Jew, Swahili-speaking in Tanzania

Jew, Swahili-speaking
Send Joshua Project a photo
of this people group.
Send Joshua Project a map of this people group.
People Name: Jew, Swahili-speaking
Country: Tanzania
10/40 Window: No
Population: 500
World Population: 500
Primary Language: Swahili
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Jews
Affinity Bloc: Jews
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Jews in Tanzania? Yes, there is a small Jewish population in the east African nation of Tanzania. Until recently, the tiny number of Tanzanian Jews practiced their faith secretly for fear of Christians and Muslims. In 2015, the president of Tanzania established ties with Israel and encouraged Jews to migrate to Tanzania to establish businesses. These actions encouraged the Tanzanian Jews to come out into the open.
Members of a Canadian synagogue in 2019 gave an official copy of the Torah to the Tanzanian Jews.
Tanzania is one of the poorest countries in Africa. Germany took over Tanganyika, the large continental part of Tanzania, in the 1880s. The Germans put Swahili into Roman letters and made it the unofficial trade language of Tanzania. Germans brought in Jews from Morocco and Yemen. The Germans and later the British ordered the people to grow exports crops such as peanuts, cotton, coffee, and rubber. There led to a diminishing supply of food for the Tanzanians. When drought came, the people starved. Tanzania became independent from Britain in 1960.
Most of Tanzania's Jews live in the northern city of Arusha near the Kenyan border.


What Are Their Lives Like?

The Jews in Tanzania are better educated than the general population. Many have a college education and speak English. Jews own and operate businesses. Many work in the import and export of goods. The city of Arusha is near well-known parks where large African animals live. Some Jews work in tourism. Others are leaving Tanzania for Israel in hopes of a better life.

Since the Jewish community is so small, one of the issues facing Tanzanian Jews is finding Jewish spouses for their children. Parents do not want their children marrying Christians or Muslims. Parents want their children to obtain university educations. Jews have smaller families than the average Tanzanians. Like Christians, Jews practice monogamy, marriage to one person.

What Are Their Beliefs?

For religious Jews, God is the Supreme Being, the Creator of the universe, and the ultimate Judge of human affairs. God revealed himself to Moses in the Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament. Beyond this, the religious beliefs of the Jewish communities vary. Jews are diverse. Each Jewish denomination maintains synagogues and celebrates the traditional Jewish holiday calendar. While most Tanzanian Jews are religiously affiliated, there is a significant minority which is not religious. There are few, if any, Messianic Jews in Tanzania.

What Are Their Needs?

Jews in Tanzania need to hear the message about their Messiah, Yeshua. They must come to understand that Jesus alone can forgive their sins and give meaning and hope to life. Christian believers can share the love of Christ with Jews in practical ways.

Prayer Points

Pray for a movement towards Christ among the Jewish population in Tanzania.

Ask the Holy Spirit to grant wisdom and favor to mission agencies focusing on the Jews of Africa.

Pray that the Jewish people in Tanzania will understand that Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah.

Ask the Lord to soften the of Tanzanian Jews towards Christ's followers so that they might hear and receive the message of salvation.

Text Source:   Joshua Project