious Semitic past. Miles’ book is also a wise rumination on the nature of cultural exchange and religious tolerance. As a Jewish New Yorker who had his first experience of Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer in Niger, Miles uses his personal exchanges with people in the region to discuss the nature of Jewishness.” — Foreign Affairs (May/June 2014)