African Jewish Communities
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Countries - Ethiopia

Jewish Communities                                                                                                         

The Beta Israel of Ethiopia

The Beta Israel has been recognized by Israel as Jewish descendents. These people have kept the Mosaic laws over the centuries by a strict observance of the Shabbath; keeping the holidays; circumcision on the 8th day; sacrificing the Passover lamb and eating unleavened bread; observing the dietary laws; distinguishing between the clean and unclean; and the laws of purity. In 1984 and 1991, the Israeli governement airlifted about 22,000 of them. They left their homes in the mountains of northwestern Ethiopia with the hope of beginning a new life in their Homeland of Israel. Not all of them were airlifted and today, there still are about 20,000 members of Beta Israel remaining in camps in Addis Ababa and in remote northern villages. Learn more about this community

The Beit Avraham of Ethiopia

Beth Avraham -Picture from Kulanu
Beit Avraham is the community that lived dispersed in many regions of Ethiopia. The Beit Avraham moved to Addis Ababa when the capital was moved there from Gondar. They seem to have been originally part of the Beta Israel and consider themselves as belonging to them even still. Originally the Beth Avraham might come from the northern part of Ethiopia and settled in Addis Ababa and the mountains of Gondar. Historically, because of the persecution these people encountered by other religion followers, they wandered from place to place to protect themselves from attacks. Today 50,000 Beit Avraham, remain. Most of them live in Kechene, a community in Addis Ababa and they still encounter persecution, oppression, and discrimination that is social, economic, and religious. Learn more about this community




The Qemant

The Qemant are a small ethnic group in Ethiopia, who, despite their close historical and ethnic relationship, should not be confused with the Beta Israel.

The ethnicity's population is roughly 172,000 (according to the census of 1994). However, only 1,625 people still speak Qimant, and it is considered endangered, as most children speak Amharic; likewise, adherence to the traditional religion has dropped substantially, as most of the population has converted to Christianity. Converts often consider themselves to have become Amhara - which they see as a desirable goal.

The Qemant live along an axis stretching from Chilga to Kirakir north to Lake Tana; most remaining speakers of the language are near Aykel, about 40 miles west of Gondar. They are mainly farmers.


The Qemant traditionally practiced a religion which is often described as "Pagan-Hebraic," combining elements from both Judaism and paganism (Zar). According to the American scholar Frederic C. Gamst, their "Hebraism is an ancient form and unaffected by Hebraic change of the past two millennia". Learn more about this community









Jewish organizations                                                                                                                


Kosher food                                                                                                                            

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Other useful information                                                                                                        

Aliya: Since 1948, 50,700 Ethiopian Jews have emigrated to Israel

Israeli Embassy in Addis Ababa: Higher 16 Kebele 22, House 22, P.O.Box 1266 Addis Ababa


Tel. +(251) 1 610 999, Fax +(251) 1 612 456

Email: info@addisababa.mfa.gov.il

Website: http://addisababa.mfa.gov.il/



Creation date : 25/08/2013 @ 12:50
Last update : 26/08/2013 @ 01:16
Category : Countries
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