Skip to comments.Israel Seeks to End Ancient African Jewish Custom
Posted on 01/18/2012 9:35:37 AM PST by marshmallow
ASHKELON, Israel -- Israel is closing the books on a rare millennia-old Jewish tradition.
Nearly three decades after Israel began airlifting Ethiopia's ancient Jewish community out of the Horn of Africa, Israel's rabbis are now working to phase out the community's white-turbaned clergy, the kessoch, whose unusual religious practices are at odds with the rabbinate's Orthodox Judaism.
The effort has added to the sense of discrimination felt by Israel's 120,000 Ethiopian citizens. These sentiments boiled over this month after a group of landlords in the southern town of Kiryat Malachi refused to accept Ethiopians as tenants.The move has prompted large protests, including a gathering outside parliament on Wednesday that drew more than 1,000 young immigrants and other supporters.
Kess Semai Elias, 42, said the recent reports of discrimination add to his and other Ethiopian Jewish spiritual leaders' dismay and feelings that they are not welcome.
"We are just like all the other Jews. We don't have any other religion," he said.
Descendants of the lost Israelite tribe of Dan, according to Jewish lore, Ethiopian Jews spent millennia isolated from the rest of the Jewish world. In most Jewish communities, the priesthood of the Bible was replaced by rabbis who emphasized text study and prayer. Ethiopia's Jewish kessoch continued the traditions of Biblical-era priests, sacrificing animals and collecting the first fruits of the harvest.
The two traditions diverged so much that the first trickle of Ethiopian Jewish immigrants to Israel were asked to undergo a quickened conversion ceremony to appease rabbis who were dubious about their religious pedigree.
When Israeli clandestine operations rescued large groups of Ethiopian Jews from war and famine in the 1980s and early 1990s, a rabbinic consensus was reached and the newcomers did not have to convert - except for a group known as the Falash Mura.........
(Excerpt) Read more at sunherald.com ...
“Descendants of the lost Israelite tribe of Dan, according to Jewish lore, Ethiopian Jews spent millennia isolated from the rest of the Jewish world. In most Jewish communities, the priesthood of the Bible was replaced by rabbis who emphasized text study and prayer. Ethiopia’s Jewish kessoch continued the traditions of Biblical-era priests, sacrificing animals and collecting the first fruits of the harvest. “
anyone have any perspective on this to offer?
I visited Israel in 1991, and remember admiring Israel for airlifting them in.
I contend that most of these Africans are not Jews at all. This was a typical left-wing “Jewish guilt” move to bring in blacks to make the Labor party and Commie kibbutzniks feels morally superior.
I was watching a show about the Judaic Christians of Ethiopia the other day. They’re Christan but hold firmly to a lot of Jewish traditions and rites.
Sammy won't be happy.
It would be more helpful if you could prove or disprove your contention.
I can’t nor do I have the resources to prove it, but I am sure I saw on the news quite a few years back that Israel was not letting them into the country because DNA tests showed they were not related to Jews.
Of course I think one can be converted to Judaism, not that I am up on that either.
I also recall Israel basically bowing to world pressure and letting them in, also quite a few years back.
Anyone with sufficient chutzpah to identify themselves as Jewish in this world that hates us is Jewish to me as an Israeli.*
These guys live in Ashkelon, which is ground zero for the crap thrown at us from arab-occupied Judea. They’re tough, smart, and fill an important economic niche.
Plus, as a religious Jew, 99% of the children undergo a formal Orthodox conversion as part of IDF training (just like Russian Jews of uncertain lineage), which resolves all doubts in my mind.
* paraphrase of David BG
Assuming they are Jewish by blood, instead of conversion, perhaps either males or females from Israel, many years ago, intermarried with Ethiopians. Therefore, neither the maternal or the paternal line should match. The autosomal DNA would be the way to go, except it is generally good for just hundreds of years of ancestry, not thousands. So, this is a case, where DNA may not help prove. I may be wrong in my understanding, but have read a bunch in past few months (as I had all my lines tested).
Genetically, they are at least partially semetic, if not necessarily Jewish maternally (which is what matters).
But they practice a form of Judaism, and they certainly convert to make it “kosher.”
Give me a break. The Ethiopian Jews practice a form of Judaism that is far older than the Rabinnical Judaism practiced by the white Jews.
Tradition suggests that Ethiopian Judaism was brought to Ethiopia by the Queen of Sheba.
Rabinnical Judaism descends from Pharisaism, and developed much later.
DNA each one of them. Period.
Contrary to what everyone knows, the Queen of Sheba was from South Yemen, not modern day Ethiopia which is also not the same as ancient Ethiopia which was closer to Libya.
I have been under the impression that the tribe of Dan went to Europe and became Germany and Gaul.
If youd like to be on or off, please FR mail me.
Genetically, he only Europeans with a dash of semite in them are the Spanish, Portugese, and Italians -— something like 1/4 of Italians are of Jewish descent.
There were a bunch of theories like this (cheifly about the Irish because of our shared tendancy to have red hair) over the years. Very trendy in the 1800s.
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