Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Peres signs credentials for Ethiopian-Is... JPost - National News

‘Decision to appoint Belaynesh Zevadia conveys an important message to society,’ says Liberman.

President Shimon Peres on Tuesday entered the private reception room in Jerusalem’s King David Hotel where Israel’s ambassador-designate to Ethiopia, Belyanesh Zevadia and her husband, Serkalem Adigeh, were waiting for a meeting Zevadia described as the closing of a circle.

Peres had been foreign minister when she was accepted as a cadet at the Foreign Ministry.

Later he went to her wedding, and now, before their meeting he signed the credentials that she will present to Ethiopian President Girma Wolde-Giorgis.

“I left Ethiopia as a young girl,” she said, “and I am returning as an ambassador.”

More than that, she is Israel’s first Ethiopian-born ambassador to be appointed to any country.

When it was announced last February that Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman had appointed Zevadia as Israel’s next ambassador to Ethiopia, the news caused quite a stir in the local and African media.

Zevadia is the first Israeli of authentic African descent to be sent back to the country of her birth as the ambassador of her spiritual and now national homeland.

It is not that unusual for Israel to send its envoys back to the countries from which they came. Nearly every Israeli ambassador to Poland was actually born there. Yohanan Meroz, one of the founders of the Foreign Ministry and an Israeli ambassador to Germany, was born in Germany. Yehuda Avner, a former ambassador to the UK, was born in Britain and Michael Oren, Israel’s current ambassador to the US, is American- born.

Liberman, when he appointed her early this year, said that he was proud to be the first foreign minister to appoint an ambassador of Ethiopian birth.

“The decision to appoint Belaynesh Zevadia as ambassador, beyond the fact that she is a talented diplomat, conveys an important message to Israeli society, which is currently dealing with the issue of racism towards Ethiopians in Israel,” he said. “This appointment is particularly significant in that it sends a message about fighting against discrimination.”

Peres reminisced with Zevadia and her husband about his own visit to Ethiopia many years ago with former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and Col. Nahman Karni, at which time they had met with Emperor Haile Selassi. Israel had been instrumental in helping Ethiopia to establish its Air Force, Peres said.

Zevadia, 43, came to Israel at age 17 within the framework of Youth Aliya and almost immediately demonstrated her people skills by offering her services to the Jewish Agency so that she could help other Ethiopian immigrants adapt to the country.

A graduate of the Hebrew University, with a BA in International Relations and African Studies and an MA in African Studies, she joined the Foreign Ministry in 1993 and has served in various diplomatic capacities in Chicago and Houston.

Zevadia’s husband will also serve in the embassy in Addis Ababa, working as a commercial attache. The couple has been busy in recent weeks talking to potential Israeli investors in Ethiopia, and explaining to them how much easier it will be for them to make headway when Amharic is the mother tongue of both the ambassador and the commercial attaché.

Aside from that, Zevadia intends to focus on three specific areas in which Israel can be of assistance to Ethiopia.

These include agriculture, water and education.

Peres concurred that these are important areas in helping the Ethiopian population to climb out of the poverty that is retarding its progress.

He told Zevadia that he was very proud of her, and that she was returning to her roots not only as an ambassador but as a wife, a mother, a university graduate and a person of goodwill who understands the traditions of both Ethiopia and Israel and who knows how to bridge them.

Zevadia and her husband will be taking their three children with them: an 11-year-old and two-year-old twins.

What she would like most in her role as ambassador, Zevadia told Peres, “is to be able to welcome my president to Ethiopia.”

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Judaism in Africa synopsis- Jews in Africa

Abuyudaya Jews of Uganda
The Kulanu web site has articles. See also the Jewish Virtual Library - - produced by theAmerican - Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, AICE.
"community for Jews of African Heritage..." "share information on Jewish history, customs of various African Jews whether born Jews or converts..."
Index to Jewish Periodicals
Subscription only, through EBSCO; many universities subscribe. Check your library web site. Find citations to articles on the Jewish community in Kenya, South Africa, etc. Indexes English-language articles, book reviews, and feature stories in more than 160 journals such as Jewish Affairs. Covers from 1988 onwards.
Israel Association for Ethiopian Jews
"an Ethiopian-led advocacy and service organization representing Israel's Ethiopian immigrant community. Our goal is to assist in the full and rapid absorption and integration of Ethiopian Jews into mainstream Israeli society." Facts about the community, Ethiopian Jewish culture, history, education & employment initiatives. Based in Jerusalem, Israel. [KF]
Discussion list on the interconnections between Judaism and Jews of African descent, comparative linguistics of Semitic and African languages, the social and cultural history of African and African-American Jews, etc. Co-moderators are Julius Lester and Carolivia Herron. Subscribe at the Shamashweb site. [KF] To subscribe, send a request to: You will be asked to indicate briefly your research interests.
Jewish Web South Africa
Directory of services, organizations.
Jews in Africa
"In the fall of 1999 journalist and musician Jay Sand visited the Jewish communities in Ghana and Uganda, and throughout 2000 he plans to visit groups in Southern and Northern Africa." Has manyphotographs (esp. of Ghana, Uganda) and audio files of African-Jewish music. Includes recipesgames,music. Maintained by Jay P. Sand, a freelance journalist, historian and activist. [KF]
Journal of Religion in Africa
"...founded in 1967 by Andrew Walls. In 1985 the editorship was taken over by Adrian Hastings, who retired in 1999. It is interested in all religious traditions and all their forms, in every part of Africa,..." Libraries pay $172 a year. Published by Brill Academic Publishers, Leiden, Netherlands. [KF]
Journal of Religious History
Table of contents only. Volume 23, Number 1, February 1999 was a Special Issue: Africans Meeting Missionaries, edited by Jean Landau and Derek Peterson, with papers presented at a conference at the University of Minnesota in 1997. Pub. by Blackwell Publishers, Oxford, U.K. [KF]
JTA Online - Global News Service of the Jewish People
"Jewish Telegraphic Agency is an international news service." Use the Search to locate news articles onEthiopian Jews. "Headquartered in New York, JTA is a not-for-profit corporation."
"an organization.....dedicated to finding and assisting lost and dispersed remnants of the Jewish people." Sells CDs or tape recordings of the music of the Abayudaya Jews of Uganda, raises funds for education of the Abayudaya Jews. Site has articles on Jews in Cape Verde, Ethiopia, Ghana, Uganda, the Lemba in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and South Africa, Timbuktu, Mali, the Tutsi in Central Africa. [KF]
Lost Tribes of Israel
Public Broadcasting Service TV program. Anthropologist, Tudor Parfitt, investigates the historical and genetic roots of the Lemba in southern Africa who claim to be one of the Lost Tribes of Israel.
Includes the "Mystery of Great Zimbabwe." The Lemba of Southern Africa, who claim ancient Jewish heritage, may have built Great Zimbabwe. Has links to the American Journal of Human Genetics articleon DNA linking the Lemba and Jewish priesthood. [KF]
North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry
Non-profit organization founded in 1982. One of its goals is to help Ethiopian Jews survive in Ethiopia. Sells embroidered (Ethiopian design) pillow covers, bags. History of the Beta Israel (House of Israel) community in Abyssinia. Situation of Falashas in Ethiopia. Online newsletter. Based in New York city.[KF]
RAMBI, Index of Articles on Jewish Studies
Free index to journal articles. Find articles on Jews in Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, etc. Indexes Jewish Affairs. From the Israel Inter-University Library Network, Jewish National and University Library, Jerusalem, Israel.
Religiously Remapped: Mapping Religious Trends in Africa - Eugene Carl Adogla
Religious profiles for 54 African countries. 22 maps show the predominant religion, the main minority religion, Christianity, Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam, Sunnis, Shia and other branches of Islam, traditional religions, Baha'i, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Atheism, religious freedom, religion and conflict, interesting religious facts, religious change. Includes references. Completed 2007 by Eugene Adogla, funded by a Stanford University grant.
Rutman, Yisrael - Royal Jew From Swaziland
About Natan Gamedze, translator, linguist, and convert to Judaism. "Gamedze is now a rabbi and teaches Jewish studies in the northern Israeli city of Tzfat where he lives with his wife and son." On theAish web site. Aish HaTorah "is the vision of American-born Rabbi Noah Weinberg, who founded Aish HaTorah in 1974 to combat alarming assimilation rates." [KF]
Smithsonian Folkways Recordings - Abayudaya: Music from the Jewish People of Uganda
A 2005 GRAMMY Nominee for Best Traditional World Album (Vocal or Instrumental). "....collection of African-Jewish music in which the rhythms and harmonies of Africa blend with Jewish celebration and traditional Hebrew prayer. This compelling repertoire is rooted in local Ugandan music and infused with rich choral singing, Afro-pop, and traditional drumming. The repertoire includes lullabies, political and children's song, religious..." Listen to audio clip samples.

Email address is in an image file to avoid spammersStanford University Official Seal © 1994-2008 The Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University. All rights reserved.
Please send corrections to Karen Fung.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Government approves new ali... JPost - Jewish World - Jewish News

Decision will allow around 250 Jews from Ethiopia to arrive in Israel each month, some after waiting for more than 10 years.

Ethiopian Jews [illustrative]Photo: Ruth Eglash
In a drive to expedite what has been touted as the historic final chapter in mass aliya from Ethiopia, the government on Sunday approved an additional budget of NIS 17 million, which will speed up the entire process and also see the opening of an absorption center.
The goal is to ensure the arrival of some 2,200 new immigrants before the end of March 2014. All of those set to come here over the next two years have already been approved for aliya by the Interior Ministry. However, because of lack of living space in Israel, most continue to live in dire poverty in the northern Ethiopian city of Gondar. Many have been waiting to make aliya for more than 10 years.
Sunday’s decision follows months of pressure and criticism from members of the Ethiopian community in Israel and their supporters worldwide about the slow pace of aliya from Ethiopia, despite an announcement in February that the aliya rate would increase.
The most recent decision also follows a government declaration in November 2010 to continue the flow of aliya from Ethiopia, allowing roughly 8,000 to come to Israel within three years. To date, 6,000 Falash Mura – Ethiopian Jews whose ancestors converted to Christianity more than a century ago – have been officially approved for aliya and half of those have already arrived here, as the rest continue to wait.
While the new decision will hopefully allow some 250 Falash Mura to arrive here each month, those working with the community said they were disappointed with the government’s stalled approach to aliya from Ethiopia.
“I welcome the government’s decision, however it is only with regards to Ethiopian Jews that a quota allowing them to make aliya bit by bit, is used,” commented Dr. Avraham Neguise, executive director of South Wing to Zion. “I do not understand that now, with the opening of a new absorption center, all those who have been approved for aliya cannot come here immediately.”
Ethiopian MK Shlomo Molla (Kadima) also reacted to Sunday’s announcement with mixed emotions, pointing out that while the government can act quickly to deport illegal migrants, allowing 2,200 people who already have approval for citizenship takes nearly two years.
“It is obvious bringing Jews in distress to Israel is not a priority of this government and I just hope that this injustice will be corrected in the future,” he said.
Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar officially recognized the Falash Mura as part of the Jewish people in 2002 and they were allowed to make aliya under a special clause in the Law of Entry. The immigrants must also undergo a conversion to Judaism upon arrival in Israel.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Israel to arrange arrival of last members of Ethiopian Jewish community by 2014 - The Washington Post

JERUSALEM — Israel’s Cabinet has approved plans to bring in the last of Ethiopia’s Jews over the next two years.
More than 120,000 Ethiopian Jews live in Israel after waves of immigration over the past three decades. Advocates say some 2,200 Jews remain in Ethiopia.

They are Falash Mura, members of a community that converted to Christianity under duress more than a century ago but have reverted to Judaism.
Some in Israel have questioned whether the Falash Mura are actually Jewish. Ethiopian immigrants are routinely required to go through a religious conversion process. Once in the country, many face problems assimilating because of cultural differences. Some say they encounter racism.
The government said Sunday in a statement that it will open a $4.3 million absorption center in September to accommodate the newcomers.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Israel putting end to millenia-old tradition of Ethiopian Jewish priests - Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper

Abio, an Ethiopian kess, Amharic for priest
Abio, an Ethiopian kess, Amharic for priest, center, blesses a newly-wed couple during a wedding celebration in Ashkelon, southern Israe.l Photo by AP
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 them as tenants, prompting a large rally planned for Wednesday across from Israel's parliament.
"We are just like all the other Jews. We don't have any other religion," said Kess Semai Elias, 42.
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, whose ancestors were forcibly converted to Christianity.
The 58 kessoch who arrived in Israel in those early days maintained their leadership role in the Ethiopian Jewish community, and in 1992 successfully lobbied the Israeli government to grant them salaries and status similar to those of government rabbis. But as the aging clergy began ordaining a new generation of kessoch over the past decade, and those new leaders also wanted recognition, Israel's rabbinate objected.
After public demonstrations and a brief hunger strike, the newly ordained kessoch struck a bittersweet deal last month with Israel's ministry of religious services.
The ministry would finally implement a 2010 government resolution to recognize 13 of them and give them state salaries. But Israel's state rabbis made it very clear to the new kessoch: They would be the last.
"It's for the best," said Rabbi Yosef Hadana, 63, of the Israeli rabbinate. Himself the son of a respected kess, Hadana long ago traded the shash, the white turban of his father's tradition, for the black suit and fedora of ultra-Orthodox Jews.
"After 2,500 years of isolation from the nation of Israel, we have returned. Now we need to find a way to be one people," Rabbi Hadana said.
Hadana says he holds great respect for the kessoch. They were the ones who once spun tales of Jerusalem's splendor at evening storytelling sessions, keeping alive the Ethiopian Jews' religious tradition. But anyone in Israel who wants to continue that tradition, he said, must get rabbinic training. Streamlining their religious practice can help integrate Ethiopian immigrants into Israeli society, he said.
Ethiopian-Israelis have long struggled in Israel, with literacy rates relatively low, the culture gap wide and rates of poverty and domestic violence well above the national average.
Many of the older generation work menial jobs, men as security guards and women as cleaners. Their children, most of whom grew up in Israel's Orthodox Jewish religious schools, speak fluent Hebrew, serve in the army alongside native Israelis and are increasingly studying engineering and sciences in Israel's universities. Despite these gains, the younger generation is still struggling compared to other Israelis.
The immigrants have also long complained of discrimination. In the late 90s it was discovered that Israel's health services were throwing out Ethiopian-Israelis' blood donations over fears of diseases contracted in Africa.
This is not the first time in history that Ethiopian Jews have been asked to reform. Jacques Faitlovitch, one of the first Jewish outsiders to meet the community, told the kessoch in 1904 they would have to stop antiquated paschal sacrifices if they wanted acceptance in the wider Jewish world.
Polish-born Faitlovitch also pushed them to stop Judaism's last existing monastic tradition. Ethiopia's last Jewish monk spent his final days in Israel, secluded in a synagogue annex and preparing his own food for reasons of purity. He died about 10 years ago.
Other traditions, like priestly tithes and huts for menstruating women, were also given up upon moving to Israel.
Still, the kessoch, easily recognized by their ceremonial fly-swatting tassels and rainbow-colored sunbrellas, are not ready to be relegated to history. First-generation Ethiopian immigrants still call on them to adjudicate family conflicts, lead funeral prayers, and slaughter meat according to tradition.
Israel only recently allowed kessoch into butcheries to slaughter their own animals … even though it is not considered kosher by rabbinic standards.
But the rabbis still put their foot down when it comes to marriage. To be legal, weddings must be presided by state-recognized rabbis and include mainstream Jewish practices, like exchanging rings and stomping on a glass.
Despite the country's secular majority, its Orthodox rabbis strictly govern Jewish weddings. Israel does not recognize civil marriages, intermarriages or marriages performed by rabbis from the more liberal Reform and Conservative branches of Judaism … unless they took place abroad.
Israeli rabbis have now agreed to train the 13 new kessoch to perform marriages the mainstream Jewish way. Nevertheless, for most of the kessoch, the prohibition on marrying is such a slap in the face that they cannot bear to show up at the weddings of their own community members.
Instead, they perform their own pirate wedding ceremonies for the newlyweds a few days later - a modest reenactment of the weeklong marriage celebrations they used to hold back in Africa.
At one nighttime ceremony in seaside Ashkelon, women in embroidered cotton robes bounced their shoulders to African beats. Family and friends greeted the couple with the toot of a golden horn. Honey beer flowed from a steel kettle, and an army of men scooped curried lamb - slaughtered by the presiding kess - onto flat injera bread.
Newly ordained Kess Abiyu Azariya, 44, pushed his way to the head of the dance floor. Wearing a white turban and shawl, he recited wedding blessings in the ancient Ethiopian tongue, Geez. "I am singing these prayers to remind the young people what a wedding was like in Ethiopia," he told the crowd in spoken Amharic.
But the young people were nowhere in sight. Most of the 300 revelers in the room were of the older generation. The dozen young Ethiopian-Israelis who showed up that evening were outside drinking cheap Israeli beer and fiddling with their smartphones. When asked about the practice, they were ambivalent.
"I hope it continues, but it probably won't," said David Nadou, 24, shrugging.
The newly ordained kessoch are trying to work against that tide. Kess Semai says they're close to ordaining yet another group of 30 kessoch - even though Israel vows not to recognize any more.
"We kept this tradition for more than 2,500 years," Kess Semai said. "Our community won't allow in the span of 30 years for this tradition to be erased completely."

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Ethiopian Jewish community remembers ... JPost - Opinion - Op-Eds

I wanted to write a short letter in honor of a man who was greatly admired, and will be remembered by, the Ethiopian Jewish community.

Members of the Falash Mura, Ethiopians who returnePhoto: AP
With the passing of Yitzhak Shamir, I wanted to write a short letter in honor of
a man who was greatly admired, and will be remembered by, the Ethiopian
Jewish community.

Dear Yitzhak Shamir,

You, our former prime minister, perhaps did not know how much you were in our thoughts, even after you retired from political life. Some of us have photo albums with pictures of you with our families, and in many other homes there is a picture of you on the wall. Many in our community remember you as a redeemer and messiah.

Despite the objections of various parties to our immigration and racist arguments invented and fabricated against us, you saw us for what we are: Jews. You did not judge us because of our black skin or allow the false ideas of others to influence your views.

The Ethiopian Jews feel a close, covenant-like relationship with you, one that was built on spiritual links. The relationship began with Menachem Begin’s note to the Mossad, “bring me the Ethiopian Jews,” and it was translated into action as Israel sent operators into enemy lands to help the Ethiopian Jews. In the middle of the night many Jews left their villages and, without maps but only faith to guide us, we waked through the hills and deserts of Ethiopia and Sudan to freedom. This helped unite us with the living Zion.

In two major operations the Jews were brought from Ethiopia to Israel; Operation Moses in 1984-5 and Operation Solomon in 1991. The whole world was moved to see the brotherhood and friendship the Jewish people demonstrated for us. In 1991, in 24 hours, our community, that came on the flights from Addis Ababa, realized the dream of our forefathers who had prayed for 2,500 years in exile.

The news of your passing was received with pain and sorrow by both our community’s elders and people of my younger generation. We have not only lost a leader, but a kind of relative.

We remember the role you played in rescuing us from the bloody deserts of Sudan. If it was not for you, many whole families would have perished there. If you had delayed the operation in 1991, there’s no telling how many more families would have been lost.

I remember that when the 1984 operation had to end suddenly, we protested and lamented that many of our relatives were left in Ethiopia and Sudan. In 1991, my motherand father did not believe that Operation Solomon would truly bring the people here, until they saw the planes landing with their own eyes. For them it was a nightmare, those years of waiting.

As we say goodbye to Shamir, and he is laid to rest with love and pain, we know we have lost a leader who stood firmly on his watch and did not allow anything to distract his mind from his faith and love for Zion, and the desire to strengthen the state and the Jewish groups in the country.

We remember how you came to the airport and shook the hands of our people with love and excitement. The excitement brought tears to our eyes and we were choked up with emotion. We should have a day of national mourning for all to cry and let out their feelings for you. Here in Israel, the Beta Israel Ethiopian Jewish community exists because of your efforts. Hopefully we will not betray your heritage, which is the love of Eretz Israel, the Jewish people and the Torah of Israel, forever.

The writer is an Israeli journalist who did aliya to Israel on Operation Solomon in 1991.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Jews of Ethiopia « Beyond The Rivers

Recently I was asked about the origin of the Ethiopian Jews. And, while I am no expert on the matter I have researched it for several years now. Here’s what I’ve found.
There are different terms used to refer to the Jews of Ethiopia:
  • Beta Israel (the House of Israel) – Many Ethiopian Jews prefer this term to the others below. Knowing their ancestral lineage, and the destruction of Jerusalem, the Ethiopian Jews considered themselves the rightful guardians of all things Israelite.
  • Falasha – This is considered a derogatory term by Ethiopian Jews. It literally means “foreigner” or “exile”, and was often used by non-Israelite Ethiopians (and others) to demean and persecute the Jewish people among them.
  • Kushite – “Kush” is the Hebrew word for Ethiopia. This term is often used in certain versions of the bible. The biblical name “Kushi” referred to a person from Ethiopia, and was not distinguished between Israelite and non-Israelite.
There are also different versions of the origin of the Ethiopian Jews – or how there came to be Jews in Ethiopia. And, in order to address that issue, I must give some biblical, historical perspective.
The land of Ethiopia or Kush was a much larger region than we know it in our day. Egypt (Mizraim) and Kush (Ethiopia) bordered each other, and there were no separate states of Sudan, Kenya, Somalia, Yemen or Saudi Arabia. 
This an important fact for three reasons:
  1. Ethiopia (the horn of Africa) was among the wealthiest and most powerful regions in the known world. Isaiah 18 describes a people so powerful that they were revered by everyone.
  2. There was movement between the region of Ethiopia and Israel, and it was nothing extraordinary for someone to travel from one land to the other. The Queen of Sheba/King Solomon story of 1 Kings 10 was not remarkable because someone from Ethiopia visited Israel; but rather because the Queen took an official delegation for the purpose of verifying Solomon’s wisdom.
  3. Because travel back and forth between Aksum (ancient Ethiopian capital) and Jerusalem was fairly common, it explains why there were Jews living, working and studying in Ethiopia – especially after Israel was divided following Solomon’s death.
With that backdrop let’s consider the different possibilities of the origin of the Ethiopian Jews:
  1. Members of the “lost” tribe of Dan – Operation Solomon (Israel’s 1980′s airlift of the Ethiopian Jews) was started by the Israeli government only after rabbis declared that Beta Israel were members of the lost Israelite tribe of Dan. This would mean that some Ethiopia Jews were citizens of the northern kingdom of Israel, and were exiled during the Assyrian invasion (8th century B.C.E.).
  2. Descendants of Melenik, son of Solomon and Sheba – In the Ethiopian history books (Kebra Negast “glory of the kings”) there is a story about Sheba’s and Solomon’s love affair, and the child born to that union. The child’s name was Melenik, and it is taught that, with his ascension to the throne at Aksum, David’s reign extended to the land of Kush. The legendary Emperor Haile Selassie (the person for whom the Rastafarian movement began) is said to be a direct descendant of Melenik.
  3. Jews who migrated to (and remained in) Ethiopia after Israel divided – The vast majority of the African Jewish diaspora seems to have come through Ethiopia. This would include the Lemba of Southern Africa, and the Igbo of Western Africa. All three branches of these African Israelites have oral traditions that date back some 3,000 years.
In my humble opinion the origin of the Ethiopian Jews is a combination of all of the above (and more). Centuries of lost information, racially biased teaching, andReplacement Theology have made tracking the African-Israelite Diaspora very difficult. But new technology (along with the move of G-d), has allowed us to experience an age of unprecedented discovery.