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.
I don’t buy that at all.
In the US the liberal Jews have been most inhospitable to Yemenites, for instance. Whereas the Satmar community has welcomed them with open arms.
Why is that? For the same reason it is true in Israel. the anti-religious left is secular and despise religion and ancient customs.
I consider the Ethoipian, Indian and other Jewish migrations to Israel, a part of the in-gathering promised in the Torah.
Rabbis are in no way, shape or form comparable to Cohanim (or “priests,” as the author refers to them). The latter are hereditary ministrators in Solomon’s Temple, as are the Leviim. They still perform some ritual functions even now, although with the Temple in ruins and under occupation, they can’t perform their main functions. Rabbis are merely teachers, and do not offer animal sacrifices or accept first fruits and such, which can only be done when the Temple is rebuilt.
But the Tribe of Dan is a lost tribe. Another such tribe is the Benei Menashe, who also used to make sacrifices on Passover on Bamot when they lived in rural India. Members of both tribes are my neighbors and friends in Kiryat Arba. They were exiled during the period of the First Temple, when making animal and other sacrifices on small, makeshift altars called Bamot was still commonplace. It would not surprise me if these Kesachs are really hereditary Cohanim, continuing the practices of the First Temple era, despite the changes in Jewish law from which they’ve been isolated for too long. But I’d have to learn more about them. This is the first I’ve ever heard of them.
I do think that the Ethiopians should demand their own Rabbinic authorities under their own customs.
Ethiopa is right across the Red Sea from Yemen. It is a short boat ride along an old trade rout. Getting to Libya is much harder because of the Sahara. And you seem to have forgotton the existence of Sudan and Egypt. The route to Libya is down the Nile and then across the coastal plain.
|GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach|
“DNA each one of them. Period.”
At least one male and female of every larger family group living in Israel has submitted to DNA testing.
The males are definitively semetic, the females’ mitochondria not so much.
Been sutdies ongoing for last decade, many news stories posted on FR, SunkenCiv and Blam posted and added to pinglists many of the stories.
” It would not surprise me if these Kesachs are really hereditary Cohanim, continuing the practices of the First Temple era, despite the changes in Jewish law from which theyve been isolated for too long. “
But - if the Cohanim exist, rabbinic authority is chalanged ...
EG, one would assume, according to the Cohanim, there were no changes is Jewish law since the first temple.
There are Cohanim in all Jewish societies, but they do not get first fruits because they are not in a state of purity sufficient to eat first fruits and truma, etc.
I didn’t know that. I thought they got wiped out with the Temple.
What a paranoid and misanthropic statement.
You sound exactly like Gollum.
Israel did not bow to world pressure; Israel initiated this airlift and subsequent airlifts of Ethiopian Jews.
I remember reading about this at that time.
Interesting stuff, for what it’s worth.
I found the article on Japan fascinating.
They’re everyplace that there are Jews, as are the Levites. And all the priestly gifts practiced during the time of the Temple still hold, including redeeming our first born, and priestly blessings. But the first fruits and truma offerings are only obligatory in Israel. Levites, however, can receive their tithes, which don’t require ritual purity to eat.
What the Ethiopians did was continue them as a custom in Ethiopia, which was fine in Ethiopia. The problem is that they’re giving first fruits and such to their Cohanim in Israel, which is more than a custom, it is sacred, and no Cohen is presently in a fit state to eat sacred foods at present.
We’d need the ashes of the Red Heiffer for that, and pure red heiffers are few and far between. There’ve only been a few throughout history. Nearly was one a few years ago, but it had a couple of black hairs or something, so it was disqualified. So either we find a pure Red Heiffer, sacrifice it and incinerate it and use its ashes, or we find stored up Red Heiffer ashes at an archaeological dig and use them for the purifications (would have to be in a sealed, specially marked container).
In the interim, no Cohanim should be eating sacred foods, and according to some opinions, the visits to the Temple Mount might even be forbidden, although there are more lenient opinions that people rely on nowadays for that.
What a crazy ideology you have.
Yes. There is holy craziness that transcends intellectual calculation, and the Red Heiffer is the very essence of that. It’s weird, alright. But G-d’s Word must transcend reason at some point, while dealing in reason in other respects, such as Jewish laws of civil damage and marriage and such. Reason itself dictates that that must be. G-d created Reason, just as He created Time, Space, Matter, etc. He can’t be completely bound by these creations of His, but conversely He can’t be completely outside them, because that itself would be a limitation on the Infinite One (in Hebrew Ein Sof).
Are the kessoch really Jews? Or are the Mormonophobes reacting harshly to protect their own narrowly held views?
Thank you - that is interesting stuff.
As I recall, the cow had a white eyelash. (It was on FR)
Are the members of the FUNDAMENTALIST church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints really MORMONs; or are the SPINELESS weasels inhabiting Salt Lake City just very controlling?
This was PROBABLY a story about LAMANITES...
True and Faith: Words that need to be defined first.
Lost no more; due to the fine detective work of our highly educated MORMON scholars!
--MormonDude(Where do you think the MAYANs came from???)
As recorded by Samuel Johnson in his Dictionary of the English Language, one of the most famous anagrams of all time was devised in the Middle Ages. Its unknown author contrived it as a Latin dialogue between Pilate and Jesus. Jesus’ answer to Pilate’s question Quid est veritas? (”What is truth?”) is phrased as an anagram of the letters of that very question: Est vir qui adest (”It is the man before you”).
I’m sure wherever he is, Sammy is keeping an eye out for them...
A few general facts concerning this matter:
1. There has been discrimination against Ethiopian Jews ever since they arrived in Israel; I’ve seen it in my hometown Karmiel. Public discrimination has been due chiefly to skin pigment, but ‘institutionalized’ discrimination has existed only among the ultra orthodox, since all others, including the State itself, has recognized them as bona fide Jews ever since Rabbi Ovadia Yosef determined that they indeed were.
2. DNA testing has proved beyond a doubt they they are Jews, but orthodox rabbis haven’t been too impressed since they’ve been hung up on the fact that the Ethiopians were not brought up with the ‘Oral Law.’ This should come as no surprise, seeing that The Shomronim (Samaritans) have been slandered by the rabbinical establishment since the end of the Babylonian exile; they invented some story that they constituted a replacement population for the Jews who were exiled. Recent DNA tests prove that they are not only genuine Jews, but even decendants of the High Priesthood line. The problem? They reject the ‘Oral Law.’
The Karaites, who also dismiss the ‘Oral Law,’ have been similarly slandered by the rabbis, who have falsely attributed irregular rituals and backgrounds to them.
3. The ‘Oral Law,’ obviously separate from the written Torah, is clearly an invention of the rabbinical establishment, unless you believe their story that it was given to Moses in the Sinai desert along with the hard copy. Although various parts of the ‘Oral Law’ have decisively been proven false, rabbis will NEVER admit to this.
4. There is absolutely no basis in Jewish Scripture for any kind of rabbinical authority. The rabbis claim that they were given Torah by the Judges (see Pirkei Avot - which was, of course, written by them)and that the Torah commands us to obey the judgements of the wise among the congregation. Thus, they immodestly assume that they are the ‘wise’ amongst us, whereas they actually spend more than 90% of their studies on the ‘Oral Law,’ rather than on the Torah itself. My personal experience is that most rabbis are no more conversant with the specifics of the Torah than self-taught laymen like myself.
This is by no means an anti-rabbinical treatise, but meant to put things in their proper perspective.
BTW, I am an observant Jew and not a member of the Karaites.
The ancient priests were to be derived from the tribe of LEVI who had the LORD as their inheritance and were given no tribal lands. I should be skeptical of any claims priests derived from the tribe of Dan.
Discuss the issues all you want, but do not make it personal.
The post to which I replied indulged in name-calling directed at me.
If there is to be a consistent application of a “don’t make it personal” rule, the post to which I replied (#44) should be deleted as well.